Toni Morrison Documentary and the Prevalence of the “White Gaze”

Arica L. Coleman SAVE THIS

Author Toni Morrison at Rolex’s Mentor and Protege gala, November 10, 2003 in New York (REUTERS/Stephen Chernin).

The highly anticipated documentary about the life and literature of Toni Morrison titled The Pieces I Am was recently released. The film’s opening features the celebrated author in a photo collage, piecing together portraits from her childhood to the present. It captures the multi-dimensional icon as “a reader, teacher, editor, thinker, and writer of books.” It also centralizes Morrison as she narrates the film with commentaries from Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez, Paula Giddings, Oprah Winfrey, Walter Mosley, Robert Gottlieb, and others.

Morrison gets the first and last word in the film, which opens with her telling the story of her grandfather constantly bragging about having read the entire Bible — when it was illegal in the South for Blacks to read. “Ultimately I knew that words had power,” she states. The…

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