Private Project

Memoirs of a Black Girl

In this coming-of-age film, an astute and ambitious student named Aisha Johnson is one of the finalists for the coveted Conrad Scholarship. Aisha’s goal is to earn the top prize. But one day when Aisha tries to do the right thing, her life is turned upside down, which puts her future in jeopardy. Aisha must learn to navigate life at home, in school, and on the unforgiving streets of Roxbury.

  • Thato Rantao Mwosa
    The Day of my Wedding
  • Thato Mwosa
    The day of my wedding
  • Thato Mwosa
    The day of my wedding
  • Jessica Estelle Huggins
    Consulting Producer
  • Cindy Severino
    Associate Producer
  • Khai Tyler
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 16 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Boston Globe's Black History Film Festival
    United States
    February 8, 2021
    North American Premiere
Director Biography - Thato Rantao Mwosa

Thato Mwosa is an illustrator, screenwriter, playwright, and filmmaker. She has won several awards for her narrative films and documentaries. Her films have been broadcast nationally and internationally. Memoirs of a Black Girl is Thato's first feature. In early 2019, Thato was a finalist for the Mass Cultural Art Fellowship in the Dramatic Writing category. She has a dual degree in TV/Film Production and Marketing/Advertising Communications from Emerson College and an MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen from Lesley University. She serves on the boards of Boston Neighborhood Network and Women and Film New England. Thato teaches TV, Film, and Documentary Filmmaking at Brookline High School in Brookline, MA. When she is not doing art, she spends time with her husband, three kids, and a dog in Boston, MA.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As a writer, the things that most unsettle and disturb me often seep through my writing. That’s how I untangle the knots that bind me. I explore themes such as identity, class, race, gender and immigration. My writing confronts outdated representations and misconceptions about girlhood and blackness by disrupting preconceived ideas that maintain the status quo. There is a one-sided narrative that has dominated the media for many years but the world is made up of a myriad of cultures and people; that diversity needs to be reflected in film.
In writing Memoirs of a Black Girl, I was responding to a scarcity I noticed when it comes to high school movies set in the inner city. Growing up in Botswana meant learning about American culture through pop-culture, and it certainly didn’t mean hearing empowering messages about being black. I remember watching coming-of-age movies such as Grease, 16 Candles, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and thinking that those films depicted a true picture of American High School though the stories were all white and set in suburbia. Then I watched Lean on Me, Coolie High, and School Daze, and I was captivated. This was the first time I saw that amount of melanin on screen and I was intrigued. As a young person, I finally saw myself and my friends in high school, on screen. However, the problem for me was that aside from issues of race, the protagonists were often male. It was as if black girls or their stories did not matter. I knew that there was a need to explore coming-of-age films through a black female perspective, so my mission became to write stories about black women and girls across the globe.
I moved to America to pursue my passion for film. After graduating from Emerson, I started my teaching career at an inner-city school in Roxbury, Massachusetts, a predominately black and brown part of Boston. The school was severely under-resourced and mismanaged by the city, resulting in a reputation of failure that unfairly followed its students. But the kids I encountered were brilliant, resourceful, and had aspirations to go to top schools. To dispel the false, distorted, one-sided narrative of the inner-city teen, I decided to write Memoirs of a Black Girl. At its heart, the movie is a love letter to my students. As I developed the characters, I thought of my students’ hopes and dreams, their ambitions, and their challenges. I wanted to create a protagonist who is positive and inspirational. Aisha and her friends Marcus and Marisa embody those positive traits. It is my hope that young people see themselves reflected in the movie so that they understand they are capable of anything they put their minds to.