HomeAboutArchival Activist StatementsBrianna Jones

Brianna Jones


When I was initially introduced to Alex and The VHS Activism Archive, it was during a time when I was learning about the importance and urgency of preserving our audio and moving Image cultural heritage - especially those we personally create, inherit & curate about our lives, the issues/things that deeply move and call to us, and of the people we cherish the most in our lives. As analog fades into obsolescence, technology continues to advance/evolve, and much of the life-span of the digital still unknown; it’s those audiovisual memories that we create which are at constant risk of extinction. This becomes even more critical when these audiovisual memories are made by and for marginalized communities, such as immigrants, the LGBTQIA community, and communities of Color.

I’ve always viewed the VHS format as the 8mm film of the magnetic media world, in that 8mm film is a format that is often associated with the birth and growth of the Home Movie. Due to the wide availability and affordability of the format and the playback technology, 8mm, later on VHS,VHS-C & DV, afforded marginalized communities the chance to create, document, and express their truth. The tapes featured in the VHS Activism Archive offer an unflinching look at the complexities and tensions that surround the division between mainstream perceptions and self-proclamations in terms of race, gender expression/identity, sex education, sexual health, and sexuality. The tapes are a visual lens into the hidden aspects of what those identifiers can encompass within the dominant societal structure. They allow for the re-evaluation of how history has interpreted or, rather, misinterpreted certain groups of marginalized people.

I believe to gaze upon a true representation of oneself empowers us to actively partake in the discussions and introduce the counter-narrative in the mainstream media, so it then can spell over to the cultural ideology of our time. I’m grateful to have experienced these tapes when my identity regarding sexuality, family, and faith, and how these three entities can or can not share space, were being uprooted and dismantled. It is films such as “Hear Me Out,” “The Potluck and The Passion,” “The Body Beautiful,” “Like A Prayer,” and “(In)visible Women” that have empowered me to answer the call-to-action as a media archivist.

It is my hope and prayer that the tapes within The VHS Activism Archive can offer the same empowerment to those who come across it.

-- Brianna Jones

Influenced by her undergraduate studies in Cultural Anthropology, Brianna’s research focuses on the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality and how these ‘identifiers’ shape the metadata of and access to audiovisual materials within archives. Her main interest lies in uncovering, preserving, and providing access to audiovisual and audio collections primarily of Color.