Nurturing The Narrative
By Jamee McAdoo – The Michaeux Award & Film Lab hosted “Nurture the Narra-tive” events highlighting Black experiences and stories for students at the University
of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, community members, and any Arkansans who believe in the potential of Pine Bluff.
Neba Evans is a producer, program coordinator, and UAPB alum. She is an active committee member for the Michaeux Award & Film Lab.
“The purpose of the lab is to uplift cre- atives across the state of Arkansas. I felt that it was so important to go into communities, especially communities of color, to nurture their narrative,” said Evans.
The events were centered around the cre- ation of Evans’ graduate film documentary, “A Song of The Bluff” which spotlighted Pine Bluff, confronted stereotypes, and shared some of the amazing things that are hap- pening within the community. There were multiple parts to this weekend of Nurturing the Narrative, kicking it off with a podcast workshop for UAPB multimedia journalism students.
“They taught us a lot about audio – how different microphones carry sound differ- ently – and I learned a lot of skills I can apply in making a movie or a podcast,” said Joshua Ventress, a UAPB senior majoring in Multi- media Broadcast Production who attended the workshop.
The Micheaux Social held the following day included a photo gallery, community panel, and short film screening of “A Song of the Bluff.”
Jasmine Blunt is the social event coordi- nator for the Michaeux Award & Film Lab.
“I wanted to do something that was immersive. It’s more than just bringing people together but it’s about actually allow- ing them to come into a space and feel like they are soaking up what it really feels like to be a part of Pine Bluff,” said Blunt, “The Eyes on the Bluff photo gallery is about showing how far Pine Bluff has come and the fact that beauty is still here – it never left.”
After observing the gallery and network- ing, those in attendance watched“A Song of The Bluff” and joined Neba and Jasmine in an open discussion.
“There’s such a negative perception about Pine Bluff. Every city has its problems but you can’t judge a city off the problems and not recognize the amazing developments that are being done to uplift it,” said Evans.
The community panel following the screening was an engaging conversation about the various experiences people had growing up in Pine Bluff and how the city has improved.
“To see that this many people actually care to have these conversations was really motivating as an aspiring filmmaker myself,” said Jada Tolbert, a freshman studying Mass Communications at UAPB.
“I believe these events were important for HBCU students and the community
to attend because this is where it starts! If we’re talking about bringing the community together to really make change, change starts with the community. Change starts with conversation,” said Blunt.
Nurture the Narrative was a weekend of positive and enriching storytelling spotlight- ing the great things happening in the city of Pine Bluff.