When Kat Graham was approached about doing a video for Black Lives Matter, she was eager to help. In 2015 she produced a film with creative partner, Darren Genet called Muse but hadn’t done anything quite as serious before.
“I winded up meeting Patrisse [Cullors] and the other two leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement at the Glamour Women of the Year event —I believe it was last year,” Graham told ESSENCE.
“I said, ‘Listen, I really want to do something with you guys. Let’s exchange information. We’ll figure something out.’ Nothing had happened for awhile and I winded up being on a plane and sitting in someone else’s seat on accident. And the guy’s seat that I sat in, his name is Vann Graves.”
That chance meeting turned into a conversation about passion projects, which led to Graham and Graves collaborating to create At Risk Youth.
In the one-minute clip a young man who’s passed away is talked about in past tense by members of his family and community. Talking about the unfortunate nature of death one may assume he was armed when killed, but it turns out he was wearing a hoodie.
“Every single murder that happens where these officers are exonerated and there’s no justice served, I felt gutted,” Graham said about what prompted her to be apart of this project. “I think that I am somebody that has a pretty large social media following and I do a good amount of press, but there was a part of me that just felt that, you know, tweeting this or just the hashtag, it’s just not enough.”
Graves, an advertising executive who spent 13 years in the U.S. Army after the September 11th attacks, was prompted by his son.
“As an African American man, I understand and accept that I have to deal with bias every day —everything from micro-aggression to outright racism,” Graves said about making the video. “But I was horrified by the realization that my innocent, beautiful son would be coming into a world that doesn’t value his life.”
Adding, “This is not about all white cops wanting to kill black people, but more so about the value of black lives. Black lives do matter and it has begun to feel that we (African-American’s) are disposable.”
Watch the video above and to learn more about BLM, go here.