Collections focus

Her Voice: Black Women from the Spotlight to the Screen

A display of trail-blazing pioneers, from 1930s film star Nina Mae McKinney to Halle Berry,

Image from Collections focus: Her Voice: Black Women from the Spotlight to the Screen

‘Black women can do anything. We have proven that time and time and time again’
Tarana Burke, activist

Black female performers have continually challenged regressive stereotypes by presenting audiences with dynamic characters that hold their own in mainstream culture. The Reuben Library is celebrating BFI Southbank’s re-opening with a Collections Focus display of trail-blazing pioneers, from 1930s film star Nina Mae McKinney to Halle Berry, the first African–American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. Our experts have collated rare and unusual items from the library’s vaults to demonstrate diverse contributions that black women have made to the performing arts. The library is open to all, and the season will run until the end of June 2021, but due to social distancing measures, please check with the librarian on duty before entering.