ABSTRACT

There are at least two different ways of thinking about 'cultural identity'. The fIrst position defInes 'cultural identity' in terms of one, shared culture, a sort of collective 'one true self, hiding inside the many other, more superfIcial or artifIcially imposed 'selves', which people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common. Within the terms of this defInition, our cultural identities reflect the common historical experiences and shared cultural codes which provide us, as 'one people', with stable, unchanging and continuous frames of reference and meaning, beneath the shifting divisions and vicissitudes of our actual history. This 'oneness', underlying all the other, more superfIcial differences, is the truth, the essence, of 'Caribbeanness', of the black experience. It is this identity which a Caribbean or black diaspora must discover, excavate, bring to light and express through cinematic representation.