Samantha Carter- Welcome to Oakland Oscar Grant

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Project: My project took multiple shapes and forms and I think has transformed into a project that I would actually like to continue working on. Initially, I wanted to highlight the subtext of The Boondocks, a black anime animation that used to air on Adult Swim. Aaron McGruder uses his main characters in a constant underlying narrative about the civil rights movement and the black power movement. I actually did an entire video where I mixed together footage from the boondocks series with old footage of interviews with Huey Newton. I watched several youtube documentaries about the black panthers in search of appropriate footage and comparisons between the show and these two movements. In the process, I discovered the real source of my interest. 

I am interested in exploring the history of the city that I come from, Oakland, CA. This is the home of the black panther party and The Bay Area more general has been home to many revolutionary organizations. I want to explore Oakland in particular as a city that has been the birthplace of many "radical" ideas in the black community. As I move forward, I want to revisit the actual sights of these historic moments, take pictures and footage. Then interview former members of the party still in the city about their participation in the organization and how they now conceptualize black power. In addition, I would then interview current youth in Oakland about their knowledge of the history of Oakland and how they now conceptualize black power. Essentially, what mark have these movements left on the city and it's inhabitants?

In the video I created I narrowed my footage down to three subject areas: Dave Chappelle (known foreign experience of Oakland), Bobby Seale (Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party) talking about the Panther stance on police presence in their community, and footage telling the Oscar Grant story (a black man recently shot by security officials in the Bay Area). 

Process: I used iMovie to produce my project. Most of the work was in narrowing my topic and footage. There were so many videos to choose from! It became difficult to stay focused and find a story that I wanted to tell (as I starting scrapping pieces together I found myself wanting to tell multiple stories). First I took several clips from youtube about Oakland. Initially I had clips that spoke about Oakland from multiple perspectives: News reports, tourist videos, music videos, rap artists, former black panthers, old footage of founders, etc. 

But in trying to come up with a coherent narrative, almost all the footage that I had found ended up being discarded (along with the initial project idea). While in the beginning I thought it would be cool to see all these perspectives of Oakland in one video, I started to feel as though that was overwhelming. I also found that in searching videos of Oakland, MANY videos of police brutality (in different contexts) come up. So that ended up being the focus of the project, because I think that this issue may be key in nurturing a more radical spirit in Oakland California. 

 

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