For Vogue’s March 2021 problem, the filmmaker Julie Dash—identified for her rhapsodic depictions of Black life, most famously in 1991’s Daughters of the Dust—framed the younger musical duo Chloe x Halle inside one very previous story: A folktale handed down by the Efik folks of southeastern Nigeria about why the solar and the moon stay within the sky.
Shifting the narrative’s motion to picturesque Little Corona del Mar Beach in Southern California, Dash joined forces (remotely) with Vogue’s Gabriella Karefa-Johnson for the undertaking, which is actually half brief movie, half spring fashion portfolio. “I met Gabriella on a Zoom conference call and we worked online until the day of the shoot,” Dash says. “She’s wildly creative.” Yet its poetic outcomes—what with these glittering Ariel Brickman masks and heavenly frocks from the likes of Paco Rabanne, Valentino, and Simone Rocha—belie difficult capturing situations; and never simply due to the strict security protocols. “The filming was physically grueling,” Dash says. “Chloe and Halle had to walk half a mile across a stoney beach, wearing long gowns, in the cold morning and later in the heat. I don’t think they knew they were going to get wet, too!” She is fast so as to add, nonetheless, that the pair—who launched their second studio album, the massively profitable Ungodly Hour, last summer—remained in preternaturally good spirits all through. “They never complained,” Dash studies. “I was very familiar with the sisters, but did not know how sweet they were!”
Currently at work with administrators Tina Mabry, Kasi Lemmons, and Gina Prince-Bythewood on the ABC miniseries Women of the Movement, about Mamie Till-Mobley’s seek for justice after the lynching of her son, Emmett Till, in 1955, Dash, like Chloe x Halle, hasn’t allowed the pandemic to stymie her powers of creativity. “The lockdown made everything a little more hectic,” she says, “but nothing dampers inspiration.”