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Amani Willett on Open Studio 2-19-21

Photographer Amani Willett discusses his new photobook, "A Parallel Road," and the positive conversations around race relations in America that it has generated.

AIRED: February 19, 2021 | 0:01:57
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TRANSCRIPT

- You know, this book is about the American roads

and a particular experience of black Americans

on the American roadways, but it's also,

that experience is a microcosm of race relations in America.

Right, and so it's been really hard this year to look

at what's happened.

But quite frankly, I think

in the era of social media, too, our awareness and our

and the way we've looked at violence against black people

that have been caught on camera and played in loops

over and over on social media has amplified this,

this problem as well.

So, you know, it's come to a head, you know

it's something I had been more aware

of in the last four or five years

in seeing it played out on social media

and this year was a particularly bad year.

And so it felt really important to try to have

this word come out now, you know, to,

it felt like the right the right moment,

the right time with what our country was going through.

And for me to help also, just as an artist to work

through some of my feelings and my anger and frustrations

getting this book out now is really important.

And, you know, it's, the reception has been

has made me really,

happy is not the right word because I'm not happy

about any of this, but I've had a lot of conversations

and you know, that's really the goal, right?

With anything you do when you're making art

is to inspire conversations.

And I've had a lot of conversations with people,

friends who are white and said,

wow I'll never look at driving the same way again,

I never thought about this.

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