James Kendi / About

I am a filmmaker and photographer from New York who recently moved to Stockholm, Sweden via Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. I spent the last two years in Côte d’Ivoire researching migration and the ideas of how and why people believe they can improve their lives by relocating. My film Des Filles Commes Nous (Girls Like Us), is the result of this research and exploration.


Studied photography at Bard College with Stephen Shore and Barbara Ess. His thesis, a series of self-portraits was exhibited at the Curt Marcus Gallery, NY, NY and published in Big Magazine. The self portraits were used in a National Billboard Campaign in France, called "Jean-Patrick", and appeared on 12,000 billboards throughout the country. James was an early contributor to Vice Magazine, Tiny Vices and Blackbook Magazine.

James founded Kendi Ties a men’s accessory line from 2005-2010. The photography, illustrations and videos created a unique brand identity emphasizing humor and aesthetics referencing 1960's and 1970's performance and video art. The line was carried in Barney’s New York, Opening Ceremony, Rogan, United Bamboo, Colette, Paris etc. Articles appeared in the New York Times, GQ, and Der Spiegel amongst other publications. Justin Timberlake wore a Kendi Tie on Saturday Night Live.

In 2010, instead of attending film school, James made “Crocker”, a 16 minute narrative short film, starring India Menuez which explores elements of teen delusion, misplaced emotions, and small town drudgery. Crocker screened at the Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union School of Arts, NY, NY. and at the Way Out West Festival, Sweden.

2011 Co-wrote the screenplay Mine To Kill, an existential thriller with author Jeff Kinkle. Mine to Kill was shortlisted for the 2011 Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab.

2011-2016 Directs various short videos for J. Crew, ABC Carpet & Home, and purpose.com

2016 Leaves New York and moves to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire with partner. Photographs for the NGO’s The World Cocoa Foundation and Technoserve. Travels the country to research and interview youth migrants, resulting in the short video documentaries: Jock Anatole Justin, Sakiaré, and Ivory Blue.

2018 Writes the screenplay Alex Abidjan, based on migration research, which is shortlisted for Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab.

2018-2019 Birth of daughter and moves to Stockholm, Sweden. Currently developing a script about migration from West Africa to Europe.

James Kendi | jameskendi@gmail.com | +460708423098