Louis Massiah, Filmmaker and Director at Scribe Video Center.
What I would hope we would aspire to is to confront systems and structures that disempower us. Our focus should be on social, governmental and economic systems that deny and diminish the humanity of a population. But as importantly, we should look for ways to organize ourselves, with the understanding that improving the ways that we relate to each other is an act of empowerment.
I would hope that we reform what can be reformed, revolt when needed, and create new systems that share power and allow each person to be fulfilled and reach their potential.
There have been many practitioners and activists that have worked to change systems. People like W. E. B. Du Bois, who saw that through systematic study and the gathering of empirical evidence, we could lay the groundwork for action that people of color could use to reach their fullest possibility. Du Bois did it as a sociologist, writer, journalist and on-the-ground activist.
Media can play a role in movement. We are reminded of this as we witness new technologies and media being used in emancipatory and democratizing struggles. For example, contemporary mobilizations like the Black Lives Matter movement use social media as a tool to organize and advocate. But the tradition of using the accessible media is as old as struggle, as old as humankind – the drum, story, glyphs, papyrus. Digital media tools are a prime creative tool to explore our time, analyze our own communities and present a vision of how to go forward.
It is enormously empowering when ordinary people can articulate their issues and their visions, share it amongst themselves and with the broader society. If all of us in society, of all classes, ages have the same access to the tools of communication and also the skills to talk to each other, that’s an empowerment that helps strengthen democratic discourse.
Although our economic system relegates the arts and culture as the marketable commodity of entertainment, it’s much bigger than that. Culture is how we organize ourselves, relate to each other and share information with each other. Cultural activists, from poets to musicians to filmmakers, have challenged systems and have created new visions for society. They’ve tried to analyze the past as well as to provide new visions for the future.
Louis' Revolutionary Picks:
There have been many practitioners and activists that have worked to change systems.W. E. B. Du Bois saw that through systematic study and the gathering of empirical evidence, we could lay the groundwork for action that people of color could use to reach their fullest possibility. Du Bois did it as a sociologist, writer, journalist and on-the-ground activist.