Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

Visions: "The Tapestry"

Visions: "The Tapestry"
March 4, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Watch on Vimeo

Post-screening conversation with Archive Research and Study Center Officer Maya Montañez Smukler and UCLA Cinema and Media Studies Associate Professor Ellen Scott.

Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the Women's Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television

Visions: “The Tapestry”

U.S., 12/30/1976

In 1975, Maya Angelou (1928–2014) became the first African American woman to join the Directors Guild in the director’s category. By 1975, Angelou had already led an adventurer’s career as a nightclub singer, dancer, theater director, actress, poet, songwriter, composer, civil rights activist, screenwriter and best-selling author. Angelou’s first endeavor with public television, as a creative producer, was in 1968 as the writer, producer and host of the series Blacks, Blues, Black! for KQED/PBS, which profiled the relationship and influences between African and Black American culture. As a participant in the American Film Institute’s first Directing Workshop for Women in 1974, Angelou began to develop narrative directing skills with her short film All Day Long. In 1976, she directed two short films, The Tapestry and Circles, both written by Alexis DeVeaux, for the television anthology series Visions. Visions (1976-1980), produced by KCET/PBS and helmed by veteran television executive Barbara Schultz, provided an opportunity for first-time filmmakers to work with original material that often focused on controversial themes including social justice, feminism, race and sexuality.

In “The Tapestry,” Jet (Gloria Jones Schultz) juggles the stress of studying for her law school exams with pressures from her family and peer group to conform to expectations of being a “good daughter” and a “good girlfriend.” Angelou uses the confines of the stagy television set in combination with the mobility of studio cameras to create a dynamic environment in which to present Jet as a young woman teetering between a psychological breakdown and a personal breakthrough. Within Angelou’s body of work, “The Tapestry” represents the artist’s commitment to telling Black women’s stories, across format and platform, of self-discovery and independence often in conflict with the limits of social conventions.Maya Montañez Smukler

This screening is a co-presentation of UCLA Film & Television Archive and UCLA Center for the Study of Women's Black Feminism Initiative (BFI), established in 2019 to honor and encourage Black feminist thought and visions for political transformation. The BFI and the Archive are proud to announce this inaugural screening as part of an ongoing slate of programming that will center diasporic Black feminist art and expressive culture.

Color, 56 min. Executive Producer: Barbara Schultz. Director: Maya Angelou. Writer: Alexis DeVeaux. With: Gloria Jones Schultz, Glynn Turman, Ebony Wright.

Use of Visions courtesy of KCETLink. Preserved from the original 2 in. videotape. Video transfer at DC Video. Engineering services by David Crosthwait.

Note: the original KCET broadcast of this episode of Visions included the drama “Circles,” which has been omitted from this online presentation. The complete broadcast has been preserved by UCLA.