#Blackmendream is a short film created by the Philadelphia based artist Shikeith. It features nine different men, all of whom are filmed facing away from the camera and several of whom are either shirtless or naked, giving a certain sense of vulnerability. And ultimately emotional vulnerability is a large part of what the film is about. The participants are asked different questions like what makes you happy? Or what is a recurring nightmare you have?
The project is meant to deal with some of the misconceptions surrounding black men in America by presenting a more humanizing narrative about them. In an interview with NPR, Shikeith said the project began after a Facebook post in which he asked “What do black men run from?” The answers he received were things steeped in racial bias, like “the cops” or “child support”. This prompted him to start work on a film meant to counter a lot of the assumptions surrounding black men, a topic much of his work is about, and attempt to create a more human narrative around them.
The film has a 45 minute run time (certainly making it longer than most of the other short films I’ve posted here), but I think it’s well worth your time to watch, especially in light of recent events. If nothing else, I think the conversation surrounding the events in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland have shown me that we could all use a little more empathy. And projects like this are a great stride in that direction.