THE WRITING OF BLACK AUGUST
About the project
"The Writing of Black August" is a docu-series that explores issues surrounding the defunding of the police and the abolitionist movements. The project consists of facilitated discussions with law enforcement, criminal justice reform advocates, revolutionary activists, veterans of vanguard formations and police abolitionist organizations.
These conversations will be edited into the docu-series and serve as preparation for writing a fictional pilot “Black August,” which tells the story of Nzinga Clemente, a young black nationalist graduate student who is elected to an NYPD community liaison committee after exposing the violent crimes of dangerous cops on her block. Nzinga gets the opportunity to test her academic beliefs in the real world as she leads a multi-racial board of community members, activists and law enforcement personnel who are collectively tasked with overseeing the “defunding” of their police department. She quickly discovers she will need much more than revolutionary concepts and liberatory pedagogy to create lasting social change. Sooner or later, she will need to learn to work with white people.
The docuseries will lay the foundation for the fictional show and be the means by which we explore the opinions of others who are politically opposed to or have different interpretations of what it means to defund the police. By engaging in facilitated, respectful and honest debates around reimagining the institutions that protect our communities we hope to better understand the multitude of character perspectives in our show whose views might differ from ours.
We will take our audience on a journey of discovery in which we break out of the tunnel vision imposed upon us by our google algorithm and hear from others with different perspectives. We also hope to expose our communities to the best and brightest minds who are tackling the issues of state sanctioned violence from dedicated police reformists to passionate abolitionists organizers, so that the audience can better understand the complexity of the issues at hand and participate in the restructuring of our broken criminal justice institution. Our goal is to contextualize, analyze and explore the issues of police brutality in a safe and creative container, so that we as writers can better understand the world that will surround the fictional show. In short, we are doing our homework. Educating ourselves and inviting the community to shape that education and weigh in on how they want to see the issues reflected on screen.
Spiritchild is a freedom singer from the South Bronx by way of Staten Island. spiritchild uses the arts to cultivate a cultural revolution throughout the world, from the United States to Europe, from Africa to South East Asia. This artist’s eclectic and experimental fusion of true school Hip Hop, funk, electronica and jazz continues to break the boundaries of the music scene. As spiritchild channels the frequencies of J Dilla having tea with Sun Ra, painting the silhouettes of Nina Simone remixing El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz also known as Malcolm X, no one shares the time and the space without being moved in body, mind, heart and soul. spiritchild integrates revolution and Hip Hop music throughout all his endeavors, as a musician, DJ/ soul selector, producer, facilitator and mentor for youth, cofounder along with Fred Ho of a new black arts movement, organizer and founder of the International Movement In Motion Artist & Activist Collective, Vice President of the Universal Zulu Nation's Brooklyn Territory (UZN Chapter 9 -Noble 9 Zuluz). All these experiences and connections are the seeds that are growing into the maroon party for liberation, connected to and building upon the legacy of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. The party's main purpose is to conduct a liberation school for revolutionary praxis across borders and beyond walls.
We are creative duo that first came together to start the Movement in Motion artists collective in 2001, an art-based activist group that used creative expression to protest the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The collective continues its work today under the name of the maroon party for liberation which umbrellas a new black arts movement, urban art beat, commusaic, xspiritmental and various formations utilizing culture for social change.
Jessica Habie is a founder of Here She Comes Productions and the creator and director of Here She Comes. An award winning filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica founded the non-profit Eyes Infinite Films in 2003. She is the director of the feature film Mars at Sunrise (2014), starring Golden Globe winning Actor Ali Suliman, and the short film Mandatory Service (2008), which won Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival and was featured at the Cannes Short Film Festival. Mars at Sunrise won several awards, including best soundtrack at the East End Film Festival in London, and Best Actor at the Alexandria Film Festival, and continues to screen around the world. Jessica graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and holds a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Creativity from the California Institute for Integral Studies.