Today we’d like to introduce you to Saturne Tchabong.
Hi Saturne, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Turin, Italy to two Cameroonian parents. I moved to Prince George’s County, Maryland in the early 2000s with my family. Prince Georges, also known as PG or PG County, is known to be one of the most thriving majority Black communities in the country. Having spent most of my adolescent years in PG, I was able to witness Blackness in all shades, literally and figuratively. I understood at a very young age that Black people were NOT a monolith and witnessed the beauty in the diversity. My father was an actor in Italy which was the start of my love and passion for the arts, not only was I inspired in the household but I was also encouraged to fully pursue my artistry.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
After my high school years, at 17, I began my California journey as a student at Santa Barbara city college. While in Santa Barbara, I had some of my first overtly anti-Black encounters, I was stereotyped, discriminated against, and for the first time in my conscious life, experienced the worst case of imposter syndrome. With the duality of my experiences, I was able to see Blackness from another lens, one that didn’t glorify the beauty that I saw growing up. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I truly began creating the kind of content I knew I wanted to make for the rest of my existence, that of amplifying Black voices.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As an activist, I utilize visual rhetoric, specifically, motion pictures to address political and social issues deemed inconsequential within society. My craft and passion amplify marginalized voices; those that society wants to be forgotten. Art vs Artist is a short film that I directed and produced that uses hundreds of motion stills showcasing Black artists, the motion stills are paired with Black poets speaking on the beauty of Blackness and overall Black Love. To add another layer to this project, I decided to include Dijon’s rendition of the 1975 classic song, Sweet thing by Rufus & Chaka Khan, an anthem religiously played at Black functions, invoking a nostalgic feeling, one of home and safety. The inspiration for the short came from many sources, primarily the individual artist featured and one of my favorite Black love films, the 1997 classic Love Jones starring Nia Long and Larenz Tate.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
The purpose behind Art vs Artist was to showcase the artist in front of the camera. Black artists of all mediums have historically been erased while their art was appropriated. My film partner, Hanna Leka, and I thought it was about time for Black artists AND their art to get a shared spotlight. As I continue my journey into the film world, my only hope is to tell real stories, I want people to really feel when watching my art, feel love, feel sadness, feel joy, anger, frustration, contentment, excitement, I want folx to feel all the things that make us human, in real-time — all this while amplifying marginalized voices because they too are worthy of a spotlight.
Hana & Joseph