Growing up in the United States taught both Imani Ballard and Kayshon Paris one thing – the way you look not only shapes society’s assumptions of your worth, life outcome, and position in society, but it also creates realms of community which often enable individuals throughout the nation to possess both shared experiences and similar upbringings. These unifying relationships, however, were and continue to be grossly influenced by mainstream media. Circulating narratives of Black America all too often focus on the perceived inabilities and failures in the community rather than creating a platform to incite beneficial change. In this age of Trump and white supremacy, examples of discord and systemic violence habitually weigh down on the mindset of many communities of color within the United States and abroad.
Exhausted from this overt negativity, Imani Ballard and Kayshon Paris, young adults from Newark, New Jersey, decided to create PASSAGES, a video series focused on connecting and amplifying a global community of color by reclaiming their own narrative of experiences and redetermining what it means to be young Black Americans from the “inner city”. Named PASSAGES as a “way of commemorating the immense expression of strength and perseverance in the face of utmost adversity during The Middle Passage”, this video series will follow the pair as they discover life beyond the States.
…in America we’re black first and then Americans, here we’re Americans first and then black.