In his own words, Asili’s work focuses “on the African diaspora as a cultural force.” His most recent film – and first feature –The Inheritance
is about a community of Black artists and activists who have formed a collective housing unit following the main character’s inheritance of his grandmother’s house in Philadelphia. The film is densely layered and complex; it is similar in many ways to the French New Wave films that have inspired Asili (see his Criterion Collection watch list
for a better idea of his references). Deeply philosophical, it is also a film full of rich characters, funny and touching moments and encounters with beautiful art.
Asili’s film involves a community of historical and contemporary Black activists and artists including the likes of Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker and some of the Move house’s original members. This facet, among many others in the film, blurs the lines of fiction and nonfiction, fantasy and real life. In his work, these tensions are at the heart of meaning-making. His style and research concerns might not intuitively lend themselves to commercial applications. However, through the experience of directing Strange Math
, and studying Abloh's work more closely, Asili has considered the power of “positive collaboration with corporate entities.” Resources are key, and few creatively inclined firms have more influence than Louis Vuitton. In an expansive interview, Asili discusses navigating his various roles as an artist and teacher. He particularly touches upon the tensions that exist in finding an audience and financing structure to support work that maintains its ethical integrity. One thing is clear, Asili is a filmmaker to look out for.