Dark Justice Series – A ‘dark’ satire on the state of race relations in the US

darkjustice

(hosted on funnyordie.com) Che Holloway (Rochester, NY – Right) stars as Police Officer Johnson, the only African-American Police Officer in a predominantly white town.

Can we as a nation LAUGH about the current racial tension in America?

Well, according to Mike Gerbino (Director) and Che Holloway (Actor), both upstate natives of New York, we should be doing exactly that as a means to explore and address the complex dynamic that is race relations in the US.

Dark Justice is a six part webseries that focuses on a small-town police station becoming a conduit for challenging stereotypes surrounding African Americans, and also white privilege that obstructs constructive criticism of  the majority group in society. Che Holloway, a young (25 years old) up and coming actor who splits his time between New York City and Rochester, sat down with me to talk about the series and his passion for acting ….

Saj: The web series deals with a lot of issues to do with racial tension. How did you get to play a part in the production?

Che:  It was interesting … the writer/director Mike Gerbino we had a mutual friend Alan Williams who told me about it … As a young black male, the script really resonated with me.

Saj: So, in total, how long did it take to produce?

Che: I wanna say about 2 weeks total … in reality the production was split into parts due to taking breaks … we filmed the first episode a year before the rest of them, just to test the waters.

Saj: And you are originally from Rochester, right? You split your time between NYC and Rochester during filming, how did that work?

Che: Yeah, well I am a native of Rochester …. I started my acting career at AMDA (The American Musical and Drama Academy in New York City) so I moved there for a year, and stayed afterwards, working acting jobs. Then I decided to come home. It is pretty cool, I went out there to survive, and then I came back.

Saj: So, what sparked your interest in acting?

Che: Well, this is going to sound really funny but when I was around 10, I was watching Harry Potter, and I was thinking y’know these kids are around my age, and I could do that. So that’s what started the ‘fire’. And a couple of years after that I went to School of the Arts in Rochester, graduated, from there I did a Geva theatre Summer Academy,  and I went to AMDA. My first national gig was on the Oprah Winfrey Network, on the season 2 finale of Unfaithful.

Saj: Going back to the Dark Justice series, explain a little about the storyline. Why is comedy a good way to approach this subject matter? And how was it for you as a person of color performing some of the material?

Che: It was hard personally in the sense that I worried about what the backlash could be. In the end I decided life was too short, people will always have opinions good or bad, so why not just deliver. The series makes you think, it isn’t that far from reality, a little exaggerated sure, but definitely close to reality at times. We are hoping that with enough interest, we can put it on something like Hulu or Netflix.

Saj: Thinking about the way that justice is served, I was watching Dateline the other night (the Charlie Tan case that made national news), and I had a thought that if he hadn’t been an individual from a well-off community, and instead had been african-american, this may have played out differently ….

Che: Oh yeah, I agree with that wholeheartedly.

Saj: And have you ever personally experienced stereotyping?

Che: Well a couple of years ago, I was in a play, To Kill a Mockingbird, in a small town near here (which I won’t name). As I left the back, there was a man on a motorbike who just looked at me and said “you need to get out of here, you don’t belong here”. I didn’t know what to do, I just thought, here I am far away from home, in his neck of the woods, so if I were to say or do anything I would be seen as the aggressor, even though I wasn’t. I’m more cerebral, I think about things before I act. So, I took a chill pill, told him “have some gum” (had to get one in) and then left. It was a little awkward, you see those kinds of things happen on TV, and don’t expect them to happen in real life.

Saj: So … you mentioned you are an alum of School of the Arts. There are obviously a few famous individuals who also graduated from there (Taye Diggs and Seymour Dustin Hoffman to name but two). Do you feel that pressure of having  a lot to live up to?

Che: Laughs oh yes, I have big boots to fill. I got to meet Taye Diggs (former alumni of School of the Arts) while he was performing in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and we took a selfie of course (laughs). He is a really good guy.

Saj: So what else do you have in the pipeline?

Che: I have a project called Elysian fields, which is kind of like a combination of Othello and Django Unchained. And this summer we are going to be shooting season 2 of Dark Justice.

Saj: Sounds like you are keeping busy!

Che: I am!

Dark Justice Season 1 is available on the comedy website funnyordie.com 

Link: http://www.funnyordie.com/darkjustice

 

 

 

 

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Saj Hoffman-Hussain – About Me

Welcome to my corner of the internet. If you are looking for a professional with eight years of experience chasing the news, writing the news, producing feature and in depth commentary for a variety of media outlets, I am your man.

I have worked for BBC News, the Democrat & Chronicle and most recently, Post Magazine in Rochester, New York. My interests lie in uncovering earthy stories about the human condition, lifestyle articles, and investigative pieces. I also work with corporations and organizations, providing compelling and engaging copy.

Is there a story I should be covering, or do you require copy writing, voice coaching or SEO consultancy? Contact me – my rates are negotiable, depending on the project requirements.






Nicholas Bieber

Picture this: your car driving by itself along the M1 as you sit back and relax – now hold that thought.

