Slumdog Millionaire fame actor Freida Pinto and Hollywood actor Gabrielle Union are coming together for a series based on the criticially-acclaimed book “Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion” by author and culture critic, Tanisha C Ford. The book was published in 2019 by St Martin’s Press to critical acclaim. In his review of the book, New York Times best-selling author of What Truth Sounds Like, Michael Eric Dyson wrote, “Tanisha Ford explores and explicates the intricacies and politics of black style with the rigor of a critic and the heart of a writer. Deconstructing everything from Afros, dashikis, bamboo earrings, baggy jeans, sneakers, and hoodies, she’s a master at letting us see and feel how what we wear expresses our politics and our deepest desires.”
The series adaptation will come in under Gabrielle’s first-look production deal at Sony Pictures Television through her company I’ll Have Another, in partnership with Pinto’s Freebird Films Entertainment.
In her book, Ford uses fashion as a through-line for time and identity — afros and dashikis, go-go boots and hotpants of the ’60s, hip hop’s baggy jeans and bamboo earrings, and the #BlackLivesMatter-inspired hoodies of today. Macmillan’s description of the book describes it as a story of “desire, access, conformity, and black innovation that explains things like the importance of knockoff culture; the role of ‘ghetto fabulous’ full-length furs and colourful leather in the 1990s; how black girls make magic out of a dollar store t-shirt, rhinestones, and airbrushed paint; and black parents’ emphasis on dressing nice.” It went on to add how the author speaks about the “pain of seeing black style appropriated by the mainstream fashion industry and fashion’s power, especially in middle America”. In this richly evocative narrative, she shares her lifelong fashion revolution—from figuring out her own personal style to discovering what makes Midwestern fashion a real thing too. These symbolic garments also represent her own life, as a Black girl coming of age in a Midwestern rust belt city.
“Tanisha’s memoir brought up so much for each of us being women of colour. Fashion is such a huge part of one’s self-expression and to this day plays a major part of how we each operate in our daily lives,” Union and Pinto said in a joint statement. The two actors, who have been friends for a long time, said they are excited to work on the series with Ford. “For us, growing up with such unique and specifically cultural pieces of fashion helped shape our lives and we think it can be the driving force that tells the story of what it means to grow up being a proud woman of colour,” they added.
In an interview to Variety, Ford expressed her excitement, saying, “I am so excited to have my book in the hands of these incredibly talented women. Gabrielle and Freida have been such champions of my work and I am so ready for the next step in this journey of the power of fashion.”
(With PTI inputs)