Sankofa.org, social justice organisation founded by famous actor, musician and activist Harry Belafonte, has created a film titled “17”, that quickly gained a lot of attention and respect from critics and human rights activists. The short movie uncovers multiple cases of racial persecution and demonstrates how stereotypes changes our common perception.

 

Based of real facts

The title “17” refers to the story of Trayvon Martin, who was shot in his heighborhood several years ago. The contribution of co-director Gerard Bush and contemporary musicians Elijah Blake, Raphael Saadiq, Ty Dolla $ign and Mali Music made the film powerful, straightforward and emotional. As Bush explained: “’ “17” demands your attention for almost 20 minutes – that is a commitment in time, yes, but in its wake you’re left pondering a good many questions about one’s own personal perceptions, when it comes to the issue of race and culture”.  Although the main film hero is a Jacobi Nelson, fictional character inspired by the case of Martin, it draws the complete picture of inequality that remains in our society.

To concur with the Visual EP’s release, Sankofa and music streaming source TIDAL have settled the social campaign #IAM17 that inspires people in the Web to share thair private stories about their life at 17. From the music perspective, the film also mentions the growing role of artists and other entertainers in protests movement. Indeed, music bands make a significant impact in fighting for justice: from punks to rappers, actists are those people who subtly feel and react on everything around. Their way of understanding reality is fully transformed into songs, and that’s why “17” directors introduce them. “The prism through which we experience each other dictates too often how we treat one another and for far too many young black kids, that perception, that prism of racial bias, can prove deadly”, – says Bush.

 

The future vision

By engaging famous people into the project, Sankofa is intended to go globally: it’s prime strategy is to become a platform that gives opportunities  and support to beginner writers, hopeful young artists and directors to master their skills and, through their work, drag public into steady social changes and connect with those who cares. The first art, music and justice festival “Many Rivers To Cross” was staged in Atlanta last year, which became a good starting point for the future success. Belafonte himself highly values the artists partisipation in social deals and confrontation: “Their work is grounded in mission. We have a shared goal of using the gift of art to communicate a message. An entertainer means to distract, an artist means to inform.” “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth”, – he adds.

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