Recap: BlackOut Music & Film Fest

There’s a social responsibility that comes with artistic expression. The power of creating with a message opens avenues for discussion and action.

The inaugural BlackOut Music & Film Festival, held at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles on Saturday, August 29, spoke to the themes of storytelling, art as a movement and social justice.  JET was there to document the experience, attended by passionate artists and activists seeking change in our society.

The day-long event which included two film screenings, three panels and an artist showcase, informed and entertained an audience eager to digest creative works and discuss ways in which art is used to document the times and create change.

Following a screening of 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets (a film documenting the case of Jordan Davis, a Black unarmed teen who was killed at a gas station in November 2012) Patrisse Cullors, creator of Black Lives Matter, shared with a panel on social justice: “We’re living in a moment where we have an opportunity to reflect a new Black Renaissance.”

It’s often stated that when the world is in a state of destruction, the most prominent art is made. We’ve seen it with talents such as Lorraine Hansberry and Nina Simone.

“As artists, we have to be subversive. We have to be destructive. We have to push the envelope because if not us, then who?,” director and actor Nate Parker, said while speaking with JET.

While attending the panels, which also included music and storytelling discussions, there was a thread of passion and action.

A passionate Nate Parker expressed to JET that “being an artist is such an opportunity to tell truth unapologetically. You answer to no one. You answer to the people that you wish to inspire rather than some corporate entity that can put you in a box.”

There was a progressive synergy at the center of the BlackOut Music & Film Festival. Visual, musical and theatrical storytellers who were called to create with a sense of poise of responsibility were there.

“We have to make sure that we’re leaders, have a perspective, and let that perspective be known,” singer and Empire actress, V Bozeman told JET. “I feel like I have an obligation to use my art and my talent to uplift my people as best as I can.”

There’s a void yearning to be filled and fueled with the perspective voices of strong, influential Black people, and as artist, it is our duty to fill it.