Jacqueline Stewart Protects & Illuminates the Black Experience

Jacqueline Stewart MacArthur Genius Grant

This week, FF2 Media is celebrating the 2021 winners of the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants! Today, we’re featuring scholar and curator Jacqueline Stewart.

Also known as MacArthur Fellows, these extraordinary recipients are awarded $625,000 as an investment in their potential. Each fellow has branched out either creatively or scientifically to earn this grant and has been nominated and selected by an anonymous board that believes in their originality and insight. The winners were recently named, including many women and people of color in a diverse list of 25 “geniuses” who can spend their no-strings-attached $625,000 however they see fit. 

Cinema studies scholar and art curator, Jacqueline Stewart, received the award for her work in “ensuring that the contributions of overlooked Black filmmakers and communities of spectators have a place in the public imagination.” 

Stewart wrote the book, Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity, which functions as a masterful study of film culture in Chicago, specifically in relation to Black spectators who engaged with the art form at the same time as they moved from the South of the United States to the North. The book also spans depictions of Black people from the birth of cinema to the films of Oscar Micheaux. 

In 2005 she created the South Side Home Movies Project. This exists to preserve and digitize personal films made by Chicago residents, primarily from the years 1920-1980, and serves as a record of life in Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. Similarly, she wrote L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema to shed light on the importance of listening to authentic Black voices and uplifting Black stories from their perspective to combat corrupt portrayals in American media. Her work is vital to the mission of protecting and illuminating the Black experience in cinema, which is so often overlooked and bastardized in today’s society. 

Congratulations, Jacqueline Stewart!


© Anna Nappi (10/16/21) Special for FF2 Media.



Featured photo: © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, used with permission. https://www.macfound.org/creative-commons https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class-of-2021/jacqueline-stewart#photos

Tags: Anna Nappi, FF2 Media, International SWANs, iswans, jacqueline stewart, LA rebellion: creating a new black cinema, macarthur fellow, MacArthur Foundation, MacArthur Genius Grants, migrating to the movies: cinema and black urban modernity, Support Women Artists Now

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Anna is currently a senior at Brandeis University studying Film, Journalism, and Psychology. At Brandeis, she writes for the student newspaper and is the undergraduate degree representative of the Journalism program. From theaters to museums to concert halls, she loves exploring the art world in Boston as well as in her Maine hometown. Anna is passionate about FF2’s mission and excited for the opportunity to work alongside a wonderful team dedicated to supporting women artists.
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