I think the idea for Pops of Color started percolating in my brain around the time of the George Zimmerman trial. Or perhaps it was around the time Eric Garner was killed. Maybe Tamir Rice? John Crawford? Or maybe it was Mike Brown. Could have been Sandra Bland further fueled by Philando Castillo.
I lamented about how simple it was not only for these young people’s lives to be snatched away but at the ease with which the explanations for their deaths were accepted, swallowed and regurgitated. “They’re thugs, animals, criminals. They resisted, looked guilty, shouldn’t have been there or done that.” It broke my heart at how simple it was for people to explain Trayvon Martin’s humanity away. The pain in his mother’s face, having lost her son, his life cut short, never to have his own family. The horror and impotence that his father must have felt, not being able to protect his number one son. The massive hole left in their hearts, so big it threatened to swallow us all, whole. And then it happened again, and again, and again. Wash, rinse, repeat. The grief and rage overwhelmed parts of this nation and I wondered, how is it that we don’t all feel outraged?
Truthfully, it also outrages me that some of us cannot see the humanity in ourselves. How a young Black man can gun down another young Black man who has a family, loved ones – a mom, a dad, a child, grandparents, a spouse, nieces, nephews – people who need and want them in their lives. If they can’t stop killing themselves and each other, how will anyone fight successfully for them?
How is it that HUMAN LIVES, could be so easily dismissed? And in the instance of asking the question, I understood the answer. I knew the lack of compassion, the lack of empathy and sympathy stemmed from the fact that some people truly cannot see our shared humanity. I had to DO something.
As a creative, I felt it my duty to contribute to the national conversation. It is my obligation to create art that adds to the dialogue. And the dialogue starts with the fact that I am human, you are human, WE ARE ALL HUMAN – we love, we birth, we die, we cry, we hurt, we help, we give, we take – if your life matters, my life matters. I want my art to make clear that what we share as human beings is so much more important than what sets us apart. This short docu-series is intended to show these men of color for who they are. FATHERS. Fathers who love their kids. Kids who look up to their dads. Men who are there for those they love and those of us who love them. Fathers of color are here. They exist. They are not unicorns, they are not anomalies. They are part of the human fabric. Let me introduce you to a few…