A documentary film by Nyasha Laing
Imogene “Queenie” Kennedy was a contemporary priestess in post-colonial Jamaica who catapulted her African spiritual practice into renown. But after centuries of erasure, what remains of the dance between the living and the dead?
In the wake of the loss of her mother, the filmmaker travels into the heart of Jamaican countryside to research Kumina, an ancestral ritual. The ancient practice, she learns, is a driving force in Jamaica’s culture and identity, yet its leaders have historically been discarded as witches and criminalized. Jamaica’s post-colonial renaissance enabled Queenie to share her practice with the world. Today, Queenie’s mysterious world reveals a divergent pathway to freedom, healing, and transformation-for those who choose it.
Kumina is a distinct, expressive spiritual folk form that travelled to Jamaica with Kikongo-speaking laborers from central Africa during the 19th century. Its basic elements are song, dance and trance possession.
For centuries, the knowledge of traditional communities like Queenie’s has been hidden, erased, and forgotten. This film creates a vehicle for healing and the sharing of ancestral knowledge among cross-cultural audiences, women, artists and generations.
For broader audiences, our impact activations and educational content delve into themes of Women’s Spiritual Work, Ancestral Healing, the Spirituality of Music and Dance, and Abolition and Freedom. Contact us for more information.
The Kumina Queen
Imogene “Queenie” Kennedy was a contemporary priestess in post-colonial Jamaica who catapulted her African spiritual practice into renown. She died in 1998. This film honors her memory and shares her powerful voice through rare archival footage and sound.
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