Image Above: "Black Life on Air," Sharita Towne, courtesy of the artist.
(Photo by Sam Gehrke)

We are at an important inflection point in the history of American and global culture. All around us are cries for “change” that are both welcome and also familiar. As Black people, the sight of organized protest, civil unrest and suggestions for political and social reform, bring about memories of past actions that have fallen woefully short of what is necessary to establish justice and foment equity and justice for Black people. As Black filmmakers and visual artists, this reality has (for better or for worse) infiltrated, interrupted and hijacked our expression and politicized the creative process resulting in a schism that has relegated “Black art” as somehow separate from “art.”

 

Understanding this reality, Open Signal Labs was created with the intention of interrupting this embedded system of othering. The Black Filmmaker Fellowship was created as an “incubator” designed as a safe, welcoming, neutral and sterile environment from which Black creativity might germinate, grow and take root — and to observe and measure the results all without the specter of unwanted and otherwise irrelevant critique. Though we understand that it is impossible to create this work in a vacuum, the attempt, we feel, is necessary in order to lay the groundwork for future generations and demonstrate the simple and obvious reality of our greatness. 

 

It is for this reason that we take this opportunity to announce the Our Stories, Our Lives Black Media Maker Response Fund. The fund is designed to develop a responsive support structure for Black media makers that addressed the current iteration of social and political agitation. Through the principles of Unity, Self-Determination, Purpose, Creativity, and Cooperative Economics, the fund is designed to quickly collect and disseminate vital financial aid for Black creators. 

 

This fund and Open Signal Labs are an investment in the future. It is an attempt to break from the cyclical, multilayered and lasting reverberations of colonialist ideology—that even in our protest we remain unaware of our dependence on the very system we attempt to dismantle. 

 

At Open Signal Labs, we are hopeful, but not convinced, that what we are experiencing now represents the revolution that will break us free from this shadowy cycle of dependence. But you can rest assured that the products of our work and research are intended to be ready to provide foundation and support when that time finally arrives. 

 

Open Signal Labs Staff

Ifanyi Bell, Executive Producer
RaShaunda Brooks, Project Coordinator
Jeff Oliver, Production Manager  


2020 Open Signal Labs Fellows

Ansar El Muhammad
Joshua Hatkin
Simon Reta
Jordan Thierry
Kaylah Wilson
Masimbaashe “Cookie” Zvovushe


 

Our Stories, Our Lives FAQ

Who Qualifies For These Funds?

This fund is open to any media makers who identify as Black and are based in the Portland metro area. Click here to apply for funds. 

How Will You Distribute Funds?
All awards will be flat rate of $599. Our panel will review applications, followed by a quick screening call with each applicant. 

How Can I Contribute to the Fund?
Your tax-deductible donation of any size here will be distributed directly to Black media makers (minus online processing fees) and Open Signal Labs will match the first $10,000 donated. 

Where Do I Take My Questions?
For any questions, you can reach out to RaShaunda Brooks at rashaunda@opensignalpdx.org.


Learn more about Open Signal Labs and its 2020 fellowship program.

Make A Donation

Our Stories, Our Lives Black Media Maker Response Fund

by Open Signal: Portland Community Media Center


Image Above: "Black Life on Air," Sharita Towne, courtesy of the artist.
(Photo by Sam Gehrke)

We are at an important inflection point in the history of American and global culture. All around us are cries for “change” that are both welcome and also familiar. As Black people, the sight of organized protest, civil unrest and suggestions for political and social reform, bring about memories of past actions that have fallen woefully short of what is necessary to establish justice and foment equity and justice for Black people. As Black filmmakers and visual artists, this reality has (for better or for worse) infiltrated, interrupted and hijacked our expression and politicized the creative process resulting in a schism that has relegated “Black art” as somehow separate from “art.”

 

Understanding this reality, Open Signal Labs was created with the intention of interrupting this embedded system of othering. The Black Filmmaker Fellowship was created as an “incubator” designed as a safe, welcoming, neutral and sterile environment from which Black creativity might germinate, grow and take root — and to observe and measure the results all without the specter of unwanted and otherwise irrelevant critique. Though we understand that it is impossible to create this work in a vacuum, the attempt, we feel, is necessary in order to lay the groundwork for future generations and demonstrate the simple and obvious reality of our greatness. 

 

It is for this reason that we take this opportunity to announce the Our Stories, Our Lives Black Media Maker Response Fund. The fund is designed to develop a responsive support structure for Black media makers that addressed the current iteration of social and political agitation. Through the principles of Unity, Self-Determination, Purpose, Creativity, and Cooperative Economics, the fund is designed to quickly collect and disseminate vital financial aid for Black creators. 

 

This fund and Open Signal Labs are an investment in the future. It is an attempt to break from the cyclical, multilayered and lasting reverberations of colonialist ideology—that even in our protest we remain unaware of our dependence on the very system we attempt to dismantle. 

 

At Open Signal Labs, we are hopeful, but not convinced, that what we are experiencing now represents the revolution that will break us free from this shadowy cycle of dependence. But you can rest assured that the products of our work and research are intended to be ready to provide foundation and support when that time finally arrives. 

 

Open Signal Labs Staff

Ifanyi Bell, Executive Producer
RaShaunda Brooks, Project Coordinator
Jeff Oliver, Production Manager  


2020 Open Signal Labs Fellows

Ansar El Muhammad
Joshua Hatkin
Simon Reta
Jordan Thierry
Kaylah Wilson
Masimbaashe “Cookie” Zvovushe


 

Our Stories, Our Lives FAQ

Who Qualifies For These Funds?

This fund is open to any media makers who identify as Black and are based in the Portland metro area. Click here to apply for funds. 

How Will You Distribute Funds?
All awards will be flat rate of $599. Our panel will review applications, followed by a quick screening call with each applicant. 

How Can I Contribute to the Fund?
Your tax-deductible donation of any size here will be distributed directly to Black media makers (minus online processing fees) and Open Signal Labs will match the first $10,000 donated. 

Where Do I Take My Questions?
For any questions, you can reach out to RaShaunda Brooks at rashaunda@opensignalpdx.org.


Learn more about Open Signal Labs and its 2020 fellowship program.