At this critical moment, when the United States has re-elected its first black man for president, there is still a prevailing negative bias against the black male in America. Question Bridge: Black Males is an innovative multimedia art project that seeks to widen understanding of the experiences of this population, breakdown misconceptions, and provide links to universal questions of identity.
Organized by artists Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas, in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, the five-channel video installation (and Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival) offers a platform to represent and redefine black male identity in America, while simultaneously deconstructing stereotypes. The artists worked with 150 black men from twelve disparate cities across the United States in an effort to bridge economic, political, geographic, and generational divisions. These men engaged in a frank question-and-answer exchange around topics such as family, faith, manhood, and violence.
“How do you know when you become a man?” asks a young boy. “That is a deep question for such a young person!” exclaims one, expressing the surprise of many of the respondents. But their answers, thoughtful and candid, discuss accountability and responsibility, and often reveal more universal implications. “Manhood is, for each person, an individual quest.”
Presented in conjunction with 30 Americans, Question Bridge addresses questions of race, class, and identity in America and contributes to conversations about racial identity in art practice. According to the artists, through this dialogue, “‘Blackness’ ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept.”
Question Bridge: Black Males Producers: Executive Producers Delroy Lindo, Deborah Willis, and Jesse Williams, Post-Production Producer Will Sylvester, and Supervising Story Producer Rosa White
Question Bridge is sponsored by Fellowship Open
Milwaukee Art Museum Website