Oxford University have recently been running tests on a car at one of their recent events to see if it can drive by itself on familiar routes.

The technology uses lasers and small cameras to memorise regular journeys, such as the school run or the morning rush hour to work.

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The engineers and researchers behind the project are aiming to produce a low cost system that “takes the strain” off drivers – which could see the end of all those endless adverts reminding you to take a break when you’re feeling tired behind the wheel.

However, despite being one of the leading universities of the world, Oxford isn’t the only who has been testing this technological revelation out, with other companies such as Google also testing driverless vehicle technology.

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Eastleigh: What are the implications for this swing-seat for the UK and Europe?

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Well, if you haven’t already heard, the Liberal Democrats man Mike Thornton won the Eastleigh by election, with UKIP coming in a close second and the Tories Maria Hutchings (their very own version of Sarah Palin) trailing in at a miserable third.

Politicians, and I am sure they won’t get much sympathy here, haven’t had an easy ride of late. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the way the country is being run by the Coalition. The ‘Lib-Dems’ are fire-fighting allegations of sexual impropriety and mismanagement of complaints within their own party, the alternative of having Ed Milliband in power at a future date, when really we all preferred the other one (David) gives us the heeby-jeebies, and the Labour Party have had their own fair share of drama too!  All this inevitably means there is a veritable smorgasbord of crapola within the political system. Where does it all end?

What does this mean for the ordinary man or woman on the street? Well, it certainly heightens old and ever present prejudices and tensions about immigration. According to the Office for National Statistics, there was a drop (that’s right) a drop in the numbers of immigrants coming to live in the UK this year (from 247,000 in 2011 to 163,000 in 2012). However around half of Britons according to a study by Oxford University (http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/uk-public-opinion-toward-immigration-overall-attitudes-and-level-concern) find immigration to be unpopular, and three-quarters of us would prefer the Government to be tougher on immigration.

Which lands us with UKIP coming a close second in an area that is predominantly (92.7%) white. In this context you can see why UKIP may have been chosen as a ‘protest’ vote versus the other grey matter of the competition. If the same thing were to occur in the General Election then the Conservatives would have something to worry about as would presumably any future immigrants.

But as they say statistics can be used to justify absolutely anything. Whilst I think the British Public want to be tough on immigration, I don’t think this means that necessarily negative attitudes towards incumbent immigrants follow this trend of tough love. As we are increasingly living and working in a multicultural society immigration is a present fact that we all need to accept. It brings a number of benefits in the shape of attracting workers with unique skills that aren’t present in British society, allowing us to embrace different cultures and ways of living, making us more rounded and ultimately tolerant individuals, in my humble opinion.

This is why I worry that if UKIP ever get into power, that much like the BNP or other extreme right-wing parties, they will foist an agenda on the British people that they didn’t sign up for, and don’t realise the long-term negative implications of. Especially with respect to EU migration, if we stop/severely limit the flow, then we are nowhere near powerful enough financially to make it on our own, the books just don’t balance that way. That is why I wonder if Nigel Farage will moderate his rhetoric and provide a more nuanced debate on what needs to be done to get Britain out of the economic slump without alienating our European neighbours. Maybe then, UKIP would be a viable alternative. Until then, I’m not holding my breath.

Horsing Around: What do you think of the Horsemeat Fiasco?

Let’s get textual shall we?

The issue of horsemeat has been rearing its mane (sorry with the horse puns, neigh I can’t help it) for the last month now, and it doesn’t appear to be dying down any time soon. People are either doing one of two things (a) buying stuff as normal (b) avoiding buyng meat from supermarkets (c) being a smug middle-class get who buys “organic” and from farmers markets anyway.

Moving on to farmers … so it seems as if they and the countryside alliance now have the perfect excuse to berate us members of the public for not buying British all these years. Whilst I have sympathy for our flat-capped friends and the restrictions they work under, the average farmer is a lot richer than the average punter if you know what I mean. It just seems a little patronising.

But that being said – if people are going to get hysterical about horsemeat then they should at least have the nous to check the label. They do have a choice not to buy the meat, although with the economy the way it is, for many families struggling on the breadline it would mean having to spend a bit more. I am not sure – it is a dilemma isn’t it?

What do you guys think?

An excellent article by Jacqui Moore on the ethics that we as journalists need to consider before publishing.

JACQUI MOORE making things happen

It’s been a bad week for the media industry. A man dies as he’s pushed onto a subway track and the only help he gets is to have his last moment’s photographed. A prank call by a radio station to a hospital results in a nurse taking her own life.

As members of the media we need to recognize that we have a responsibility – our actions can have serious consequences. Something I realized starting out in documentary film-making and investigative journalism.

ethics

The subway station incident is disturbing to me in more ways than one. Nobody, not the photographer or other strap-handlers, intervened to help the victim – a decision that will probably haunt these bystanders for the rest of their lives. The photographer (who claims he used his flash to alert the train driver that there was someone on the track) said it would be morbid of him to sell…

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