The murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, Minn. sent shock waves throughout the world and especially into the hearts of several mothers of African American men and boys. Unnecessary tragedies where African Americans die as a result of hate crimes or police brutality have become so familiar, including the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, that people of all colors and backgrounds are starting to stand up and call for an end to the mortal violence.
“When I heard the news about Floyd, I thought again – that could have been my son,” said Rosalind “Bee” Harris, publisher of Denver Urban Spectrum who reached out to friends to help her create the “I have a Black son” video.
The 30-second and 45-second video portrays mothers of Black sons who are afraid for their lives every day as they maneuver through an American society that still holds on to racism. While holding a picture of their sons, the 21 mothers in the video proclaim their bonds to sons and grandsons.
“We all want change in the system and felt this was a way to do our part, as mothers, in solidarity,” said actor/director Candy Brown. And videographer Cecile Perrin admitted, “My sons are young now but I worry about what this world is going to be like as they grow into manhood.”
“We decided it was important to keep a heartbeat throughout the video. Its symbolism includes the pounding of a mother’s heart from an unexpected 3 a.m. phone call, the shock of knowing that a son has died, and the last rhythmic pulse of life before a son takes his last breath,” said filmmaker Tanya Ishikawa. “The flashing red represents a police car and ambulance lights, the throbbing physical sensation of rage, and the blood that is shed.”
The goal of the video is to remind the public of the loss to families and communities by these criminal actions and encourage everyone to get educated and take action, such as registering to vote, voting, and urging lawmakers to hold police and murderers accountable.
The video ends with calls to action as well as a cry for help: “We can’t breathe,” just like the words voiced by Floyd as he lay dying.
“Throughout history, women couldn’t breathe when their babies and husbands were taken away. Women couldn’t breathe when they were beaten and raped, and when they were sold into slavery. Today, women still can’t breathe. It’s been 400 years of oppression and painful experiences for African Americans, and it’s time for change. As mothers, we just want to share our message so that all of us but especially our children can breathe a little easier,” said Harris.
The video is available on Denver Urban Spectrum’s YouTube channel, the DUS Website, Facebook, and other social media channels and can be seen by clicking here, 30-second version: https://youtu.be/P3UO9y-n6Yc; 45 seconds: https://youtu.be/nC8LwZSh08Q
The video will also be included in Denver Urban Spectrum’s USNow! June 2020 webcast which will premiere on June 14 at 4 p.m. on Denver Urban Spectrum’s YouTube channel, the DUS Website, Facebook, and other social media channels. This broadcast will feature a panel of individuals from the music industry and media who will talk about how COVID-19 is affecting people in their professions.
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