“The reality captured in this film—the weight of racism, gendered emotional and physical abuse, and economic plight—is not one Black Americans wake up from . . . but others should not look away either.” —Maya, audience development
Directed by Larry Bullard and Carolyn Johnson • 1978 • United States
Through a bold mix of narrative and documentary techniques, directors Carolyn Johnson and Larry Bullard explore the experiences of Black families in American society. Shuffling between day-to-day scenes of life at home, school, and work, A DREAM IS WHAT YOU WAKE UP FROM profiles three African American families grappling with the realities of systemic racism, domestic abuse, and economic disenfranchisement as they find themselves left behind by the promise of the American dream. As timely as ever in its intersectional approach to issues of race, class, and gender, this essential, long-neglected document of Black American struggle is a work of aching intimacy and powerful political insight.