During Free First Thursday at the CMA, take in a screening of short film Suicide by Sunlight (2018) in the CMA Theater.
Since the Gothic horror era, vampires like Dracula and Carmilla have represented fears of racial and sexual otherness — antisemitic sentiments and anxieties about female power and queer sexualities. Vampires have also embodied white supremacy in the form of pale, aristocratic Europeans who seduce and feed upon exploited mortals — think Miriam Blaylock from The Hunger. In the 1970s, Black directors brought the first Black vampires to the screen in Blacula and Ganja and Hess. In Suicide by Sunlight, Nikyatu Jusu explores the racial and gender politics of vampirism through her character Valentina, a Black vampire able to “day-walk” in the sunshine due to the melanin in her skin. Estranged from her daughters, Valentina struggles to balance her vampiric lifestyle with her job as a pediatric nurse, restraining her bloodlust in hopes of restoring her maternal agency. Run time: 17 minutes.