Picking Tribes

A film by S. Pearl Sharp

1988 | 7 minutes | Color | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99345


“In a heartfelt, and often hilarious, attempt to be more than ‘ordinary,’ a girl growing up in the 1940s tries to choose between her African-American and Native-American heritages. It is only when her beloved grandfather dies that she is able to reconcile the power of both her heritages and realizes her own uniqueness." -Moving Pictures Bulletin

Sharp uses vintage photographs and Carlos Spivey’s watercolor animation to create a spirited portrait of a girl’s search for identity.

Now with Bonus Short Film: BACK INSIDE HERSELF 2009 Remix by S. Pearl Sharp (4min 45secs)
Originally released in 1984, this lyrical visual poem featuring Barbara-O urges black women to both discover and invent their own identities. The 2009 remix includes updated audio with vocals by Sharp and Dwight Trible.



American Library Association

"A delightful, provocative film invoking a universal response to the search for identity."

Newark Black Film Festival


  • San Francisco Poetry Film Festival, 1st Place (BACK INSIDE HERSELF)
  • Newark Black Film Festival, Paul Robeson Award
  • Black American Cinema Society, 1st Place (BACK INSIDE HERSELF)


S. Pearl Sharp

S. Pearl Sharp has focused on cultural arts, Black Diaspora history and wellness, working in radio, theatre, music, literature and in film on both sides of the camera. Her semi-animated short Picking Tribes (1988) is archived in the Women Make Movies collection of the Motion Picture Academy (AMPAS). Documentaries include The Healing Passage/ Voices From The Water (2004) which aired on The Documentary Channel, Life Is A Saxophone (1985) on poet-griot Kamau Daáood, the controversial women's health video, It's O.K. To Peek, produced with Arabella Chavers-Julien, and a dozen cultural arts docs for the City of Los Angeles’ Channel 35. She has put poetry on film in the shorts Back Inside Herself (1984), Channeled (2009), and Blood Bank (2022). Print publications include Black Women For Beginners and The Evening News, her collected commentaries and essays broadcast on NPR and Pacifica Radio Network. S. Pearl is a founding member of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers {BADWest} and one of her joys is mentoring new documentary filmmakers.
www.spearlsharp.com www.YouTube.com/user/aSharpShow


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