Open Dialogues: Black Voices | Black Stories
“James Baldwin said, without hope, essentially we’re dead. So, hope is necessary. As much as that might be seen as hokey for some people, it is necessary. That being said, I’m less focused on how hopeful I feel and more focused on how much work I need to do in order for that hope to be realized.”
– Rudy Jean-Bart, Black Voices | Black Stories
The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood’s documentary short film Open Dialogues: Black Voices | Black Stories focuses on what social justice looks and feels like for Black Americans, as told through the narratives and performances of eight community leaders in Broward County.
Directed, photographed, and edited by award-winning filmmaker Freddy Rodriguez, Black Voices | Black Stories is a collaboration between the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood and 66 Films to inspire conversation about racial inequity and systemic injustice for the African diaspora in South Florida.
The eight community leaders selected for on-camera interviews and performances represent a diverse range of work/life experiences from such fields as law, education, medicine, public policy, and the arts. They are Darius V. Daughtry, Henry Graham, Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esq., Rudy Jean-Bart, Niki Lopez, David Weaver, Venis Wilder, M.D., and Natacha J. Yacinthe, Ph.D. The film includes a musical performance by violinist Ian Mann, written works by Daughtry and Jean-Bart, and music by Dr. Wilder performing as V. Tiarra.
Photographed in black-and-white, the 24-minute film engages community members to describe openly and honestly, among other topics, their first awareness of being Black, the degrading impact of racism and discrimination, creating empathetic listening practices, Black resilience, and “The Talk,” in which Black parents prepare their children to be targeted based on the color of their skin.
As stated by David Weaver in the film, “What does it mean to be the only person who looks like me in a space? And does that make me safe or unsafe?”
About the Cast
Darius V. Daughtry is the Founder and Artistic Director of Art Prevails Project, a performing arts organization dedicated to expanding cultural conversation through theatrical performance, arts education, and community engagement. In 2021, he wrote and produced the theatrical works A Love Like This and The Happening: A Theatrical Mixtape, Volume III, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Henry Graham founded the Liberia Economic & Social Development, Inc. in Hollywood, and has served as Executive Director since its inception in 1981. In 2020, he received a Community Development Pioneer Award from AT&T honoring his work in our community. Henry L. Graham Park located at 2350 Simms Street in Hollywood is named in his honor.
Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esq., is a Shareholder and Government Law attorney at Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale. In 2020, she created the HBCU Pathway to Law Endowed Scholarship at the University of Florida Levin College of Law (UF Law). The HBCU Pathway helps UF Law enroll at least five HBCU graduates annually with full-tuition scholarships as John Lewis Scholars.
Rudy Jean-Bart is an Associate Dean, Criminal Justice at Broward College, having worked previously as an Assistant Professor of History from 2012-2020. In 2016, he was named Broward College South Campus Professor of the Year, and in 2018 presented the 15-minute TedxSistrunk talk “The Pseudoscience That Can Kill My Son.”
Niki Lopez is the Founder of What’s Your Elephant?, a movement that uses the arts to address the unspoken, and the producer of “The Circle,” a weekly Facebook/Youtube live video podcast that shares stories from activists, creatives, and social entrepreneurs. She is a 2020 recipient of Broward County’s Arts & Culture Visionaries Award presented by ArtServe, and in 2019 was Co-Grand Marshall of Wilton Manors/Stonewall Pride as the “Future of Advocacy.”
David Weaver is a Partner and Consultant at Intersections, LLC, which specializes in organizational and professional development in creating diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. He also serves as a Senior Managing Director at Teach For America, and is the co-founder of Youth At The Center, which advances opportunities for the next generation of community leaders.
Venis Wilder, M.D., is a recording artist, activist, and physician who specializes in family medicine. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, she records her mix of soulful R&B/hip hop/pop under the performance name V. Tiarrá. Her lyrics reflect on politics, money, feminism, and love with songs and videos such as “Batter Up,” “First Class,” “Digital Love” and the self-discovery anthem “Obsolete.”
Natacha J. Yacinthe, Ph.D. is the Seaport Executive Planning Manager at Port Everglades and President of the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Born in Haiti, she teaches Masters and undergraduate students in public policy as an adjunct professor at area colleges and universities. She self-finances at Florida Atlantic University the Dr. Natacha J. Yacinthe Scholarship to assist disadvantaged students of Haitian descent.
Open Dialogues: Black Voices | Black Stories is funded by an Art of Community grant from the Community Foundation of Broward. Support was provided by the following Funds at the Foundation: Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, Ruth H. Brown Fund for the Arts, Dot and Keith Cobb Fund, and Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund.