November 7, 2016

Watch: Ava DuVernay Produced This Stunning Short Film for Common

Black America Again, a poetic short starring Common, features gorgeous black-and-white cinematic portraiture.

At the New York Film Festival opening party this year, Common gave a surprise performance in honor of Ava DuVernay's 13th. Now, DuVernay has produced a short film, directed by Selma cinematographer Bradford Young, to commemorate Common's new album, Black America Again, which dropped last Friday.

Shot in effervescent black-and-white, the 21-minute short boasts luminous moving portraits of African Americans against dark backgrounds, interspersed with documentary-style scenes from the streets, where women sing at a memorial for Freddie Gray and children get inspired to learn. At length, the film cuts to Common rapping in an empty street: "We slaves to the blocks/On 'em we spray shots/Leaving our own to lay in a box." 

According to Common, the short film is a "meditation" on his album's themes, including the Black Lives Matter movement. It's a powerful tribute to—and bid for—solidarity within and without communities of color in America.      

Your Comment

6 Comments

Common, nobody cares about black lives. I'm sorry but nothing's gonna change. We've been trying to change this for more than half a century and nothing changes. White people will always hate black people, and I'm a white person myself who is tired of that hate. We might as well stop trying and get used to it. It is what it is.

November 8, 2016 at 5:03AM, Edited November 8, 5:04AM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
483

I really hope No Film School deletes your comment. Just wow...

November 8, 2016 at 10:25AM, Edited November 8, 10:50AM

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I appreciate this comment.
1) It's how "we" feel anyway.
2) Only truths like this will ignite real and valuable conversation in our country.

If it does get deleted, I think that says more and will subsequently imply an uncomfortable truth to the statement.

November 8, 2016 at 1:09PM, Edited November 8, 1:12PM

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Your being tired of hearing about these issues is one thing...but telling someone to stop talking about it is another. Common is talking about the latter.

November 8, 2016 at 4:55PM

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Neville E. Shaw
Visual Content Creator
81

Henry Barnill you're not tired of hearing black lives matter, you are really burning inside whenever you see video such as this one reminding you of what your people did to my people...like you've said "white people hate blacks" so it's only right blacks keep reminding whites about themselves through videos such as this one.... like the end of "Dr Strange" when he replay the end over and over again till the dark side give in and back away....News flash, American Indians are working on their "Indain Lives/Land matters...... Get use to the videos

November 9, 2016 at 10:00PM

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Alvin Nyemah
Director, DP & Editing (Filmmaker)
261

My people didn't do anything to your people, you entitled moron. My parents were Italian immigrants and they had a difficult time adapting to the US and Americans who didn't accept them. Go to hell if you think all white people are bad. I'm just tired that nothing changes. Do I want police brutality to stop? Yes but it won't. No matter what happens. Screw you and your entitled ass.

November 10, 2016 at 12:08PM, Edited November 10, 12:08PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
483

You say you're are tired and want change, that's great. But publicly expressing cynicism and outright hate or dismissal is in direct conflict with what you claim.
These are, of course your choices, but I'd ask you to consider the flood gates of intolerance that is currently being promoted in our county, as if we have license to say anything that comes to mind without any regard to the infectious qualities these ideas contain.

We're all pissed off in this county and can take up any ideas we care to grab on to. We seem terrorized by words. Compassion and curiosity will hopefully allow a dialectical, exploring ourselves and the tolerance of others ideas and experiences.

November 10, 2016 at 1:25PM

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Incredible film.

November 10, 2016 at 1:42PM, Edited November 10, 1:42PM

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