Apologetically Black

"Apologetically Black" focuses on the struggles a teen (Akeelah) faces as she becomes conflicted with society’s interpretation of black women. Throughout the film, Akeelah's actions begin to affect the people around her until she is faced with the decision of whether to limit herself or become her own person.

  • Delano Allen
  • Delano Allen
    Dream School, Playtime
  • Delano Allen
  • Mackenzie Harding
  • Robert Puleo
  • Tatiana Skyy
    Key Cast
    "Akeelah, Pearl"
  • Maiya Diarrisso
    Key Cast
  • Hyacinth Lee
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Comedy
  • Runtime:
    44 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 14, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Westchester Community College
  • New Rochelle
    United States
    July 14, 2023
    Apologetically Black Premiere
Director - Delano Allen
Director Statement

When I created “Apologetically Black”, I wanted it to be very different from other films and TV shows that highlighted issues in the black community. I began writing the screenplay in 2020, during the pivotal Black Lives Matter movement. While it seemed as if our community was coming together as a united front to fight our injustices, that unfortunately wasn’t the case. Seeing how some members of the black community reacted to the hate and violence being spewed towards them was not only upsetting, but terrifying. It made me wonder, “What have these people gone through to feel ashamed of their own race?” I wanted to create a story that focused on a character who was experiencing a deep level of self-hate while also projecting it onto the people around them. That’s how the idea for Akeelah was born.

When I look back at the major inspirations for this film, there are three pieces of work that come to mind. The HBO series, “Insecure”, created by Issa Rae was one of the biggest artistic contributions for this film. Seeing black life being represented authentically was something I was incredibly appreciative of and wanted to incorporate into the film. Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” Netflix series was another insightful view into black life. This revealed to me many of the hard-core issues that occur within the black community. Last, but certainly not least is the Netflix series, “Dear White People” which showcased the divide in the black community and how society has allowed us to be threatened by the differences within each other.

I always strive to create a personal connection with the stories I tell. After three years of working on this project, I am immensely proud of the outcome. Being able to cultivate this story and bring it to life is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I am aware this film may not solve all the issues presented, but I hope it will encourage conversations that aim to unite the black community as a whole.