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The draft for this post has been sitting in WordPress for some time.  I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should write it and break the routine of the blog as an invitation to discourse. But I just wrote about an SF trip that was full of sure, why nots. So here goes.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to MOCA Grand Ave and saw “Double Conscience” by Kahlil Joseph. It’s a 15 minute short about Compton, viewed on a double screen projection, with Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City” as the soundtrack. It combines hip hop, VSCO-like filtered footage, and raw, familiar imagery for anyone who grew up in LA. But don’t mistake it for a music video – there is no literal interpretation of the lyrics and no twerking dancers. It’s way more than that.

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The camera sinuously glides through African American neighborhoods, pausing to capture ordinary moments like driving in a car, swimming, and visiting the barbershop. It’s beautiful and fluid, until home videos dated from 1992 interrupt. 1992 – the year of the Rodney King verdict, of the LA Riots, of Bill Clinton’s presidential candidacy into the Democratic Party, of John Singleton’s Academy Award nominations for “Boyz N The Hood”. It was a year of both progress and regress, a stain in Los Angeles’ history, ultimately haunting our ideas of race in America. 1992 is a rearview mirror; symbolic of where you are and where you came from.

When I said that this exhibit was way more than that, this is what I meant.  It put me in a mood. An inquisitive and emotional mood. I asked myself questions like: have things changed? has society advanced in their thinking? will the African American identity evolve? I was valid in my questioning; it’s been 23 years since 1992. But Kahlil Joseph incorporates images of present time lynchings and police brutality, which leads me to answer a very unfortunate no.

I don’t know why this film was made. I don’t know why it was so important for MOCA to say yes to it. But creativity is a strong catalyst to change. And so is music. If it evoked that mood in me, it can in you. Now cue Kendrick’s “Fuck Your Ethnicity”.

Thanks for reading.

Tags : artdouble consciencekahlil josephkendrick lamarmoca
Tricia

The author Tricia

curator / illest LA editor / fatlace