Black Women Need to Make More Films. HBO Short Film Award Showcase Winner Huriyyah Muhammad Shows Why – EBONY

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Black men have had their place to shine in filmmaking: the grit and grime of the streets from Curtis “50” Cent Jackson’s Power Universe or the horror-genre genius of Jordan Peele.

The space for Black women in Hollywood, alternatively, has remained small, just a sliver of what her Black male counterparts (whose opportunities are also slim) have been able to achieve. But when Hollywood embraces the Black voice from a female perspective, it can delve into rich storytelling on everyday life issues.

That’s the case with Chocolate with Sprinkles, which premiered at the 2024 American Black Film Festival: Miami. Writer-director Huriyyah Muhammad was the HBO Short Film Award Showcase winner for her endearing slice-of-life story about Black marriage.

“On their 25th wedding anniversary, a couple gets the chance to do something they haven’t done in 25 years, which is work on their marriage and come to see each other again,” Muhammad told EBONY after her win.

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“It’s inspired by my parents and growing up in our Cleveland, Ohio, donut bakery…it’s my experience watching them through the trials, the ups and the downs and all the love that permeated through my family.”

Making the film allowed Muhammad to understand just how much work goes into sustaining a marriage over a quarter-century. “They argued so much growing up, and I didn’t really understand it,” she said.

“Now that I’m an adult, I’m married, I have a daughter, I have my own business. And I wondered when you have time to really work on your marriage in a circumstance like that. At the end of the night, I just want to go to bed and go to sleep, I don’t want to talk about anything.”

Facing something that they haven’t experienced in decades, the couple has to get back into a rhythm once again. “It’s a really sweet, heartwarming, life-affirming story,” Muhammed declared. “At the end, it’s a story that makes you feel like you got big love.”

While Muhammed’s parents passed over a decade ago, the family was still exploring their connection, even in death. “When my mom passed away, we all laughed and said, ‘Are we going to bury her near my dad, or opposite ends of the cemetery,’” she recalled.

But love is enduring, especially for family. “I think that they are someplace and that they are shining down on me, my brothers and sisters, and that they’re good and wonderful.”

Huriyyah MuhammadHuriyyah Muhammad
Huriyyah Muhammad. Image: EBONY.

As for her win, Muhammed acknowledges the struggle to make the film while Black and female. “I feel so blessed. I’ve worked so hard in my career and sacrificed so much,” she shared.

“It’s always a lot of twists and turns, and you have to believe in yourself, and you have to sacrifice. You constantly have to prove yourself. I feel like I’m on the edge of just stepping into the industry in a whole new way and being looked at as a very different type of creator, so it’s very exciting.”

For stories that aren’t wrapped in Black trauma but just on the simple act of connection and belonging, we applaud you.  

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