I heard about the award-winning film Fruitvale Station months ago. I heard some small story on NPR about an Oakland artist, Ryan Coogler, who was telling the story of Oscar Grant, a 22 year old black man who was shot in the back while in handcuffs here in Oakland in 2009. Even though I heard some buzz about it, I didn't really know what to expect. More recently I heard that it won both the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at Sundance and the Prize of the Future at Cannes. Then I heard some other artists, like Oakland's Goapelle, encouraging people to go see it. I went on Monday night at The Grand lake Theater, with the Trayvon Martin protests roiling in downtown, the helicopters overhead.
I am a firm believer that art is a powerful tool in bringing darkness into the light. I believe that art can spark dialogue, change minds, penetrate hearts, and build new ways of seeing what is happening around us. I have found in my own life that keeping my heart open has been a challenge; sometimes it feels like there is so much wrong with the world and so little I feel I can do about it. Sometimes it feels so unsurprising how wrong things are. I have never had a film so urgently strip away my own emotional protections and ask me, kindheartedly, to look. See what is here. Connect.
I am praying that this movie helps spark the discussion, get us talking to one another, get a movement underway, bring much needed healing to our community. I hope that you take the time to see this movie (bring tissues!), encourage your friends to see it, talk. It is beautiful, poignant, tragic and well worth our attention. Thanks to all the brave people who decided to tell this story-- I am forever changed for seeing it. xo
L O V E + M E T A L