Looks can be deceiving and #TRENDING takes the viewers deeper into the truth of when a culture becomes a commodity to be capitalized upon, bought, and sold. Unveiling what LIES beneath the trending of black culture and posing the question; What does belong to us if not our very own culture?
Mission StatementBlack female artists are essential in helping to strengthen the stand against inferiority happening in the world. As such, I have a duty to use my voice in propelling these issues forward in a world where black lives will no longer be pigeonholed, and our struggles are not falling upon deaf ears.
About The Project
Hello, my name is Akira Tashi and I am a black female writer/director/filmmaker, born and raised in Los Angeles, specifically Hollywood, until I relocated to Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Being brought up in Hollywood really gave me a front-row seat to observe how non-black people would capitalize on black culture. How black culture, my culture essentially became a “trend”. From music, hairstyles, getting implants to copy our naturally big butts, injections to mimic our naturally full lips, clothing, vernacular, to women utilizing makeup to obtain our skin color.
The same things that made a black woman “ratchet” or “ghetto” are now being strewn across magazine covers as the latest “trend”, but on non-black women. Braids, full lips, dark skin are all suddenly cool and sexy if they aren’t on black women. Women whose very essence are these traits. While we use to sit by silently feeling powerless while non-black women would “steal” the very thing that makes us beautiful and unique and be applauded for being "bold" trendsetters, while workplaces and schools deemed black people whose culture this stems from were deemed offensive, disruptive, and dirty.
I hear quite often people say that it’s an “appreciation” for the black culture, but it isn’t. It’s disrespectful. It’s appropriation. The new blackface. Something you wear during the day and wipe off at night. Something to have removed if it were no longer deemed “cool” or “sexy”. For decades we have been robbed of our men and women. Shamed for our varied skin colors, hair textures, full lips, and bodies, and now in the 21st century, it’s still happening unless these features are on non-black women.
Black culture is being sold just like our ancestors were and just like them we gain nothing from it, but the realization that no matter how successful or powerful a black person may become, we are still seen as a commodity to be capitalized upon. Silenced. Used. Disposed of.
I’m hoping with funding I can tell this story in a powerful and creative way. This subject will always be relevant, so make no mistake in thinking that it’s a passing “trend”. It was relevant in the past, present and I’m sure years from now. It all stems from a world of privilege and not seeing past oneself and to the people that it affects. As a black woman and artist, it is my due diligence to use my platform to bring the spirit of the black woman back to its rightful owner.
We are planning to shoot in November, and of course, no one knows what the world will be like at that time as there are many uncertainties. Regardless, we plan on addressing things as they come in a smart matter. Proceeding with everyone's safety and well-being in mind. If things permit, we are planning to create a safe space/set for cast and crew.
There will be a limited amount of people on set who are absolutely vital and will maintain social distancing. We will also have a COVID compliant officer on set all days of filming. Also, the film has 8 actors and only 2 actors/actresses per scene will be needed and will be scheduled in a way that each set of actors will miss the next set of actors and there will be no touching of other human beings required for ANY of our talents.
We have budgeted for PPE and will be providing each talent as well as our wardrobe, hair, and MUA with the PPE. As stated earlier we will have a person on-site committed to taking temperatures in the morning, making sure that everyone is sanitizing, as well as wiping down all hot spots throughout the day.
We are filming 3 days with 2 dedicated to actual filming and 1 for prepping and making sure everyone is well-rested. Finally, meals will be individually catered as well as snacks provided. So, there will be no sharing to maintain safety.
After we wrap, we will go directly into post-production with the intention of delivering finished footage before the year's end. Once #Trending is complete, some of our supporters will receive an exclusive link to view the finished product before anyone else has a chance to. We will be submitting the film to festivals and hope this pandemic has released its hold on us and we can extend the films to reach further.
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About This Team
This Team is the VERY heart and soul of this film! They have supported and continue to support the development and spirit throughout the process since I first put pen to paper or rather finger to keys.
I wrote this film in 2018 and put it on the table in 2019 and every hand was IN with me as we immediately went into planning a vision, shooting teasers, building a team, and creating this vision that was mine, but quickly turned into OURS.
They have stood with me regardless of everything that is happening in our world, even with the distance we have remained close and diligent in creating this film. They continue to inspire and motivate me every day.
I couldn't see through the chaos without them. We are a well-oiled machine. A team of united Creators, cohorts, and FRIENDS.
Ladies and Gentlemen... The Team.
Akira Tashi - Writer/Director
Cecilia Encizo - Producer
Matt Booncompar - Creative Producer
Will Greenberg - Director of Photography
Kayla Johnson - Production Designer
Lucy Musial - Script Supervisor
Brandon Cabral - Gaffer
Ranen Lawe - 1st AC
Dima Shorin - 2nd AC
Yoni Coen - Key Grip
Daniel Tansley - Grip
Stephanie Vigil - Grip
Tatiana Gutierrez - Sound Design/Sound Mixer
Joseph Grable - Boom Op
Veronica Brown - Art Director
Cynthia Greenberg - Hair/MUA
Andi Hendricks - Wardrobe
Alejandra Amijo - Editor