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Students from Ravensbourne University London collaborated with creative students from New York to create a poignant short film on microaggressions. The creative exchange was facilitated by an Obama Foundation initiative and gave students of colour a powerful opportunity to share their experiences. The short film premieres on Youtube on Friday 28 May 2021 at 7.00pm.
In late 2017, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK) became an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Within the Obama Foundation, MBK Alliance focuses on building ‘safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of colour where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.’ MBK Alliance was made in memory of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was murdered as he walked through his neighbourhood.
Lawrence Lartey, the Creative Director of the CreativeLab Agency at Ravensbourne created a live brief alongside John Glasgow. John is the Founder and Executive Creative Director of brand agency Vault49, who ‘think like entrepreneurs and experiment like artists’, to create outstanding brand experiences.
The MBK Alliance project celebrates students that are the first in their family to go to university and gives them the opportunity to work with exceptional students and professionals. The students enjoyed focus groups and guidance from a number of experts to realise their vision.
Nine students were asked to create a short film that would distil the impact of the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. They were asked to communicate how discrimination impacts their daily life, and permeates both the UK and the US. The Ravensbourne students all studied BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Design and formed the collective 'Nuff Said' in 2019. Last year, they were shortlisted for a prestigious D&AD award in the Side hustle category.
The students shared that they felt they were living through the second civil rights movement and wanted to play a part in genuine change. The students called their short film ‘Is it because’ and explored the microaggressions that people of colour encounter in daily life. The covid-secure shoot began in London with Ravensbourne students and was then handed over to students in New York to continue filming there. This was the first virtual exchange with meetings and brainstorms taking place online.
Lawrence Lartey commented, “It has been extraordinary to see our students collaborate and recognise similar experiences in both London and New York. We’re guiding the next generation of leaders who can use their creativity to transform society. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, the students were passionate and dedicated in creating something meaningful. We’re so proud of what they achieved. They perfectly captured the Obama Foundation call to meet anguish with action.”
The students were invited to share their short film at a virtual premiere. Michael D. Smith, Executive Director, MBK Alliance commented, “Allow me to extend greetings and gratitude on behalf of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Thank you for coming together as a collective, to not only make change in your neighbourhood, in your city, in your country but all across the world.”
You can join a virtual screening of 'Is it because' on Friday 28 May 2021 at 2.00pm EST/7.00pm GMT.
You can follow 'Nuff Said' and keep up to date with their journey on instagram.
‘Is it because’ Full credits
Written by Kemi Anna Adeeko and Adefela OlowoseluSpoken by Kemi Anna Adeeko and David Armah
London TeamNUFF SAIDDirector - Lisa HooperCo-Director - Kemi Anna AdeekoProducer - Maisie AngelaDOP - Paul IfeneziucheProject Manager - Maureen VasquezBTS Camera Operator - Georgia ArmstrongScreenwriter - Isaac IzekorLocation Manager - Lisa HooperCasting Director - Maisie AngelaStylist - Kemi Anna AdeekoEditor - Paul IfeneziucheColour Grade - Kemi Anna Adeeko
CASTLondon lead female - Jae LivelyPedestrian crossing the road - Carmen TahtahPedestrian at bus stop - Lance BautistaWorker Clutching bag in Elevator - Leyla SitkiCo-worker 1 - Adila NasrinCo-worker 2 - Kristine KokinaCo-worker 3 - Jak McKinley GoodCo-worker 4 - Sara AcheampongManager - Lucas FaliWoman touching hair - Adila NasrinSecurity Guard - Daniel Wheatcroft
New York TeamNEO SOCIETYDirector - Matt KennyCo-Director - David ArmahProducer - Deandre BrownCo-Producer - David ArmahVideographer - Matt KennyCamera Operator - Royston PhippsBTS Camera Operator - Younis Alzubeiri Location Manager - Deandre BrownCasting Director - David ArmahStylist - Malik Yancey
CASTNew York lead male - David Armah Pedestrian crossing the road - Hayley YorkPedestrian on subway 1 - Michael MitchellPedestrian on subway 2 - Nathaniel RamirezPedestrian on subway 3 - Nayamelle GomezPedestrian on subway 4 - Celeste FavorsWorker Clutching bag in Elevator - Kacey D’AmbrosioCo-worker 1 - Helena FisherCo-worker 2 - Zaria AbernathyCo-worker 3 - Mfalme MashairiCo-worker 3 - Deandre BrownManager - Younis Alzubeiri Man touching hair - Leonardo GenerosoSecurity Guard - Blake Sortino
Ravensbourne University London
6 Penrose Way
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