Wed, 11 Nov 2020 15:51:52 GMT
In 2015, Australian visual artist Hego returned to the USA to complete two murals of community groups in both Philadelphia and Baltimore respectively. Documented over two short films shot by Stink Rising director Matthew Thorne, these stories told in parallel are a love letter to the power of togetherness at a time when the system refuses to engage with grassroots communities.
‘Philadelphia’ takes us into the world of Tony ‘Tone’ Royster A.K.A. Mr Y Not and the Positive Movements Drill Team. Growing up in the Pulaski Housing Projects, an area brought to its knees by guns and drugs, Tone created the ‘Positive Movement Drumline’ to change the narrative which young black people in Philadelphia often find themselves trapped in. Through music and their yelled mantra-cum-warcry ‘Put Down The Gunz & Pick Up Some Drums’ they offer an escape route where they can begin to build a new life and generate a new story for themselves. Tone fights negativity with an astounding drive to spread positivity through drumming.
Thorne’s second instalment of Hego’s journey, ‘Baltimore’ takes us on a driving tour of the city with Wheelie Wayne of the 12 O’Clock Boys. What would appear as dirt bikers seeking a thrill becomes, in Wayne’s words: “Pick up a bike, put down a gun”. Through his streetwise eyes the bikes are an alternative to gun crime and a means for local youth to forge positive relationships with one another. Wayne exudes warmth as he talks of his dirt biking family and the love and acceptance he sees between bikers. From elderly neighbours waving from their porches to inmates who refuse to go to lunch until they see the 12 O’Clock Boys pass. They have taken on a legendary status in their hometown, growing into an inspirational focal point for all of Baltimore.
That being said, the bikers face an uphill battle with the authorities to practice their petrol head vocation. Wayne notes his inability to explain the importance of the biking community to authorities that refuse to acknowledge an alternative solution to a broken system. Biking allows him a freedom that can’t be bought or sold.
Hego works alongside these communities to create murals celebrating the impact they have made and sheds light on the positive change each of them spark locally. These are not only stories worth telling, but stories worth sharing and the inspiring individuals behind them supported and celebrated.
These films share the perspectives of true hometown heroes, someone who can see a problem and dedicate themselves to finding a solution, however unorthodox. They put their locality first and work with what they are given. Thorne finds a poetic beauty in the day to day lives and resilience of these groups.
To donate to support the Positive Movements Drill Team in Philadelphia follow the link here.
Genres: Documentary, People, Dialogue
Categories: Short films, Short Films and Music VideosStink, Wed, 11 Nov 2020 15:51:52 GMT