Los Angeles, Feb. 28 – In honor of Black History Month, RespectAbility, a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, produced a new PSA campaign featuring Black disabled creatives. All month, this PSA has been in rotation on WarnerMedia’s platforms including HBO Max AVOD and others.
The PSA’s message is the importance of building a more inclusive future for the more than 5.5 million Black Americans living with disabilities.
“To me, being Black and disabled means bringing all of my lived experience to the table,” actress and model Tatiana Lee says in the PSA. Lee, who uses a wheelchair, also served as a producer of this PSA.
Actor and comedian Harold Foxx, who is deaf, adds, “We can help others through recognizing their work and then helping them to unite with allies.”
Cast members represent a variety of visible and nonvisible disabilities, including autism, deafness, low vision, severe food allergies, and spina bifida. Each member of the cast also works in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera:
- Tatiana Lee (IMDb, Instagram, personal reflection)
- James Ian (IMDb, Instagram, profile)
- Harold Foxx (IMDb, website, Instagram, profile)
- KiAnna Dorsey (personal reflection)
- Teren’e Chambers (profile)
- Corey Evans (biography)
This 30-second PSA was directed by Andrew Reid, an alumnus of the 2020 RespectAbility Lab and current RespectAbility Entertainment Media Apprentice. Nasreen Alkhateeb was the Director of Photography. She is an alumna of the 2019 RespectAbility Lab and current RespectAbility advisor who most recently was Kamala Harris’ cinematographer. Every member of the crew comes from historically excluded backgrounds, including race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. Of the 20-members of the cast and crew on location, 15 identify as being a person of color and 14 identify as being disabled.
“Our cast and crew show that it is easy to assemble a diverse team, and that doing so yields innovative content,” said Reid.
Evans, who served both as the DIT (digital imaging technician) in the crew as well as in the PSA as a background actor, added: “I have worked with a few diverse crews; none included creatives with disabilities in front of and behind the camera. This shoot was an awesome experience and a great example of a truly inclusive production.” Evans currently is serving as a RespectAbility Entertainment Media Apprentice.
Visit RespectAbility.org/BHM for more information.