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Poly Styrene was the first Black woman in the UK to front a successful rock band. She introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain, with a rare prescience. As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, the Anglo-Somali musician was also a key inspiration for the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements. But the late punk maverick didn’t just leave behind an influential cultural footprint; she is survived by a daughter, Celeste Bell, who became the unwitting guardian of both her mother’s legacy and her demons. Misogyny, racism and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, while the lasting trauma scarred Celeste’s childhood and the pair’s relationship. Featuring unseen archival material and rare diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this film follows Celeste as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive, and travels across three continents to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother.


“Testimonials from the Raincoats, Thurston Moore, Vivienne Westwood, Kathleen Hanna and Neneh Cherry... and an abundance of vintage footage make clear the appeal and impact of Styrene’s brightly blazing artistry. But it’s the documentary’s refusal to gloss over the bumpier parts of her life – or fall into the tired trope of the tortured genius whose artistry excuses any missteps – while still treating Styrene with love and admiration that ensures I Am A Cliché is anything but.” - BILLBOARD MAGAZINE


This film will have a special DOXA Drive-In screening at the PNE Amphitheatre on May 15th at 9:00pm. For more information about DOXA Drive-In, click here. To purchase tickets for the Drive-In, click here.

  • Year
    2021
  • Runtime
    89 minutes
  • Country
    United Kingdom
  • Director
    Paul Sng and Celeste Bell
  • Screenwriter
    Zoë Howe
  • Producer
    Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche
  • Executive Producer
    Nikki Parrott and Natasha Dack Ojumu
  • Editor
    Xanna Ward Dixon
  • Composer
    Marina Elderton
  • Sound Design
    Raoul Brand