when sean bell was murdered by undercover nyc police officers nearly two years ago on what would have been his wedding day, the powers that be dismissed the entire incident and explained it away by blaming the victim. and just as in the amadou diallo case in 1999 wherein four cops opened fire simultaneously and emptied their guns on a stuttering african that spoke little or no english, all of the police officers were acquitted. there have been many more senseless killings, acts of aggression and the like but these two cases stood out for me because they seemed especially savage.
and yes -- i know that there are white people in this country who are convinced that they aren't at some sort of an advantage because of their race, but i don't hear tell of any of them getting shot at 41 times by cops just because they reached for their housekeys. if you are black, these streets are more than just dangerous. and if you are black and male, they can easily become a slaughterhouse.
once i got past my anger about all of this, i realized how frustrated i was. i wanted to do something, anything. write a song, maybe. make art.
a few days ago, i get a call from ed durante. he and a collective of filmmakers have formed the sean bell film project to (according to their press release) "create cinematic arts events that produce unique and nontraditional media coverage for human rights issues." brilliant idea. before he could tell me all the details, i said yes.
we're going to be shooting this weekend at the very location where the incident took place -- in front of the club kalua. each director in the collective will do a short of their own. ed wants to do a blip from hamlet, two very short male/female monologues. looking over the script makes me glad that i did that shakespearean workshop earlier this summer and warmed up to iambic pentameter all over again.
this is the way it happens -- you come up with great ideas and you find ways to execute them. all of a sudden, i'm a lot more hopeful and little less frustrated.