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To Be Seen

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Alias James Allen, a Black woman, was arrested in Baltimore in April 1909 for wearing male attire. As a young woman in male apparel, she became a teacher in the public schools of Baltimore. When arrested, she was 24 and said she had worn men’s garb since she was 16.

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Michelle M. Washington is thrilled to debut her directing skills in her first short film entitled To Be Seen for The Anthropologists digital projects of No Pants in Tucson! As a native New Yorker and a 2021 graduate of Virginia Union University (receiving her BFA in Theatre Arts & Visual Arts), Michelle has been acting since 2015 and is currently an actress based in the city Richmond, VA. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Washington continues to pursue her acting career by acting in virtual productions and upcoming short films. You may have seen her as Sara in Break Stuff (2021) presented by Pineapple Shaped Lamps annual Sketch-Mess! or her one woman show as Wraith in Beyond (2021) presented by Brave New Classics. She is currently working in an upcoming short film that will premiere in late 2021. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the creation of To Be Seen, especially to her production crew who has worked selflessly during this entire process, and who has believed in this film every step of the way. A big thank you goes to the production team of The Anthropologists for believing in my vision and granting me the necessary tools to make this film come to life. My gratitude is beyond appreciation for all you have done.


"I was fascinated by Maude Allen’s story because she was a black woman who was an advocate for the community in its academic and religious aspects (typically back then, predominantly male positions), yet she was arrested for wearing male attire. As I researched more of her life story, Ms. Allen was certain that no one ever suspected her sex, despite her dressing in male attire for opportunistic reasons. This all piqued my interest to further my research on Maude Allen and portray her life story through the visual art of cinema.” - Michelle

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Director & Writer: Michelle M. Washington 

Director of Photography: Izaiah A. Bowers 

Sound Design: Hassan Washington 

Costume Design: Shawnessi Hill 

Cinematographer: Maya J. Burton 

Poster Design: Zoé B. Jones


Actors In Order of Appearance 

-Turkwon Dupree 

-Naudia Carter 

-Toney Q. Cobb

Behind the Scenes

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