The Grace & Grit Speaker Series is a two-day virtual event that brings together inspiring talks from diverse women working in film and television. The speakers are a mix of industry veterans with over 20 years of experience, and young up-and-comers who have made incredible strides in the span of a few years. Based in Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta, each speaker covers a different craft in the business, including directing, cinematography, production design, casting and acting.
These women share wisdom learned from career struggles and speak truth to being underrepresented in entertainment. Amid COVID-19 and renewed calls for systemic change across all facets of American society, the arrival of Grace & Grit is timely, to say the least. As Hollywood’s future hangs in the balance, this series intends to empower and encourage women struggling to make it in Tinseltown, and those desiring to break in.
The Grace & Grit Speaker Series occurs on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. The event weekend is free to register, with an optional VIP upgrade.
ABOUT MORE MELANIN MEDIA
More Melanin Media was created to help women of color pursue thriving careers in entertainment. In the wake of ongoing dialogue surrounding representation and inclusivity, the current Hollywood landscape is still disappointingly homogeneous. The company continues to strive for media to reflect the world we live in by offering resources such as career coaching, online courses, digital guides and more.
From the Netflix site: The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
A film like the 13th is not always easy to watch. To see how Black history unfolds is unsettling. But we need to see it and we cannot deny it. We celebrate Director, Ava Duvernay for her brilliance and tenacity in creating this film. Her light shines bright and we appreciate her.
What are your initial reactions after watching the film?
The film discusses the power of the media in shaping people’s opinions and actions. For example, the use of the term ‘super predator’ in mass media resulted in an identity shift among people of color. Do you agree that media has a strong influence over the actions andopinions of society? What are some examples you can think from today?
What was the most surprising thing you learned from the film?
Did the film change any of your ideas about the prison system in America? Affirm any ideas you already had? If so, in what way?
Title cards in the film show the steep increase of the prison population from the mid to late 90’s until today. What was your reaction to these numbers?
The above questions were provided by Netflix.They have an entire discussion guide for students and parents to discuss their thoughts after watching the 13th film. It’s a history lesson that should not be missed.
As community activism continues to grow, justice for Breonna Taylor is heating up as well. Her Go Fund Me Page started by family member Bianca Austin raised over 5 million dollars in 5 days. The speed and amount of monies raised is a testimony to the power of the black dollar and activism. The Black community is outraged at how she died and how nothing has been done to bring justice for her death.
Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020 when police entered her home. The police exchanged fire with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker who was licensed to carry a firearm. Allegedly Walker fired first and hit a police officer. Breonna, 26-years-old at the time, was fatally shot. The Louisville Metro Police Department reportedly fired off 20 rounds into the apartment. Taylor was shot 8 times and at the time of her death Breonna was an emergency medical technician.
It’s been reported that none of the officers were wearing body cameras when they entered the residence. They were all dressed in plainclothes as they were allegedly plainclothes narcotics officers.
Walker did not die in the incident. Instead he faced criminal charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. However, in 911 calls released to the public Walker can be heard saying, “somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.” In late May all charges against Walker were dismissed.
Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the police alleging that the police officers entered her home without knocking or announcing they were police officers. In addition, the suit alleges the police opened fire with no regard for human life.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into Breonna’s death on May 21, 2020, the same day that Police Chief Steve Conrad who was previously handling the case announced his retirement. Furthermore, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer indefinitely suspended the use of “no knock” warrants. Breonna’s case surely influenced Fischer’s decision.
Family, we’ve cried too many tears, we’ve sang too many church songs, we’ve worn out our knees praying and not a thing has changed. So, with the help of some crew members, I’ve compiled numbers to call to fight for justice for George Floyd, to fight against police brutality. There are numbers to call in case of unlawful arrests while protesting, petitions to sign and action items. We are not taking this lying down anymore. It’s time for change. Use your cell phone and make some noise. And every time you can vote in an election, vote your conscience. Vote for what is going to help the Black community. Here’s your list of what you can do to fight police brutality and keep the heat on:
Call DA Mike Freeman in Minnesota (612.348.5550) and demand prosecution for:
Derek Chauvin (Badge #1087) and Tou Thoa (Badet #7162)
Text FLOYD to 55-156; Text JUSTICE to 66-8336; Text ENOUGH to 55-165
Leave a message for Louisville Mayor and demand justice for Breonna Taylor. The Mayor’s number is 502.574.2003.
Numbers to Call in case of unlawful arrests at protests:
Register to vote and vote in every election. People often think the presidential election is the most important one, but the president doesn’t change laws the other legislators do. That’s why we need to vote in smaller elections.
When possible, don’t travel alone. We need witnesses. Too many of these incidents have happened when Black people have been by themselves. Try to travel in pairs at least.
Record everything. Everything. How many of these tragedies would we have missed if it weren’t for some person recording? Everybody has a responsibility to our community to record everything.
Get a Dash Camera for your vehicle. Yes, we need those because people will take your phone.
Have a burner phone that has a camera—for backup recording. Keep this burner in your glove box or the arm rest and turn it on to record if you get stopped by police.
Support activists and organizations helping our community. We were particularly impressed with Tamika D. Mallory. We wanna support what she’s doing. People with boots on the ground need our support.
Donate monies to justice organizations working with people who need legal fees paid and for people who have been wrongly convicted. We like the Innocence Project. There is much work to be done.
Here are a few dash cameras rated on Amazon. Dash cameras record a stop from inside your vehicle. Many of them come with their own memory cards. It’s just another way to record what happens to us. If you purchase the dash camera through our link, we’ll get a small commission. The price for you won’t change, but it’ll help us with our work over here so we thank you in advance.