*For centuries, Black people in America have been subjected to systemic racism that has touched every sector of their lives. With ongoing displacement, exclusion, bias, segregation, and socioeconomic injustices, an overwhelming population of Black people find themselves woefully and wrongfully denied fair housing, a quality education, bountiful employment, affordable health care, and a fair justice system. For White people, it’s the opposite.
Yet, what if the tables were turned, which presented a reversal of Black and White roles in America? Imagine if Black people were the privileged sector of society and benefactors of golden opportunities in their lives. Suppose White people were transmuted to assume subservient roles that many Black people have struggled to shake since slavery.
In the recently released film, “Negative Exposure,” such reversals of Black and White roles come to fruition. The movie’s storyline follows Jayson Gresham (Taylor Katsanis), a young WHITE MAN trapped in the ghetto, where vicious cycles of poverty, hopelessness, racial profiling and police harassment have been a daily way of life for generations. Jayson’s longtime friend is Bones (Darrell Snedeger), a White hoodlum who controls everything that’s illegal in the hood, specifically the sale of drugs and gang activities.
Nevertheless, Jayson seeks a better life for his young daughter and himself. However, Blacks maintain a system of racism to keep Jayson and other ghetto-dwelling Whites suppressed. As a result, Jayson, through interactions with Bones, faces decisions and consequences that will alter his life in definitive ways.
The film was shot in Columbia, South Carolina – although it could have been shot in any American city, where impoverished communities and underserved populations fight for survival.
“The film’s concept has been brimming in me for about eight years,” said Bishop Eric Warren Davis, who is the film’s executive producer and stars as Pastor Kingsley, an elite Black clergy with ruling class privileges, who is ultimately faced with soul-searching decisions in the name of humanity. “After the Trayvon Martin deadly shooting, I found myself having discussions with interracial groups and saw the lack of empathy, even in rooms with multicultural pastors. That’s when the concept came to me to make a movie where there is a reversal of roles. I saw the film as a way to deliver a powerful message about racism.”
According to Davis, he created E.D. Legacy Films in Columbia, South Carolina. Last year, Davis and his film company partnered with writer/director/producer Tony Tite of Atlanta-based Global Star Media TV/Films. Tite wrote the movie script and served as the film’s director. The two men assembled a production crew out of Atlanta and an integrated cast of actors and actresses from Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The movie, said Davis, was shot in 21 days, wrapping up production in early March of 2020, just days before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the film from being shown in movie theaters, at the moment, “Negative Exposure” can be seen on Vimeo, an on-demand film/video hosting, sharing, and services platform. On Vimeo, the movie can be rented or purchased. However, Davis said talks are still on-going with national and international movie theaters to show the film.
“The feedback from the film has been very positive,” said Davis. “We expected some pushback because people are going to have their biases. Most people thought because the film was directed by a Black person that it was going to have an angry message. This movie has black and white points in it that had to be made but the ultimate message is loving one another and having empathy for one another. But there were some hard points made in the movie to get to those messages.”
Davis believes “Negative Exposure” is right for this moment in time, although racism has been around for centuries. And there are countless news stories of police brutality and other injustices against Black people at a rate too frequent to count. However, the tragic murders of Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd represent only a few Black lives that have been lost to the rages of racial and inhumane hatred. What has followed these fatal encounters have been mass protests, coast to coast.
“The reasons why there are so many protests across the country and the world is that people are tired of systems based on stereotypical perceptions that are not in step with a changing world and generations,” said Davis. “The world is crying out for ‘justice and change.’ It’s no longer classism or racism as usual, there has to be a clearer picture, and in ‘Negative Exposure’ we offer the opportunity to look at where we need to be moving as a society.”
