Local Detroiter Launches Podcast to Discuss Racial Tension in America

Detroit native Kacie Willis is helping to creating meaningful conversation surrounding social injustice in America through a new podcast called White Angle. The series brings together white and Black filmmakers to have discussions on race, privilege and content creation depicting Black stories of inequality.

Launched in 2020, White Angle explores three individual white filmmakers who have made documentaries about racial injustice and the plight of Black America. Through each episode, the creatives are joined together, in pairs, with a Black filmmaker to have open dialogue centered around issues of race in America and how the white perspective of these issues factor into the creation of their documentaries.

Originally spurred by the tragic murder of George Floyd in May and the release of the bodycam footage, this three-part documentary series draws from the Black experience of ongoing racial tension and the increased attention to racial disparities.

“The swelling of people from everywhere, from all over the world. It was unfortunate what it took to spark a global movement,” Willis says. “But what I was really struck by was the footage. Had there not been any of that footage, would any of this happen? Would the discussion that we’re having in the arts world about equity and treating people the same, would any of this have happened?”

Of the filmmakers featured on the podcast, Stephen Robert Morse created the 2018 documentary In the Cold Dark Night highlighting the 1983 and 2018 investigation into the murder of 23-year-old Timothy Coggins in Georgia. The documentary has since been aired on Hulu and ABC’s 20/20. After receiving no buzz around the film, media and news outlets began to take notice as public murders of Black people continued to grab recent headlines over the last year.

“I had a friend who made a documentary called In the Cold Dark Night, and he is one of the guests on the podcast,” Willis explains. “I asked would he be willing to talk about it on a podcast but to have a conversation with a Black filmmaker to sort of gauge how they felt about that situation.”

Wanting to keep the dialogue constructive and informative, the podcast uses the basis of creativity as a common shared space between the guests.

“There’s something about grounding the conversation in a discussion about creativity and the arts that makes having the discussion so much easier,” Willis shares.

Despite racial differences, the podcast looks to pose a critical question: can the white community accurately tell the story of Black trauma?

“In my opinion, I don’t think that creatives should be limited in the stories that they want to tell if they are extremely passionate about them,” Willis says. “I think now there are no more excuses for not being aware of how being someone who is not a part of a community can affect how the story is told if they don’t do their due diligence. Especially if they don’t have people from that community on their team from the very beginning.”

Willis is a recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, and the podcast was launched as a part of the school’s Alumni Atelier program which allows select graduates’ resources and business training to further their careers. In the future, the now-producer hopes to combine other professions and demographics to join in on the conversation while still maintaining the overall goal of the podcast.

“I’ve been flirting with the idea of doing several small three-part series with the same concept,” Willis says. “People from different perspectives, racial or sexual orientation backgrounds, and having them in other industries. An idea I have is a hip-hop artist in conversation with someone from law enforcement.”

The podcast series is available on whiteanglepod.com.

 

 

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