July 13, 2013 is the date the verdict was rendered for the murder of Trayvon Martin. It was also the last date of the ICON MANN Summer Luncheon. What had been a perfect sun-drenched Southern California day, filled with blue skies ripe for a BBQ and fellowship, hours later turned into a collective gulf of emotional despair. On this day, more than thirty men, inclusive of Ambassador Michael Lawson, actors Anthony Anderson, Djimon Hounsou, Jesse Williams, Eriq LaSalle, and David Oyelowo, art curator Franklin Sirmans, Pastor Toure Roberts, and executives Charles King, David White, and Michael Strautmanis, dialogued about the journeys and requirements of success. No one could have imagined that a few hours later the connective thread of the day would be a blatant miscarriage of justice rendering all temporarily lost for words, but full of searing emotion.
Now here we are three years later, almost to the date, trying to process the continued injustices (#AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastle) levied against Black American men and the only words that bring a modicum of comfort are those of LITTLE BLACK BOY WONDER penned by Omari Hardwick, directed by Mo Mcrae on July 15, 2013.
Hearing the verdict on the ride home following the luncheon, Omari arrived to silently unravel at the sight of his sleeping daughter as the weight of all that it means to be a BLACK MAN in the 21st Century fell upon him. Instead of being crippled by it, he penned this poem and called upon the ICON MANN family to give it life. Accessed only via text and email with no mention or detail as to what they were being asked to do, our men responded with great speed. Within twenty-four hours, with all emotion, anger, love, pride, sadness, and courage they allowed our cameras to capture what few see, and what all needed to hear –the soul of a man in anguish, but resilient. In light of recent events, though the name has changed the sentiment remains. We give you LITTLE BLACK BOY WONDER and pray for the more than 516 Black men and women who have lost their lives to injustice this year alone.
LITTLE BLACK BOY WONDER:
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Thank you for answering when called:
Affion Crockett @affioncrockett
Brian Dobbins @paidvacashin @bdobb
Gary Dourdan @garydourdan
Bill Duke @realbillduke
Jay Ellis @jayrellis
Anthony Hamilton @anthonyhamiltonofficial @hamiltonanthony
Omari Hardwick @omarihardwickofficial @omarihardwick
Wesley Jonathan @wesleyjonathan
Robbie Jones @robbiejonesonline @therobbiejones
Eriq LaSalle @eriqlasalle23
James Lopez @iamjamesflopez
Mo Mcrae @itsmomcrae @therealmomcrae
Omar Benson Miller@omarbensonmiller @omarmiller
Sugar Shane Mosely @shanemosely
David Oyelowo @david_oyelowo
Toure Roberts @toureroberts
Marlon Wayans @marlonwayans