Just being an actor is and never will be enough for me. As artists, we have a profound effect on the world we live in. With that being said, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the screening of: “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” along with some great actors I have the pleasure to work with. The day prior to the event, I posted on my facebook page a picture of the late Emmett Till, in his coffin as a way to commerate his life. August 28th marking the anniversary of his murder that sparked a revolution.
Emmett may have been 57 years ago, but today we are continually facing modern day versions of Emmett Till’s around the country and the world.(Trayvon Martin) My Facebook post sparked a heated debate that led to the reveal of some ignorance and arrogance from “friends” that I could not believe. Needless to say they are not my FB friends any longer. See the heated debate here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=782910529484&set=a.751691063544.2102669.62305989&type=1&theater
Although I knew about Emmett Till, I hadn’t seen this documentary before and was moved to tears. I thank Erin Cherry for putting together this event and having Keith in the room to speak with us. I was so inspired by Keith Beauchamp’s story and his journey in making this film.
Beauchamp founded Till Freedom Come Productions in 1999. A company devoted to socially significant projects that can both teach and entertain. He spent 11 years pursuing justice for Emmett and in 2004 the US Department of Justice re-opened this cold case. Keith’s documentary was a huge influence in this decision to take another look into the tragic events in Money, Mississippi in 1955. As Keith spoke to us, you could see and hear the passion behind this movement to spark change through his film making. He currently has a show, “Investigation Discovery- The Injustice Files” which follows other unsolved cold cases.
During the talk back Keith said, “you can look at the condition of the people by the art they produce.” I really sat with this one. The conversations that this film sparked in this room of artists was just what we need. I thank Keith for being a champion and creating art that continues to ignite this dialogue. He also told us, “Surround yourself with powerful people,” as he introduced one of Malcolm X’s advisors who now advises him, Dr. Lez Edmond !
Nights like these, meeting and building with incredible artists/educators who are making a difference are always what makes being on this planet all the better. I thank my powerful cast mates who were there with me. I leave you with this:
“I want to remind us all that the world is listening, all the time. How we are ripples out from us into the world and affects others. We have a responsibility – an ability to respond – to the world. Finding our particular way of living this responsibility, of offering who we are to the world, is why we are here. We are called because the world needs us to embody the meaning in our lives. God needs us awake. The world we live in is a co-creation, a manifestation of individual consciousness woven into a collective dream. How we are with each other as individuals, as groups, as nations and tribes, is what shapes that dream.”
– Oriah Mountain Dreamer