The recent reports of the overwhelming number of missing Black girls and women across the United States and specifically in the Bronx and the Washington, D.C. area have been both devastating and alarming.
It has been even more horrifying that the media and government refused to acknowledge what was happening until social media and the Black community essential forced their hands. Sadly, this is not new behavior. Black girls and women have never been given the same high profile treatment as our white counterparts. Instead, cases of missing Black girls are often dismissed as “runways” or “troubled teens.”
Brandi Nicole Payne is looking to change that narrative. Along with partner Tara Tomicevic, Payne wrote, produced and directed, MUTED. The film sheds light on the harsh reality of a heartbroken family’s quest to find their missing daughter. Multi-Emmy award nominated actress Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy) and Malcolm Jamal-Warner (The Cosby Show) play the roles of the parents dealing with this nightmare. The film won the HBO Short Film Award at the American Black Film Festival back in 2014.
Now that the media is FINALLY paying attention to the epidemic of missing Black girls and women, MUTED is once again being thrust into the spotlight. Payne said that she first got the idea for the film back in 2013. She said, “In LA, there was a young black woman that went missing by the name of Mitrice Richardson, and I heard about it on the local news. I became obsessed with it because she was young and really pretty and she went missing after being in the cops custody. At the time, I was in college in Houston, so when I asked my friends what do they think about this, none of them had heard about her. That just blew my mind that some sort of disappearance like this, where the last people she was seen with were cops, doesn’t make national news.”
You can watch MUTED for yourself here.
Right now, Brandi Nicole Payne is seeking funding for a full-length film. You can find out more about how you can donate or help spread the word here.