theGrio’s 100: Tambay Obenson, shining light on black film with ‘Shadow and Act’

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Photo: Tambay Obenson

Photo: Tambay Obenson

Who is Tambay Obenson?

Obenson, 38, is a Nigerian-born film fanatic who aspires to bring more coverage and awareness to the work of African-Americans in the film business. His personal blog, Shadow and Act, has grown into a vital part of IndieWire’s film coverage.

He also, according the New York Times, curated a well-received “New Black Voices in Cinema” series last year at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

After directing and producing his own independent film, Beautiful Things, in 2006, Obenson launched his movie blog, which has continued to grow and win fans across the Internet.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

For black movie buffs, Shadow and Act has become the premiere go-to website for the latest industry news and insight when it comes to blacks both behind and in front of the camera. Obenson’s site has gained a reputation for breaking big movie industry news but also as a forum for engaging, high-minded debate about black film today.

The site’s goal — to shine a light on films of the African Diaspora – is both ambitious and sorely needed.

“It’s a global thing, this idea of uniting Africans all over the world in this one space,” Obenson told the Times. “Regardless of where you are in the world, you can come here and find something that’s of use to you.”

Shadow and Act is a serious site for people who want to see mainstream films be more reflective of art instead of commerce.

What’s next for Obenson?

With awards season in high gear (and Denzel Washington and 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis competing in lead acting categories), Obenson will have his hands full for the weeks and months to come.

Still, he hasn’t abandoned dreams of a filmmaking career of his own.

“I would rather be making films than just writing or talking about films,” said Obenson in his Times profile.

Follow Tambay Obesnon on Twitter @TambayObenson.