Premiere: Gorgeous: A Visual Poem reminds us that the fight for racial equality is more than just a trend

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Jamie Addison. // Screenshot from Gorgeous: A Visual Poem Youtube video

Gorgeous: A Visual Poem presented by Njenga Films is something everyone needs to watch to remind themselves of the racial injustices still taking place in America, and how all of the changes promised to made have still gone unanswered.

With a backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement that shook the nation last summer, the poem faces the hypocritical meaning of freedom in America and systemic racism. Writers Ryan Njenga, a KC native, and Vance Malekani point out in each verse the ways in which America continues to double back on its promises for racial equality and promotes violence, despite the fact that arrests have never been more deadly.

By calling out the flaws of the American system and saying that our democracy “thrives off of racism”—something that could not be more evident after the past year and a half—this visual poem speaks the truth that so many Americans need to hear. It makes the audience think about all of the ways that the system originally put in place hundreds of years ago is still the one that exists today, we’ve only covered up the systemic inequality with false promises of a better future.

“As things have ‘returned back to normal’ this past year, I found myself just as frustrated with the world as I was the year before,” Ryan says. “With a new face in the office and the pandemic finally ‘over’, people have seemed to come under the belief that everything is okay. That things could never go back to the way they were, so why change? I personally don’t believe that’s right at all. I could go on, but this film—something we made from the hear—will speak those beliefs louder than any caption ever could.”

Gorgeous: A Visual Poem voices the issues with America that so many Black people living here have. It shows just how circumstantial the freedom we’re promised is by listing the multitudes of privileges snatched away by systemic racism. For too long we have let this happen, but now more than ever is the time to take a stand, even though standing for racial equality is no longer seen as “trendy.” Watching this poem is the first step in that direction.

“I hope this film serves as a small reminder of the work that needs to be continued if we ever want to see real change in this country,” Ryan says. “Most importantly though, it’s a love letter to black people. Our beauty, our struggle, and our continuous strive to prosper in the face of everything they throw at us.”

Categories: Culture