“At House of Pentacles, we have a saying that ‘we help each other survive, stunningly’ because we are invested in not only our individual and collective survival, but also our quality of life, and ability to thrive.”

Joie Lou Shakur | House of Pentacles Founder

Mama, Can We Talk?

Director: Joie Lou Shakur

After over 2000 hours dedicated to squadding up, and skilling up, we slayed on creating and producing content for our Black families and Black trans kindred across the US South. This film based project came out of a lack (of content created by Black trans folks and content that centers Black trans folks) and a need (for tools that can be used and easily distributed) to help guide conversations around gender while reflecting the real and many experiences Black trans folks have in their Black families.

We have a commitment to documenting the existence of our people and to shape shifting to create permanent conditions for liberation. Any support/feedback is welcomed and counted as an important part of our growth as comrades in this struggle.

This project idea was conceived at SONG’s Gaycation 2017 and it was an honor to bring this project full circle with our first full length screening at SONG’s Gaycation 2018.


This film project was divided into 3 components:
  • A reflection on where our people are currently at in their families (please find a curated street style interview video archive of 19 of our Black folks talking about how they experience gender or came to understand gender within the context of their Black families here: On Being…Black & Trans in the South.
  • The full documentary, which is available below. Gather a crew, grab some popcorn, and enjoy.
  • The “Mama, Can We Talk” Conversation Tool to use with public screenings.

Out of this project also came our Black Trans Film Training Program, which will continue to train Black trans youth (18-35 years old) in the craft of film and thus provide professional and political development as well as economic intervention in the lives of Black trans folks in the South.

This project was a labor of love from many folks and would not be coming full circle without the help of our Black trans Crew at SONG (Joie Lou Shakur, Micky Jordan, Micky Bradford, Taylor Money-Worthy, and Justice Phillip Valentine) and Black folks who were willing to engage with a community filmmaking model to create something new including Mathama Bility, Patricia Humes, Glo Merriweather, Courtney Sebring and so many other Black folks across the South who took the time to talk with us, watch videos, offer feedback and critiques, and root for/affirm the importance of this work. Special thank you to Sufia Ikbal Doucet for her mentorship in film and for everyone who took the time to watch and rewatch and offer feedback.