Shirikiana Aina

Brick by Brick (1982)

Shirikiana Aina, writer and director, was born in 1955. After obtaining her B.A. in Film from Howard University, she earned an M.A. in African Film Studies from UCLA in 1982.

That same year, she directed the documentary Brick By Brick, a rare look at the issues of displacement and urban gentrification in the poor, black neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.

Later, she co-produced Sankofa (1993), directed by her husband, Haile Gerima, which received critical praise and prizes for its representation of the horrors of slavery in the West Indies and the pursuit of freedom. Her latest work includes Through the Door of No Return (1997), which documents Aina’s journey to Ghana and the experience of her ancestors. This feature was shown at the Toronto Film Festival in 1997. She has also worked as a cinematographer for various documentaries such as Politics of African Cinema and On Becoming a Woman.

In 1984, Aina and her husband established Mypheduh Films, Inc., a distribution company for low-budget, independent, African and African American films. She is also a founder of Positive Productions, Inc., a non-profit film company. Aina has taught courses at her alma mater in scriptwriting and film production.