In this second of three Artistic Legacies films, artist and performer Iman Hill centers community in her powerful story of growth which starts in Atlanta, Georgia and leads to stages in New York City. As she became herself, Iman’s artistry flourished and changed. Along the way she found powerful connections in those around, whose love and support sustain her while she ponders what’s next.
CREDITS: CREATOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: IMARA JONES | PRODUCER: TILER WILSON | PRODUCER: RUBY ROSE COLLINS | PRODUCER: SOPHIA KIAPOS | EDITOR: GRACIE SIMONETT | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: NICHOLAS LATTIMORE | ASSISTANT CAMERA: ETIENNE PELISSIER | SOUND MIXER: ZACH SALEM-MACKALL | COLORIST: MICHAEL SCHATZ | DIGITAL STRATEGIST: DANIELA “DANI” CAPISTRANO | SPECIAL THANKS TO: JORDYN JAY, BTFA, AND IMAN HILL
ABOUT ARTISTIC LEGACIES
Artistic Legacies explores the power of the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts (BTFA) collective through the stories of Founder Jordyn Jay, artist and musician/songwriter Iman Hill, and ballroom legend Kimiyah Prescott. This three-part docuseries shows how these members use artistic expression to change themselves and the world around them, bringing hope to the most of the marginalized at a time of unprecedented violence and political attack. Artistic Legacies points to how we can create brighter futures by using what’s already inside each of us. The 200-strong BTFA demonstrates how to manifest these possibilities.
IMAN’S STORY: TRANSCRIPT
When the beat drops, I feel the thrill. And it’s like before I’m on like going up the roller coaster. And then when the beat drops, I’m like, okay, we’re here. And it’s so thrilling. It’s like this huge like it’s like a drug almost. baby, I just melt away…
Music for me started when I was in the fourth grade. They came into the room and they had this shiny little instrument and I’m like, What is this thing? And my band director and he said, Well, no, you already are playing the trumpet. You should get good at one before you do the other. I was like, bitch I’m going to play that. So I took the instrument home and learned how to play it in a week.
I took the oboe to being classically trained, playing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera. But in those spaces, it’s not welcoming for a Black kid from East Atlanta. Everything is so uptight. You’re a part of an ensemble. There’s no room for individuality. Then, I spent the majority of that time in Atlanta just doing whatever smoking weed doing God knows what.
You know, moving from place to place. Just being very defiant because I had no passion. My passion was done. I’m doing two freestyles. One is called Nasty and the other one is called Don’t be Mad Hoe. I’m feeling like taking up space today so that’s going to be reflected in my performance. Somewhere around about the three or four-week mark of me living here, I saw a flyer for Open to All. It’s called OTA. So I went and I saw all of these beautiful people that were quote unquote different. But I’m like, these are the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I saw myself in them. So I kept coming back every week, every week, every week. Then I started like, hanging around these people. I just started hearing beats and stuff. I’m like, man, I feel like I can rap. Go and ask her, go and ask her. The kid on the beat. We’re a disaster.
My passion for music reignited and I’m like, Oh, this is what I want to do. Because now instead of an ensemble, I’m an individual and I get to say what I want to say, do what I want to do. You know how I want to do it. So now I have I feel like I have power over myself again. So that’s how my love for music reignited. Oh, you want to hear the intro that I made? *MUSIC*. That’s cute. That’s cute! oh, we’ve got to be there around 10:00, 10:15. And then I’m going to just do a soundcheck, which is going to last maybe 5 to 10 minutes. Then I got like probably a hour and 30 minutes to do my makeup, and then after that it’ll be showtime. I’m nasty, nasty. Na. Na. The first two are just the beat and a microphone and then Hot Sauce and Never Last have like actual vocals on it. So we probably need to test one without the situation and then one with. So we’ll do Nasty and then Hot Sauce.
I still want to be a part of my community, but I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to feel like I’m like inhibiting myself from my potential just because I’m scared of what people will think. But when I’m sharing something that I wrote, something that is like close to home for me, I am letting you into my life. I’m letting you into my heart because I put my heart in whatever I do. Thank you. All right, so I kinda wanna mimic the vibe of being on a stoop. So I’m going to sit on the stage and I would like a few of you need to come by, just right here so we can have an intimate setting.
All right, so this is for all the mad bitches, all right. If you know a mad bitch, if you know a hating ass hoe tell that bitch don’t be mad hoe!
CROWD: Don’t be mad hoe.
IMAN: Don’t be mad bitch.
IMAN: Don’t be mad hoe. Y’all sound beautiful. Now check this out, hold on- *IMAN RAPPING*
My first performance, I paid $100 to get on the stage and perform in front of a whole bunch of straight motherfuckers. So now to go from there to feeling like I’m home and I’m in my skin and people understand me is so refreshing and I’m so thankful for my friends, my family, for supporting me.
I definitely do want to thank each and every person for individually showing support. It’s like I finally got something good in my life, and I would hate to see it leave. No shade. We ain’t never leave you, girl. No, please like. Girl, you might. Im gonna leave right now after this.
WHY TRANSLASH HONORS BLACK TRANS WOMEN
Black trans femmes have historically been the first to stand up for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, while also disproportionately facing the most anti-LGBT+ and anti-Black violence. We at TransLash want to give our Black trans femme siblings their flowers 24-7. Iman’s Story and our #BlackTransArtisticLegacies campaign is part of our mission of telling trans stories to save trans lives.
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