Based on the film’s potent message, the movie has garnered the attention of The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). With its 700 members, the organization represents more than 50 million Americans across the country. NBCSL has adopted the J.A.Y.S.O.N. (Just as Your Son) Resolution, which is based on a concept from the movie. During the upcoming NBCSL 44th Virtual Annual Legislative Conference in late November into December, the group will screen the movie as part of a central discussion. The organization is targeting more than 100,000 young people to watch the film.
“Negative Exposure” is seen as a call to action in an effort to expedite legislation to transform policing into a model that is equitable and safe for all communities, specifically those inhabited by people of color,” said Davis. “We want to take audiences out of the dark into the light and joining forces with NBCSL to strengthen political advocacy in local communities is one way to accomplish this goal. This film stands as a beacon for social and racial reform!”
Ross Williams: ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape from Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America
*Ross Williams made it out, and then he wrote a book about it.
Growing up in New Orleans’ 7th Ward can be rife with challenges. The horror stories far exceed the successful ones. Ross’s journey is an exception, and an exceptional one.
Surrounded by a solid family with community values, Williams attended Tulane University where he studied sociology. He has gone on to become the author of two best-sellers within an eight-month span.
“Made It Out” is testimony not only to his journey, but also to the similarities of surviving the streets and corporate America. His follow-up book, “Crabs In A Barrel: War On Racism,” gives a different perspective on the phrase that focuses more on the barrel than on the crab.
Author is just one of Williams’ many hats. He is also CEO of Williams Commerce Writing Services, which aims to empower job seekers, authors and entrepreneurs.
Zenger News invited Williams for a Q&A session to learn more about his break-out book and journey of discovery.
Percy Crawford interviewed Ross Williams for Zenger News.
Zenger: How did you break the cycle, so to speak, and make it out of the 7th Ward in New Orleans?
Williams: Really learned as much as possible. So, really learning what cursed prior generations and trying to avoid those same things. A lot of that came from learning from my parents who were born in the 1940s, so a lot of my family members are older. So, I have a lot of old-school values. I had the chance to learn about life before my era… I was able to accumulate all of that and just learn from every lesson or loss that I had in life and just never settled.
Zenger: What was it like growing up there and seeing some of the things you experienced?
Williams: I had a sense of pride about my community. My mother’s side of the family has been part of the St. Bernard, 7th Ward community since it was established back in the 1930s and 40s. A lot of people talk about the downfall of the neighborhood. Of course, I discuss that in my first book, “Made It Out,” some of the things I experienced. But one of the big things my neighborhood helped with was just building a confidence about myself and my abilities. At first it was basketball and then it became a swag with everything I do. I believe that I can be the best at whatever I put my mind to.
Zenger: What made you decide to even write a book?
Williams: Really to help other people to make it out of situations that they encountered. At first when I was writing my book, it was kind of like making it out of the inner city. I felt my lessons were applicable to any environment that you can grow up in. Like I said, learning from mistakes, gravitating towards positive energy, and learning from your losses. I really just wanted to give people the blueprint because halfway through the book it became about making it out of corporate America and becoming an entrepreneur. As of right now, even just picking up from there, I’m trying to show the world that I’ve made it out since then. Since the book, I’m still making it out.
Zenger: You actually make parallels in the book about the similarities of making it out of the street life and making it through corporate America. As crazy as it sounds, there’s not very much separation, is there?
Williams: I think in society with social engineering, a lot of us feel that if we are a different race or different religion, society has taught us that the next person is very different from us. And we can’t see eye-to-eye just because we come from different worlds or experiences. Gangstas and crooked people growing up in inner cities are no different than white collar gangstas. White collar gangstas are actually more cutthroat because at least in the neighborhood you know who to look out for. In corporate America, a lot of people have ulterior motives, but they project friendly energy. It’s not really necessary. It’s not these people need me to get by like in the neighborhood. It’s just out of malice. That’s why I feel like it’s grimier in corporate America because of how it’s presented to you.
Zenger: It can be difficult to navigate that.
