Junior journalism major Lauren Grant aims to highlight the positive black community in her documentary, What Happened to Our Race?
If you ask Lauren Grant, she would say the negative aspects of the black community are all people see, hear and know – and that needs to change. Grant, a junior broadcast journalism major, was compelled to create a documentary, What Happened to Our Race?, examining the progress and current position of blacks since the Civil Rights Movement.
Grant commented that since the Civil Rights Movement, blacks have stopped looking for doors to open.
“This was an idea I had after watching TV and looking at some of the things that are happening in the African-American community,” Grant said. “I was looking at things like the number of young girls with babies, how real black men are disappearing, our entertainment and other issues as far as the conditions for African Americans.”
The film, produced by Temple students, will, highlight individuals breaking free from stereotypes and expose the reasons others give in to them. The documentary is scheduled for completion May 2010.
Fatia Kasumu, a freshman BTMM major at Temple and member of the project, agreed with Grant. Though she said she’s proud of the progress the black community has made, she said ignorance is also part of the problem.
“Ignorance. [The black community is] high on that,” Kasumu said. “We’re ignorant in what else is out there.”
Kasumu and Antonio Boone, a sophomore magazine journalism major, both got involved with What Happened to Our Race? during a meeting for the Temple Association of Black Journalists. TABJ has been instrumental in providing Grant’s team with people to contact and other production participants, along with formulating the purpose and process for the film’s production.
“The film is more about putting light on the differences between what’s being seen and what’s really going on,” Grant said.
Grant’s project will feature experts and professors in the African American Studies Department. She also hopes to contact radio personality DJ Charlamagne, known for his criticism of hip hop and black performers, on Philly’s 100.3 The BEAT. Grant said she hopes this will bring national issues to a local level by interviewing North Philadelphia residents.
Boone said he hopes this film will educate people, especially children. So often, he said he feels kids listen to music and think the only things that matter in life are money, cars and women.
“I respect rappers doing their thing, but when [their music] is taken out of the context … as entertainment … that’s a problem,” Boone said.
He wants kids who may view this film to know they can do more with their lives and do and see more outside of Philadelphia. The film will also touch on areas like progress since the Civil Rights Movement, the black man, the black woman, education, entertainment and the tension between African Americans and Africans.
“I want [kids] to see this film and know this is what’s going on, but you can be the one to change it,” Boone added.
Grant and Kasuma said they hope the film will strip people of their ignorance and show positive role models in the community. Grant is planning to screen the film to Temple students before taking it to a network for airing.
Grant is still looking for Temple volunteers, regardless of major or race, to get involved.
Iris Still can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.