DeRay Mckesson (born 1985), a Bowdoin alumnus (Class of 2007), is an American civil rights activist, and one of the key figures in the Black Lives Matter Movement. He is also an inveterate user of Twitter as a platform for activism and advocacy, with over 146,000 tweets to his name. His work around social justice, community organization, and police and community relations in the African American community in the United States has won him praise as a strong voice for change.
Penetrating into the very nature of Mckesson’s outreach to the public, DuBois’s portrait combines an interview of Mr. Mckesson, using questions provided by students at Bowdoin and shot on high-definition video by the artist, with the Twitter messages that have galvanized his supporters. By creating an edited database of topical clips, DuBois enables comments from Mckesson’s interview to reference similar themes from his social media archive, with his tweets appearing as a cloud of words on a second screen. Through this portrait of one of Bowdoin’s most significant recent alumni, DuBois addresses a critical moment in our struggle for racial equality in the twenty-first century and lays bare the structure and the content of the information that have helped mobilize efforts to promote opportunity and respect for all members of our increasingly diverse society.
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