Whisper Not: Question Bridge Diversity and the Black Male Narrative
1 month ago
How Question Bridge is Working to Eradicate the Single Story
Loop21: What is your perception of the 'state' of Black Men, specifically in America today?
Bayeté Ross Smith: I think we have made a lot of strides and accomplished many great things over the past few decades. However I think the world still harbors many misconceptions and negative perceptions of Black males that is harmful to our development as people and as citizens. This stems from centuries of misinformation about Black people and Black males that our society still hasn't resolved. Even though we have a Black president, Black males are still overly represented in the prison system and homicide rate. We have less access to education, employment and health care. There are many implicit biases that exist. Empirical data and research has shown these biases exists. Whether it's the education gap or the discipline gap. And really, if you actually think about it, and you are someone who does not consider themselves racist, does it really make any sense that Black males are about 6% of the population and over 60% of the prison population?
Loop21: Question Bridge is elegantly raw in that it shoots straight while allowing viewers to engage by observing a dialogue and how did you decide on transmedia as a tool?
Bayeté Ross Smith: We realized early on that we had very powerful compelling content. The question then became, "how do we present this, so it is engaging, entertaining and recreates, as much as possible, the dynamic and energy of a conversation?" We also wanted to create a piece that would be accessible to a broad range of people, within their daily lives. We did not want to create a project that is only accessible to museumgoers, or people who spend a lot of time online, or folks who watch a lot of documentaries. We also realized early on that a traditional documentary format would not work for this project. As we thought more and more about this we decided we needed to create something that functioned on multiple platforms. We decided that as a video piece itself, it should exist on five channels where the different men's faces would appear and they would ask and answer questions. However it also was important for them to be seen listening and responding to one another, as well as there be some thematic art from section to section. One of the goals of this project is to create familiarity with Black men.