Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts 2023

Debra J. Robinson

Debra J. Robinson is an Ohio native, who earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Baldwin-Wallace College and has a graduate degree in Media Studies from the New School.

From the start of her career as a filmmaker, Robinson’s focus has been on Black women as the primary subject of her films. I BE DONE BEEN WAS IS, a documentary about African-American comediennes is her feature debut. She states, “During the time I developed the idea I was working out my path as an African-American woman filmmaker. The road seemed to be one of pioneering and invention. Through the documentary, I was able to find my voice and the comediennes collectively expressed my perceptions when they spoke about their lives.”

Her second film, KISS GRANDMAMA GOODBYE, is a narrative about a young black girl growing up in the Midwest during the nineteen sixties and experiencing the death of her grandmother. The script was adapted from a short story by Terry McMillan. Robinson makes the bold attempt to address the lives of Black people living in the Midwest before widespread integration.

KISS GRANDMAMA GOODBYE has screened in film festivals worldwide.

Robinson’s work has been profiled in Essence Magazine and The New York Times. She has presented her films at Harvard University, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art.

In keeping with themes of Black women and life in the Midwest, she has published a short story collection entitled ENERGY LINES, which is a meditation on death and circumstance.

Currently, a resident of Atlanta, GA, Robinson continues to enrich film studies programs in the Fulton Countyschool district in Georgia, through hands-on training and lectures on film theory. Robinson also served as the Southeast Coordinator for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Scroll to Top