Experience of Black Women of Cumberland County
By Michele Falls
"Experiences of Black Women of Cumberland County" VOL 1 shares the experiences of 13 Black American women from various professional backgrounds who are contributing to the evolving Black American experience in Cumberland County.
Explore how these Black American women adapt and thrive through cultural, professional, and personal challenges.
About The Artist
Born into poverty on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Michele Falls was awarded a scholarship to the United World College of Costa Rica where she learned Spanish and built upon her interest of the arts. After earning her international baccalaureate, she received a scholarship to attend Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, majoring in graphic design and gaining proficiency in English. After college, she attended the Parque Lage School of Visual Arts in Rio de Janeiro where she developed a critical understanding of the interactions between the arts and Brazilian society. Visual arts provided a safe space to cope with the difficulties of her childhood and give a voice to her experiences.
"This project was born from curiosity and the need to belong," states Michele. "From the time I was a young girl in Brazil, I never felt I belonged. My mother raised six children by herself in extreme poverty. Society taught her to sell herself short and accept whatever life threw at her at face value. For better or worse, my mother did the same with me. She did teach me to put my head down, to work hard, pay the bills, but to survive -- that was the message I got."
"Besides my mother, I grew up with TV. I was able to see possibilities and a life outside my own. But I was never given a chance to learn about, embrace and be proud of my Black heritage, and how it connects to others around the world . . . until now."
“This documentary is a love letter to myself as a child, and to my beautiful Black American baby girl. I began this project to better understand my Black heritage and to give my daughter a foundation I never had.”
March 12 - 19, 2022
The Arts Center
Free & Open For Public Viewing
As a 2020-21 recipient of the Mini Grant awarded by the Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County, Black Brazilian photographer and visual artist, Michele Falls, was inspired to create the "Experiences of Black Women Of Cumberland County" project to better understand her Black heritage with the help of local Black American women.