In celebration of Black History Month, the Italian Studies Program will host a conversation with filmmaker, scholar, and activist Fred Kuwornu on the visual histories of Blackness in Italian culture. For over a decade, Kuwornu, an Italian-Ghanaian independent scholar, has been involved in narrating and analyzing the experience of the African diaspora in Italy from historical, sociological, and political perspectives. Utilizing examples of visual culture ranging from the 1200s to 2020s, Fred will illuminate conceptions of Blackness underlying contemporary Italian culture.
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker, activist, educator, producer, born and raised in Italy and based in New York. He is best known as the director of critically acclaimed documentaries such as Blaxploitalian, Inside Buffalo, and 18 IUS SOLI. His documentaries deal with political and social themes, such as racism, interracial relations, diversity, Afro-Italians and Black diasporic identity in Italy and the African diaspora in the world. His mother is an Italian Jew, and his father is a Ghanaian surgeon who lived in Italy since the early ’60s.
Fred Kuwornu holds a Master of Arts in Political Science at the University of Bologna, Italy, focusing on sociology and mass communication studies. After working on the 2007 Spike Lee’s film “Miracle at St Anna”, Kuwornu produced and directed the Award-winning historical documentary Inside Buffalo, about the African-American segregated 92nd Infantry Division which fought in Europe during Second World War. Inside Buffalo had viewings at the Pentagon, the Library of Congress and it received a letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama.
In 2016, He released “ Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Black in Italian Cinema ”, a diasporic, hybrid, historical, critical, dimensional, and cosmopolitan documentary about actors of African descent in Italian cinema. In 2020, he was the voice-over for the Italian version of the Netflix educational show Bookmarks-Celebrating Black Voices. In July 2021, He launched the platform BlackItalia.info and "Teaching Black Itay" a one-week refresher online course for teachers which explores the contemporary presence of the African diaspora in Italy. The first edition of the course has been joined by 95 professors and scholars of Italian studies.
For more details on Fred Kuwornu’s biography, please visit https://www.dotherightfilms.nyc/bio-fred-kuwornu.