Mommy Never Told Me (Documentary - Premiere)
"Mommy Never Told Me" is free to stream above. We do not want to deny accessibility to anyone who wants to see the film, however, donations are appreciated & encouraged.
Co-Director: Tasneem Nathari & Dante Bailey
Ex. Producer: Lisa Nathari
Editor: Dante Bailey
Mommy Never Told Me is a documentary feature film by Dante Bailey and Tasneem Nathari (Narrator), also known as, 'Hoodrat Feminist'. Tasneem, leads focused group discussions with black women and girls ranging from age (5-72) about how their social and/or sexual experiences have informed their emotional expectations and views on love. Tasneem gained popularity through Instagram by utilizing the social networking site as a storytelling platform. In one-minute videos titled #duragdiaries, Tasneem shared stories of her first sexual experiences, heartbreaks, struggles with mental health, and low self-esteem, as well as how she has been working to heal from past traumas. Tasneem’s experiences are shared norms for too many women and girls raised in communities like hers. Using concepts of Black feminism and womanism to empower and share the journey to freedom with anyone who is also fighting, this documentary is the continuation of so many, conversations held through #DuragDiaries, on instagram
I was raised, a Black girl, in East Orange, New Jersey, by a single mother who worked hard to give my siblings and me everything we needed and wanted. My mother had to work to support her family on her own. She worked every night, and she wasn’t home until after 7pm each night. I got out of school each day at 3pm, so I had four hours to explore on my own for three years straight. I fell in love with a boy, for the first time, during that exploration. Where I’m from, we don’t have nannies and babysitters or after school programs. We walk home from school together and go everywhere, but home. I learned hip hop before I learned school. I learned sex before I learned love. I learned to be my own guide.
My friends and I were learning together, and all we had was ourselves and each other. We didn’t tell our mothers when we lost our virginities, they had to find out through trips to the clinic to cure STDs and to terminate pregnancies. We couldn’t talk to our mothers when we got our hearts broken, because they didn’t know we’d given our hearts away. We didn’t talk about physical, sexual, mental, or emotional abuse, because our mothers went through the same things and it made them stronger. We wanted to be strong like them.
My friends and I grew up, grew apart, and fell out of love with the boys we’d given our childhoods to. The only constants in our lives, were our mothers.
I eventually went to college and stumbled into an Introduction to Feminist Thought and Action course. I was in a class with mostly young white women being instructed by an older white woman, but I began to look back at my upbringing with newly informed eyes. I had flashbacks of my friends and I and things that happened to us, that seemed normal, because it was happening to all of us. Feminism was giving a name to some of these things, but I couldn’t help but notice women and girls from neighborhoods like mine, and our perspectives were excluded from the course syllabus. At that moment, I realized we could contribute to the conversation, women and girls from neighborhoods like mine, we didn’t need anyone to speak for us.
Mommy Never Told Me, is a documentary that grew out of the desire to contribute to the conversation. Let this film be a call to action for those who may view it to get out there and continue to speak to our youth about sex in more transparent ways prior to the start of their sexual exploration, so that we can effectively begin to put an end to cycles of trauma & abuse in our communities.
Tasneem - Growing Through It (EP)
“Love of My Life”
I met this girl, when I was ten years old
And what I loved most she had so much soul
She was old school, when I was just a shorty
Never knew throughout my life she would be there for me
I’ve been told to enjoy my twenties since I was a kid. I couldn’t wait to be grown, cause that’s when the fun would begin. Now at 23, this doesn’t feel like a time that permits joy or even provides space for it. My older loved ones often try to keep me from making the same mistakes they made, but while trying to figure this life thing out I’ve realized it’s all just trial and error. This journey is one where you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Who stays and who goes. What art matters and what doesn’t.
My mother has worked some form of a 9-5 job since she was 16, and she hasn’t stopped working since. She didn’t want that for me, so I didn’t have to work through art school. She paid some out of pocket, I took on some debt, and my talent got me a 40% scholarship. After school, I worked so many odd jobs, I mean imagine me working retail, in an Amazon warehouse, some of your fave restaurants. I saved a cute coin, and spent it. I’m a full-time creative now, but I’m poor. While being poor I’ve learned what I can and can’t live without. I gotta eat, so I buy groceries. Cooking is something I enjoy doing and hope to get better at. I gotta get fly, so I spend hours at thrift stores piecing together looks that make me feel good. Shout out to Dollar Thursdays at the Goodwill. Social anxiety has caused me to lose so many friends, but I need them. Most of the relationship pain I’ve experienced has come from friendships ending. They rarely come with an explanation. I don’t like to go out, so I have to be able to hold space at the crib. Gotta have a crib, so rent has to be paid. I have to have a partner through this, someone who sees what I see, someone who understands my values as I do there's, someone to fuck, someone to love on… Thank God for Dante.
I need to be able to express myself through different artistic mediums, especially MUSIC, which led us right here, right now.
I don’t have money for studio time so thank you Truth, one of my favorite rappers. He worked hard to buy himself a new mic and gave me his old one cause he believes in me. My mom fronted the money for the rest and I paid her back. Dante went half on a computer, and we’ve been able to build a makeshift studio.
I thought that was all I needed, until it was time to actually make the music. The little money I did have I came to producer niggas with it in hand, one nigga stole from me, another one ghosted me, and one was honest enough to tell me he wasn’t interested. After that experience I tried to find Black woman artists to work with, and that disappointment hurt even more. I refuse to give up. I don’t have any musicians in my circle, cause my circle is a period. During art school I studied and started to grow into Hoodrat Feminist, but I wasn’t simultaneously making musical friends, especially not in the drama school. I had dreams of jam sessions and the music that would come out of those sessions, but here we are… The internet has given me a tribe I could’ve never imagined.
This project I’m sharing with you is this story in song cycle form. I come from a musical theatre background and my heart is in live arts. I thought this would be the best way to introduce myself. My name is Tasneem, and this is Growing Through It, my musical. I’d like to invite any and everyone to enjoy what I’ve been able to write over beats I’ve searched the internet for. If you enjoy what I did here, just know there’s more in store if I can get some help.