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Ferin Kidd and The Black OC

Ferin Kidd, One of the Most Influential Voices for Justice, New Documentary #Bang4Change the Truth Behind the George Floyd Protests

Immediately following the murder of George Floyd, Ferin Kidd flew to Minneapolis to find his documentary, #Bang4Change. Kidd was named as one of the Most Influential People in OC.

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You were released from prison in 2017, after a 10-year bid for armed robbery. You had an epiphany in prison. Tell us about that moment.

Photo with some audience at my first theatre screening of #BANG4CHANGE documentary in downtown Santa Ana at Frida cinema

I had innumerable realizations in prison, but as it pertains to my activism and resisting “the system” I realized that we can’t defeat the American system of white supremacy through violence and destruction, but only out-create through artistry. One of the most effective weapons the system has used to disempower communities of color is the media. The media has been used to create a negative perception of black people not only in the minds of non- black people, but in the minds of black themselves. This was achieved by normalizing negative imagery and stories of black people while hiding positive imagery and stories of black people. Thus, I realized that if the media is one of the most effective weapons used to disempower people of color, then similarly it’s also one of the greatest weapons to empower them. Thus, I decided that one of the most powerful weapons I could wield in the war against white supremacy was not a gun, but a camera.

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Tell us about your upbringing. Were you always the boy who stood up for others? 

Not necessarily. I believe it’s always been in my heart to stand up for justice, but I can’t claim that I have always had the courage to stand up, nor can I claim I have not treated people unjustly. I credit the strength and sense of duty I have now to stand up for justice to the study and practice of Islam. Through the study of the Qur’an and Islamic history I have been brought into an understanding that we have to stand up for what’s right and stand against what’s wrong, Failure to do this leads to atrocities like the enslavement of black people, the genocide of the natives, the holocaust of Jews, and the nakba of the Palestinians. I have profoundly understood that the world is too violent to remain silent, and that silence is complicit with violence.

How did the George Floyd murder urge your calling to help others? 

I wouldn’t say that the murder of George Floyd urged me to help others because my service to others began long before his murder. What I can say is that George Floyd’s murder made people more aware of the work that myself and so many others have been doing.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpKqQSFdOGM

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Ferin Kidd in the News

You went to Minneapolis following his death and filmed a documentary of the protests. What surprised you the most?

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The most surprising thing was how many non- black people were standing up for black people in general and George Floyd in particular. This response is unprecedented. #BANG4CHANGE is a ground’s eye view of the protests that erupted in Minneapolis immediately following the murder of George Floyd. A chance encounter pairing me with a courageous demonstrator named Ashley Paulson, I follow her lead as she navigates the dangers and complexities of the protests. To build support for this film on a grassroots level (which is integral to us) we are taking it on tour in theaters across the nation for the remainder of this year. Additionally, I’m developing a curriculum to accompany this powerful documentary so that its powerful lessons may be explored by students in colleges and universities across this nation.

Tell us about your documentary, #BANG4CHANGE

#BANG4CHANGE is a ground’s eye view of the protests that erupted in Minneapolis immediately following the murder of George Floyd. A chance encounter pairing me with a courageous demonstrator named Ashley Paulson, I follow her lead as she navigates the dangers and complexities of the protests. To build support for this film on a grassroots level (which is integral to us) we are taking it on tour in theaters across the nation for the remainder of this year. Additionally, I’m developing a curriculum to accompany this powerful documentary so that its powerful lessons may be explored by students in colleges and universities across this nation.

https://youtu.be/gQ7RpmWOAv8

#BANG4CHANGE YouTube Video

Share a few powerful moments that were life- changing.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was the best thing that ever happened to me: going to prison. The most impactful moment of this 10-year experience was the trial portion. I was one of the unfortunate people who had to endure an actual jury trial. During this time, I had a public defender who conspired with the prosecutor, the investigating officers, the judge and the guards to convict me illegally. To this end I was beaten up by police, subjected to false evidence and a host of legal violations. This was a very terrifying time in which I was alone, vulnerable and in very real jeopardy of being sent to prison for the rest of my life. It was during this time when I turned to the Creator for protection. It was during this time that I experienced what divine intervention, protection and universal justice is like and that no man, nor system is greater than God.

There is a lot of work and dedication to put together a film like this, tell us more.

While we are working towards getting this film recognized by a larger streaming platform such as Netlfix etc., we are taking this film on tour in theatres across the nation. To discover where our tours are headed you can visit our website bang4change.org or follow us on Instagram @TheBlackOC. Additionally, for those who purchase a Unity Flag on our website a copy of the private link to this film is included with purchase. My nonprofit is called The Black OC. We are a creative movement that utilizes the power of hip-hop to build community. establish greater equality among all demographics while promoting a higher standard for urban culture. Additionally, we work towards the establishment of a black-led cooperative workspace for the arts, activism and entrepreneurship in Orange County, Ca. One of the primary programs coming out of The Black OC is called Shoot Cameras not Guns. It combines art with activism and provides disadvantaged youth with mentorship in film and photography with the understanding that not only is this a creative way for them to express themselves, but a potential career path for them in their future. Further, we understand that by arming disadvantaged youth with cameras and the digital arts we can help combat and reduce gun and gang violence.

You work with young artists today. Tell us about your nonprofit The Black OC. 

My nonprofit is called The Black OC. We are a creative movement that utilizes the power of hip-hop to build community. establish greater equality among all demographics while promoting a higher standard for urban culture. Additionally, we work towards the establishment of a black-led cooperative workspace for the arts, activism, and entrepreneurship in Orange County, Ca. One of the primary programs coming out of The Black OC is called Shoot Cameras not Guns. It combines art with activism and provides disadvantaged youth with mentorship in film and photography with the understanding that not only is this a creative way for them to express themselves, but a potential career path for them in their future. Further, we understand that by arming disadvantaged youth with cameras and the digital arts we can help combat and reduce gun and gang violence.

Who was Ferin Kidd in 2015? Who is he now? What are your goals for the future? 

Ferin was an incarcerated, practicing Muslim, inmate firefighter in 2015. My goals for the future are to continue to create innovative services and products which help heal and empower humanity and reduce violence.

My current work can be visited on Instagram @TheBlackOC. The #BANG4CHANGE trailer can be visited on YouTube at Bang4Change https://youtu.be/gQ7RpmWOAv8

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.Today, a showbiz/promotions aggregate mainly for insiders. She has written for Communications Daily, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International plus freelanced for others. Valerie donates and works closely with the Human Rights Campaign (Fed Club Council Member), GLSEN, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal and the Desert Aids Project. She is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club. Milano loves meeting people and does so in her fave getaway Palm Springs as a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and the Old Las Palmas area community member. Valerie was a veteran 17-year member, and one of the "chief organizers” of the prestigious and long running, TCA: Television Critics Association’s press tour. For years Valerie was a board member and one of the chief organizers of the association. TCA press tours are “a must” for hundreds of TV critics twice a year, in Beverly Hills and in Pasadena.