What’s “Love” Got To Do With It, Meet Kalai

The year is 1984, and Tina Turner is dominating airwaves with her hit single, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”. Lyrics like, “What’s love got to do, got to do with it/Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”, question the importance of love. Tina powerfully describes someone disinterested in the feelings associated with being in love. For her subject, the sentiments necessary to be in love are unimpressive. We can’t say the same for Kalai, director and producer of Love.

Meet Kalai

Kalai first caught my attention through our mutual friend and my work wife, Red Mosiane. Red had sung Kalai’s praises to me in reference to their activism in LGBTIAP+ spaces. Kalai is a self-described “brown baby femme bred on sugarcane and sunsap.” It comes as no surprise that a law student would find themselves involved in some kind of advocacy work, especially with the kind of language Kalai provides to describe themselves. While pursuing their degree, Kalai is a visual artist and creative director, in addition to a poet.

What is “Love”

Love is a performance art short film following the stories of four womxn of color and their conceptualization of love. Kalai unpacks their individual experiences of love and their views of love from various angles. The womxn director sought to note the different facets of each participant, the hardness, softness, vulnerability, bravery, and more. “I’d like you to pay attention to the feelings behind these real-life accounts of love which signal the start of us young African womxn reclaiming the dialogue on how we feel and share love across multiple interpersonal dimensions.”

Each interviewee is asked a question about their perception and experience of love. The activist-director interviews womxn from her social environment, people from her school and from her childhood. The importance of love as a theme was a personal and purposeful choice. Often, Kalai self-isolates from love, which was a contributing factor to why this short film took a year to produce. However, it was equally important not to limit the scope of interrogation to romantic love, “I have closed that door for now,” the director explains via email.


What do you think of “Love”?
Featured image by @mpoizen01