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[Sundance ’21] Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Mama’ review: A Family Album

Inventive directing and thought provoking

Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Mama is a short film directed by Topaz Jones and the directing duo rubberband, comprised of Jason Sondock and Simon Davis. Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Mama is about the Black Alphabet, a compendium of the adversities and unique elements present in Black communities. Considered both an album and a film, music ties photos, home videos, and footage of people in the community sharing their voices.

The Black ABC’s in 1970 were developed by two teachers in Chicago to help provide Blackcentered teaching resources to the education system. Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Mama draws from the original flashcards and discusses their origin and significance. Through interviews with educators, activists, musicians, and people, the letters in the alphabet gather new meanings.

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Sometimes grainy and sometimes vibrant, the inventive directing style paired with the music create an intimate glimpse into a community that is striving for representation and understanding. Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Mama is playing at the Sundance Film Festival.

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