Director Numa Perrier on Carrie Mae Weems’ ‘Kitchen Table Series’

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Numa Perrier. Photo by Steven Meidenbauer

The Perfect Find and Jezebel director Numa Perrier understands how to elevate Black female narratives in Hollywood. In 2011, she co-founded The Black & Sexy TV, a digital media network that produces content for progressive Black audiences.

Perrier centers Black feminism in her own work, so the first time she saw photographer Carrie Mae Weems’ “Kitchen Table Series,” she “really felt pulled into” her body of work. 

Weems’ 1990 image series – a collection of 20 photographs, accompanied by 14 panel texts written by Sarah Elizabeth Lewis – tell the story of a woman, embodied by Weems, in the intimate setting of her kitchen. Perrier understood how Weems’ simple and personal imagery could tell a feminine and sensual story at the same time, something she has strived to embody into her own work ever since. 

More: Director Numa Perrier on Netflix’s “The Perfect Find” 

This segment has been edited for length and clarity. 

Kitchen Table Series” are black and white photos that [Carrie Mae Weems] set up at her kitchen table of herself, of her children, of her lover, or lovers, perhaps. And it was very day-in-the-life or night-in-the-life snapshots of what would happen at this kitchen table.

I remember being so pulled in to this photography, and so pulled into Carrie Mae Weems as an artist. She's a filmmaker. She's a sculptor. She's a photographer. But it was really this first series that taught me the way that imagery could tell a story that was so feminine, so sensual, so simple and so personal at the same time. I was just very moved by it, very moved by her entire body of work [and] everything she continues to create.

“The Kitchen Table Series,” photograph by Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of

I had the pleasure of meeting her once and she was just incredible to talk to, so soft and strong and you know all of the things that you look up to in a woman.

There's a photo book that shows “Kitchen Table Series” and some of the writing that she would put alongside it, like: 

“Neither knew with certainty what the future held. It could be only a paper moon hanging over a cardboard sea, but they both said, "It wouldn't be make-believe, if you believed in me.”

– Sarah Elizabeth Lewis text for Carrie Mae Weems’ 1990 “Kitchen Table Series.” 

Having that central idea of Black womanism, Black feminism, just the richness of the simple moments of her life that she was showing through these photos is something that I want to always embody in my work, on some level, in some scene, in some way, just how rich a simple moment can be.

“The Kitchen Table Series,” photograph by Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of

Carrie Mae Weems’ "The Kitchen Table Series" interview for Art21’s "Extended Play." Courtesy of Art21 via YouTube 




Rebecca Mooney