Reach Out to Your Family and Friends

Writer-Director Roger Lee Edwards comments:

This film grew out of my concern for the unity and well-being of the African-American community. Several years ago I read a poem by African-American poet Langston Hughes entitled "My People." This poem evokes a deep sense of pride in being black. It prompted me to examine my own identity and cultural pride. I reflected on the many strong messages and emotional calls I received as a youth to have black pride, to embrace our roots, and to support each other in the face of the common Jim Crow threat.

Certainly, growing up in the southern United States, I've heard my share of negative racial remarks and stereotypes. The disturbing part was that I heard such expressions more often from other blacks than from those outside the race. For a long time, unable to harmonize this, I just brushed my dissonance aside until it surfaced again. Langston Hughes brought to mind conversations I've had over the years with other black men and women (from many different backgrounds) in which we would playfully exchange self-mocking and disowning remarks. Usually containing the expression "… your people…" these remarks were most often used when referring to negative or embarrassing behavior/attitudes of our brothers and sisters.

Whether these remarks were playful or serious, they often left me wondering …

  • Does this type of self-mockery have a long-term negative impact?
  • Should we do something about it?
  • Is there anything that can be done about it?
What people are saying

This is my expression of these ideas and this experience. It's a short film that I hope you will look at, think about, and show to your family and friends.

Reach Out to Others: Community Screenings of Trouble in the Water

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From the beginning, we crafted this film to be a media tool - supporting the work of grassroots community organizations, educational institutions, churches, and individuals that are working with youth and addressing this and related issues. After you've seen the film, we hope you will be moved to reach out to your community, your neighborhood, your church

We are actively seeking to bring the film to community groups of all kinds around the country: Please get in touch.


some of the fun