Giovanni Adams' poetry on his black queer journey from boyhood to manhood, isolation to intimacy, roots the narrative of this film that combines spoken word, dance and song.
Rachel has been creating work in front and behind the camera for over 15 years in the entertainment industry as a director, designer and actor. She has collaborated in the creation of over 150 film, theatre and television productions.
From a pool of over 5,000 submissions, her film “Wendy’s Shabbat” premiered at both the 2018 Tribeca International and Palm Springs International Film Festivals and at over 50 other film festivals worldwide. “Wendy’s Shabbat” qualified for the 2019 Academy Awards consideration and was broadcast on PBS and online on TOPIC.
Rachel was awarded the innagural solo Shondaland Women’s
Directing Mentorship to direct for Shonda Rhimes Television. Rachel has also directed a Kim Possible TV episode for the Disney Channel. She developed and originated “CONFIDENCE,” a short film and campaign series for women. She wrote and will direct her first feature film “Dear Stranger” in 2019. Rachel co-directed and conceived, “Writing with Grace” live show, debuting to a 2,000 person live audience for VIDCON at the Anaheim convention center. Her work won Fullscreen and the AT&T Hello Lab a 2016 Streamy Award for Best Brand Campaign.
Rachel began working in the entertainment industry as an actor before directing and designing.
Her award winning experiential company, 3 PENNY DESIGN has conceived and produced live events, brand activations and interiors for “Crayola” in Times Square, Art Direction for “The Emmy’s,” “The Golden Globe Awards” and more.
Her Production Design Film credits include, “Kim Possible” Disney, “Short Term 12,” winner of SXSW and Independent
Spirit Awards, “Desperados” Netflix, “The Drowning,” “Search Party” “Identity Theft,” “Chronicles Simpson,” “Saving
Lincoln” and “Liminal,” Winner of Best Art Direction - Barcelona International Film Festival, Punta del Este Festival and
Action on Film Festival. Television design credits, HULU “East Los High, “Five Points” Facebook, "Sing It" YouTube Red, “Faking It” MTV, “Blue” LIFETIME nominee for ADG Award, “Paloma” and “Video Game High School” Lionsgate, Producers Guild Award and Streamy Award nominee for Best Production Design.
Her commercial client list includes, Crayola, ADIDAS, Ray Ban, AT&T, ESPN, Volkswagon, Marriott, DAQRI, Hewlett Packard, Turbo Tax, Wrigley’s, Gevalia, CVS, Soul, Pampers, L’oreal, Schick, Taco Bell, Soap and Glory, Maccaroni Grill and Getty Images.
Her regional theatre credits include, BAM Brooklyn Academy of Music, Center Theatre Group, The Geffen Playhouse, The
Old Globe, South Coast Repertory, The Shakespeare Theatre DC, The Getty Villa, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Los Angeles Theatres- Rattlestick West, Los Angeles Ovation Awards, IAMA, Theatre at Boston Court and Vs Theatre.
Rachel’s work has also been featured in national and international publications and media, including the NY Times, LA
Times, Cheddar and Vice. She has appeared on The Today Show with Megan Kelly, Michelle Collins Show on Sirius XM and
Tablet Unorthodox Podcast as well as Vice, Refinery 29, NY Daily News, Forward, Tablet, Variety, Broadway World, The Times of Israel, Women and Hollywood, Movie Maker, Newsday, Daily Mail, ZEAL NYC, Desert Sun, IMDB, NY Bulletin and more.
Her films have been exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Art and the NW Film Center at the Portland Museum of Art. Her designs have also been seen at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Watermill Center and are part of the permanent collection of the Getty. Her work has won an Ovation Award and Broadway World and Streamy Award nominations.
Rachel received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama and studied Theatre and Art at Pomona and Scripps Colleges and RADA the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.
She is a member of the Art Directors Guild Local 800 and United Scenic Artists 829.
When I collaborated with Giovanni Adams on Love is a Dirty Word, his one man show I was enamored by his charisma, talent and poetry.
The language in his writing and performance managed to dance the line in self-reflection like a song, opening a window into the rich beauty of his experience and removing the filter of “other” often placed on sexuality in black, gay romantic life.
Each passage was so thick and delicious I felt like you could spread the words like butter and as a filmmaker it was impossible for me not to imagine what these moments might feel like in images.
Rhythm in the phrases and the music in the original work felt like a beat and the dance sequence was derived out of those patterns, the void for what can’t be spoken.
Gio is an unbelievably talented artist and I only hope the film does justice to the complexity and intricacy imbued in his writing and performance.
I wanted to show the combination in how we experience life and memory unfolding at once.
How there aren’t clear lines when we talk about who we love and identity and that layers of the past, childhood and intimacy are woven together to form the dialogue of who we are.
WRITER AND PERFORMER
I think love is commonly confused with conformity. We are conditioned to feel lovable when we conform to the dominant culture, or at least when we fit neatly into groups of affiliation. If I’m like everybody else then I’m certainly not alone, I’m safe. But what happens when one identity disqualifies or makes us the target of another? Belonging in America often comes at a terrible price, a dangerous process of othering, strict lines are drawn around exactly who and what is lovable, which causes us to commit all forms of betrayal, even of our own selves.
I began developing the text in the film 2 Black Boys for the play Love is a Dirty Word in 2015 with theater director, Becca Wolff, at a time when the perceived abject otherness of blackness was being made visible. To be born black in America is to live with a heightened awareness of your “out of placeness” and the vulnerability that comes along with it. The spectacle of black death gone viral got me thinking about my own complex relationship to love and home.
If love truly is conformity then obviously Mississippi is a hell of a place to raise black boys, especially so when that boy is queer. Is there such a thing as being too different, too dirty, to love? That question is the proverbial seed in my play that was adapted to this film. It’s the question a little boy born in my hometown, Jackson, was too small, too terrified, to answer and so he ran away. I wrote the play as a meditation on childhood memories in Mississippi. It traces my journey back home to rediscover and connect with that boy buried inside of me, a process which felt like an incredibly liberating act of love.
Rachel Myers was a creative on the world premiere in Los Angeles. When she approached me about making a film inspired by my writing and poetry, I was like, “let’s do it!” The film builds on the ideas of play in a way that is so brilliantly subtle, beautiful and seductive.
Our country is riven by lines that separate us into groups along race, class, gender, ideology. Given the sharp divisions it can seem silly to talk about love in the public sphere. But this is what the play and film is about, finding love for our many identities. And I hope it would challenge audiences to consider how we might, as individuals and as a nation, hold our mess of seemingly competing identities—reconciled and unreconciled—into a peaceful whole.