After watching the film “Daughters of the Dust” directed by Julie Dash, my initial thoughts on the conclusion was that it simply was not satisfying. I thought the purpose of the film was to highlight the importance of family tradition. By having individuals such as Yellow Mary travel back to the island from their respected homes, it showed that they were trying to connect back with their family heritage. Nana is the grandmother and the elder of the family. She serves as the base for all the family traditions and memories because she has the most knowledge of family history and utilizes it in her everyday life. Yellow Mary, Eula, and Eli are the only individuals who choose to stay back with Nana and spend the rest of their time on the island. I was stunned by this development mainly because I figured all individuals would stay on the island as a result of how connected they seemed throughout the film. Whether it was family dinners, long group conversations, or one on one talks, I was very surprised that only three individuals value their family traditions enough to stay.
I feel that the conclusion of this film highlights a large scale theme in American culture where family members are beginning to leave family traditions behind for new economic opportunities. Specifically looking at African American culture, it is clear that although individuals still value their family heritage, opportunities in large cities are motivating them to leave their homes and pursue new careers. The film Daughters of the Dust can be used as evidence that the new generations are willing to leave their families in pursuit of love and new careers off the island. Even if it means breaking ties with older family members, characters like Yellow Mary are initially still willing to leave because it is what benefits them most. This theme is a common trend found throughout society today and highlights how new generations are progressing society into a new age.
The image above is taken from the film that highlights one of the instances where family members spent time together. It visually captures the theme of family heritage, and how its value might be changing in the modern world.