Summer days are melting away and I am coming to a semi-peace with the fact that, for this season, sleep and I have become distant friends. That's cool, for now, because rest hasn't been sacrificed due to idleness.
Though I have a dreamer's long to-do list, I'm satisfied that I've been able to put a check next to a few tasks. I'm especially glad that, after spending four years in the audience, I finally volunteered for this year's Roxbury Film Festival.
I not only saw several great films, that reinforced and slightly altered a few of my perspectives, but I also took part in a resourceful convo that has me 90% sure a master's degree in education is one of my future journeys.But I'm learning, from many past experiences, that while we make plans, God simply laughs. So I'm trying my hardest to leave all in the hands of the Most High and praying that we're on the same page.
The one thing I regret is not seeing the much talked about "Street Soldiers". Unfortunately, it was showing during the festival's last shift, we were severely shorthanded and hundreds of ballots needed to be counted.
About fifteen minutes into the documentary, as a fellow volunteer and I tallied, a woman exited the auditorium and walked out the front door without so much of a glance or word thrown towards our table. A few minutes later another woman did the same thing, leaving the building as if she was deeply offended. My curiosity finally got the best of me when a sister, I remember being pretty chatty when I sold her tickets earlier, also entered the lobby and prepared to leave.
I asked if something was wrong and the sister responded that the film was far "too bleak". She tried to convince herself to sit through it but instead decided after twenty minutes that she had to go. I knew that the documentary was on the emotional issue of the city's growing youth violence but I still didn't get it.
I asked her if she felt that the director could have done anything more to make the film better, in her eyes. She stated that he should have added an element to "Street Soldiers" that at least gave the audience a small bit of hope that the condition in our streets would improve. Frustrated and with her mind made up, the sister repeated that the film was too bleak and told us that she understood that the lives portrayed in the film were someone's reality, but just not hers. She declared that it was a bright, sunny day and she'd rather be out riding her bike
To the white teenager in Byron Hurt's "Beyond Beats and Rhymes: Masculinity in Hip-Hop", profiling in his dad's shiny Escalade bumping Fabolous' "Keeping it Gangsta" during BET's Daytona Spring Bling, and the sister cycling on a summer day through the same Boston streets where countless young lives have been lost: it's everything but the burden, right?
Sister, was it discomfort that truly caused you to leave? Are having the realities of Boston's youth come straight from the source, instead of an emotionally-detached newscaster, far past your comfort zone? It seems like you're looking for the hope of fairytales when "Street Soldiers" deals with real life.
To the brother who, during the Q&A, asked the director of "Kilombo Novo" how the teachings of the ancient Afro-Brazilian martial art form could be implanted into our schools, so that more youth could learn about life and peace: I see you.
I see your question's urgency and how it was thrown out there for the educators, decision-makers and parents in the audience, purposely putting the weight of necessary action on their shoulders. Brother, you understand that we are in a state of emergency and advantage must be taken of any moment we happen to come together, even if it is for entertainment.
At the conclusion of "Street Soldiers" a woman dropped her ballot in my box, after giving the documentary the highest score possible. She expressed that the language in the film was strong but as a mother of a 21-year-old Black male, who she calls every night to hear his voice and make sure he's more than alright, nothing could have made her leave her seat.
I shared with her the opinions of the woman who left earlier and she simply shook her head. She knows that "no one is going to save Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan but Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan."