The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) emailed us about doing a video early on in the semester. We gladly jumped on the project and couldn't wait to get started. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into with this one. Full day long interviews and hunting for b-roll (extra footage) on our Fridays was how we spent most of our weekends while shooting this film but we also got Emarjay Quality Time Lol.
The purpose of this film was to enlighten it's viewers about how Willie Lynch predicted 299 year ago blacks would separate themselves according to their skin color and slavery would continue for 300 years. Obviously slavery has been abolished but the mindset of blacks all over America have been slow to change.
We wanted to catch the audiences attention in the beginning of the documentary by re-enacting the Willie Lynch speech. We had him read some key phrases from the speech in a thick, deep, southern, Virginian accent. He did a great job and it was very moving for us to hear those words being spoken in the way they were said almost 300 years ago. The actor will remain nameless.
Hunting for locations and hanging the camera out the car window was the best part of shooting this video. We shot some interviews in the IBC's library, the Rietz Union, The Set and the African Studies "floor".
Sidenote: Originally, we thought African Studies
was a building, not way up on the 4th floor of Grinter Hall.
We had always heard people refer to is
as the African Studies building.
So if you didn't know now you know...
you. are. welcome.
The students dressed professionally and were told to answer the questions with genuine answers. One of the interviews was a little too genuine... brotha used the "N" word. Lol. All of us have had experience in recording interviews but we learned so much more from each other by working together. Shaniqua is currently taking a lighting class and was able to coach us on how to light our sets. Rashandra and Ashley rode around campus capturing "b-roll" for the documentary's aesthetics.
The faculty member that we used for the documentary agreed to do it after we invited ourselves into her office one thursday afternoon. When we initially asked her if she had any insight on "colorism in America" she gave us a hard "no" but followed up with "I have witnessed colorism in other parts of the world" we ran and got the camera equipment and let her talk. She did a great job and we were very thankful for her interview.
Thanks NSBE aired SHADES at the SHADES forum during their Fall NSBE week.