Williams: Right. And something that my neighborhood taught me, once I started communicating with people in higher level CEO positions or people that made in the upper six figures or north of that, just the intellect and growing the confidence once I interacted with these people, it’s like, “Oh, I can sit in these positions too.” A lot of times we are made to look at certain people as if they are superior to us, especially when we’re coming from inner cities. But we have the same abilities as those people. A lot of those people had easier routes to get there. That’s one thing of just gaining confidence along each step of your journey.
Zenger: Did you anticipate becoming a best-selling author and your books having the kind of impact that they have had?
Williams: Humbly speaking, my mom always told me, “Don’t step at all if you are going to half step.” So, I know the tears, the blood and sweat that I put into each project, or even a client’s book. I put that same energy towards everything. I’m very strategic and I move with a sense of urgency. I visualized the successes that I have had in my career so many times over and over, that all of the excitement is poured into the process each day. So, when it happens, I’m kind of militant about it, so I’m really not surprised. I really put my all into each thing and utilize my natural skillset. I haven’t been surprised so far.
(Edited by André Johnson and Judy Isacoff)
The post ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape From Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America appeared first on Zenger News.
‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ Star Tamara Smart Stops by / WATCH
*Halloween looks a little different this year for most. If you’re looking for something to get your kids in the spirit of Halloween, the new Netflix film, “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting“ is a good start.
The film stars Tamara Smart who plays Kelly Ferguson, a babysitter turned superhero. While she is babysitting the young boy she is watching after, he is abducted by the boogeyman, played by Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”). She (Kelly Ferguson) is approached by a secret society of monster-fighting babysitters that help her on her mission to rescue the young boy.
The film isn’t just about the spooky boogeyman and monsters but the movie also focuses on kids from different backgrounds coming together to help one another. Each member of the babysitters’ secret society has a special skill, skills that they could be made for having, or even bullied by others. We talked with Tamara about all the different elements of the movie.
“I love the fact that when Kelly meets with the babysitters, they all have these different strengths that when you put them together their invincible. I’m hoping that kids will each character to relater to in some way,” says Tamara.
Smart also talks about the weakness that her character has and how the film shows her growth, from being bullied to becoming confident in who she is and not being ashamed of the things that make her, her. While watching this movie may confirm most kid’s fears about the boogeyman, but most importantly like Tamara said, hopefully kids will see themselves in the characters and can help them overcome any doubts or fears they may have about themselves.
Grab the family and some popcorn, don’t forget the flashlight, and tune into Netflix to check out “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting.” It’s streaming now.
Actress Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson Talks New Movie ‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ / Video
*Netflix has a new original film streaming to kick off the Halloween season.
We mention that because most Americans are dealing with a new normal and going to haunted houses or going to the movies to see a new scary movie isn’t an option.
Enter “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” as an excellent option. On top of that, it is a good family-friendly film that everyone can enjoy at home.
In the film a young teenager, Kelly Ferguson, played by Tamara Smart, finds herself in a huge dilemma when the young boy she is caring for is kidnapped by the boogeyman.
She is approached by a secret society of babysitters who are dedicated to fighting monsters and the boogeyman. They all team up to help Kelly rescue the young boy. One of the babysitters, Berna, played by Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, is a genius. Which is good to see because it shows young girls it’s Ok to be a “nerd.”
Without the help of Berna, the group would have a very hard time trying to find the missing boy. We got a chance to talk to Troy about her character and the importance of seeing a young girl of color being a tech genius.
“I think now for there to be a film that’s about women supporting each other, a diverse group of women. I think that’s really important for young girls to see. Especially women of color who are intelligent and they’re not stereotypes,” says Johnson.
The babysitter’s society is mostly young girls and one boy and each one of them has a different strength. Kids watching this movie will get to see these kids from different backgrounds and different interests come together to help a person in need. The lure to watch of course is that it’s basically a scary movie, but there are also a lot of lessons that can be learned.
“A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” is streaming now on Netflix.
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