Ring Shout- Let The Circle Be Unbroken

The exploration of sacred dance in Africa and diaspora leads a NYC teacher on a worldwide journey to reconnect severed cultural ties. Her quest to document the Ring Shout, an age-old praise dance rooted in African Spiritual Traditions leds her to a rural Georgia museum where she discovers a long lost branch of her family and her Gullah Geechee roots. There she must decide if she will honor her elder cousin’s dying wish and embrace the mantle of carrying his legacy and these vanishing traditions forward.

  • Olubayo Jackson
    Akwaaba Dance Project (Short) 2014, MMNY Film Festival, Honorable Mention, Panafest Screening (Ghana) Fanike African Dance Film Screening & Cultural Warriors Award
  • Olubayo Jackson
    Akwaaba Dance Project (Short) 2014, Akwaaba Dance (2019)
  • Christopher Miles
    Director/ producer - Wayunagu (2017) Wayunagu 2 (2022)
  • Iyabo Kwayana
    Cinematographer, Director By Water ( 2023), Practice ( 2017) Macarro ( Director) Writer La Recta ( 2010)
  • Olubayo Jackson
    Akwaaba Dance Project (Short) 2014, Akwaaba Dance ( 2019)
  • Olubayo Jackson
    Key Cast
    "(Self) Educator, Dancer, Narrator"
    Akwaaba Dance (2014) Geechee Kunda (2017)
  • Jim Bacote
    Key Cast
    "(Self) Owner Geechee Kunda "
    VICE : A Vanishing History: Gullah Geechee Nation
  • James Small
    Key Cast
    "( Self ) Historian "
    Consultant -Godfather of Harlem 19 episodes (2023), , Hidden Colors 2: The Triumph of Melanin (2012) HAPI: The Role of Economics in the development of Civilization 2020
  • Joan Ross
    Key Cast
    "(Self) Gullah Ring Shouters"
    Roots (2016), Birth of a Nation (2016)
  • Gregory Grant
    Key Cast
    "(Self) Geneologist/ Basket Weaver"
    Birth Of A Nation (2016), High On The Hog (2021),
  • Griffen Lotson
    Key Cast
    "Self ( Director Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters"
    Gullah Geechee Heritage Commissioner, Birth Of A Nation (2016), High On The Hog (2021), VICE : A Vanishing History: Gullah Geechee Nation (2016)
  • Wendy "Bithia" Brown
    Key Cast
    "Roots (2016)"
  • Aatifa Drayton
    Key Cast
    "(Self) Ancestral Dancer"
    Forces Of Nature, Dance Africa
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Non Fiction, Dance
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 16 minutes 53 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    40,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Belize, Gambia, Ghana, Honduras, Senegal, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    1080 and 4K
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • The Gathering At Geechee Kunda ( work in progress Community screening)
    New York
    United States
    April 7, 2017
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Olubayo Jackson

Olubayo Jackson is an independent filmmaker, dancer, researcher, and educator. She teaches dance to over five hundred elementary students in New York City. Olubayo came to film through her need to develop culturally relevant curriculum and educational videos that expressed multiple perspectives for her students. She utilizes film and the arts to help young people and adults learn about underrepresented cultural traditions and historical connections between Africa and the diaspora.

Olubayo has studied African dance for more than 20 years and has traveled extensively to Ghana, Gambia, Dominica, Belize, New Orleans, the Georgia Sea Islands, Brazil and South Africa to research African retention in dance and to document historical connections. Olubayo holds a Master’s degree in Education and Curriculum Development from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in International and African Studies .She studied filmmaking at Manhattan Media Network in New York City. She is a National Endowment for the Humanities “Gullah Voices” fellow as well as a Smithsonian “Middle Passage Institute” fellow. Olubayo Jackson was awarded the Cultural Warrior’s Award at the Fanike Black History Gala. Her films have screened at the Panafest Colloquium Ghana (2019), Fanike Black History Screening (2018), Geechee Kunda Gathering (2017), MCNY (Metropolitan College Of New York) Short film festival (2017) and Manhattan Media Network Short Film Festival (2017).

Olubayo was awarded a year-long research sabbatical which she utilized to create a multimedia dance curriculum and a short documentary called “ Akwaaba Dance.” The work in progress documentary traces her journey to connect hip hop, and other diasporic styles of dance such as Bele and Sensei masquerade dance from Dominica, Punta and John Canoe dance from the Garifuna in Central America and the Second line and Black Indian traditions of New Orleans to cultural inspirations in West Africa. Olubayo created a short documentary called “Geechee Kunda: Sustaining Our Culture, Telling Our Story.” This short film explores her family’s Gullah Geechee Museum and the center’s late founder, Jim Bacote’s Gullah Preservation legacy. Her most recent documentary “Ring Shout: Let The Circle Be Unbroken”, is about African American praise worship through movement and Gullah Geechee culture.

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Director Statement

My first and middle name “ Olubayo Lindiwe” reflects her parent's desire that she always be reminded of her African heritage. The title “Nya Amolode Gruiyakona” was received after completing her rites of passage into initiated African womanhood in a system that comes from Senegal and Mali. All of these names have helped to shape her identity and fuel her deep calling to trace the places where her collective ancestors originated from, the stops they made during the middle passage and their enduring connection to the motherland through dance. I am currently working on a film series about African Diaspora Dance.