Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) official movie poster, a Magnolia Pictures release.
Image (c) and courtesy of Magnolia Pictures, image by Mickalene Thomas

In a 2005 Princeton University commencement address to seniors, Toni Morrison stated: “I am a storyteller and therefore an optimist, a firm believer in the ethical bend of the human heart...from my point of view your life is already artful, just waiting, for you to make it art.” The film Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019, 120 min., USA) looks at the ways Morrison made her life artful and offers intimate meditation on the life and works of the acclaimed novelist. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio, to ‘70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, the film includes voices from Farah Jasmine Griffin, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, and Oprah Winfrey. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film also includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon, her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University. In collaboration with Columbia University, African American and African Diaspora Studies Department.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life-NYU
238 Thompson Street, Grand Hall, 5th Floor

A screening and discussion with director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Farah Jasmine Griffin
(Columbia University, African American and African Diaspora Studies Department)
and Avery Willis Hoffman

Please RSVP: or (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
Please make sure to state the event name and date in your email.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has achieved critical acclaim photographing world leaders and major cultural figures, including presidents, writers, artists, actors and musicians. His photographs are in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, The National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Brooklyn Museum. Most recently, he exhibited at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Greenfield-Sanders has produced and directed 13 films including Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart (Grammy Award, 1998), The Black List (NAACP Spirit award, 2008), The Latino List, The Out List, About Face (HBO), The Boomer List, The Women’s List (PBS) and The Trans List (HBO). His most recent film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27th, 2019 and is currently in theaters across the U.S. Visit for details. Greenfield-Sanders’ books have been published by Bulfinch, Atria, Luxury and Powerhouse. He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his M.F.A. from The American Film Institute.

Farah Jasmine Griffin is Chair of African-American & African Diaspora Studies; Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University. She is also Affiliate Faculty of the Center for Jazz Studies. Griffin received her B.A. from Harvard University, where she majored in American History and Literature and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. She has published widely on issues of race and gender, feminism, jazz and cultural politics. Griffin is the author of Who Set You Flowin?: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends:  Letters from Rebecca Primus of Royal Oak, Maryland, and Addie Brown of Hartford Connecticut, 1854-1868 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001).  Her most recent book is Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II, published by Basic Books in 2013. Griffin has collaborated with composer, pianist, Geri Allen and director, actor S. Epatha Merkerson on theatrical projects, and her essays and articles have appeared in EssenceThe New York TimesThe Washington PostThe NationThe GuardianHarper's BazaarArt Forum and numerous other publications.  She is also a frequent radio commentator on political and cultural issues.

Avery Willis Hoffman - a writer, director, producer and curator of public programs - is currently Program Director at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Previously,  Hoffman was a Senior Project Developer at Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a museum planning and design firm where her primary project was the development of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Hoffman has worked with acclaimed director Peter Sellars for over a decade, including: Shakespeare’s Othello, Mozart's opera Zaide, and Toni Morrison's Desdemona, and The NewCrowned Hope Festival. She is currently tour producer and the curator of public programs forFLEXN, Sellars's collaboration with Reggie Gray and the Brooklyn flex community. Hoffman has also worked with James Schamus at Focus Features, with Jehane Noujaim on Pangea Day, her TED-prize film festival for TV, and for President Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative. Hoffman earned a PhD and MA in Classical Languages & Literature from University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar, and her BA from Stanford University (English & Classics).

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