Bruk Out is a beautiful film. Just look at this poster. Immediately, we are presented with the essence of the strong woman: feminine, fierce, independent and ready to face the trials and tribulations of the world.
Bruk Out – a dancehall documentary by Cori McKenna – celebrates all that a woman is when she is free from the constraints of her mind. When she assumes control of her body and her sexuality. When she chooses to tell the world that she is her own biggest fan. When she supports her sisters whole-heartedly whilst simultaneously staying loyal to herself. Bruk Out is unashamed and human.
Thanks to the incredible programmers at TAPE Collective – run by women aiming to bring underrated or under shown films to wider audiences – Upstairs At The Ritzy played host to a warm and uplifting celebration of a film. Harmoniously screened in the heart of Brixton, where so many Londoners with Jamaican heritage reside, the film introduced us intimately to 6 women from around the world on their journey to compete in the renowned Dancehall Queen competition in Jamaica.
It is through getting to know these diverse women that we begin to feel the raw energy that emanates from this type of dance. Slimy adjectives that are often thrown around to describe the genre – “aggressive” and “lewd” – don’t get a look in. Just through gentle observation we come to know the importance of the dance to so many women, and how it has allowed them to nurture their voice, speaking out against the haters that don’t want to understand.
What was amazing in retrospect – when we left the world of vibrancy and music to return our own realities – was to think about the gruelling situations these women had faced and how they had overcome hardships, not in order to dance, but through dance itself. Poverty, domestic violence, bullying and body issues were left at the foot of the stage, and when picked up again, were lighter each time.
McKenna’s film, which she spent two years filming, served to show us a side of these women rarely shown to their fans. It was a joy to see such love expressed in this community – there was no bitchiness surrounding each other’s styles or looks, nor bitterness when one was successful over the other. What a mantra for how to succeed as a powerful woman!
MORE INFO ON THIS INCREDIBLE FILM HERE <3