Netflix released Yance Ford’s award winning documentary Strong Island on September 15th. The film centers on the death of Ford’s brother, William Ford Jr. in 1992. Ford expertly guides the viewer through his family’s experience as African-American’s in society leading up to and following the murder of Ford Jr.
Ford Jr. was killed while picking up his care from an auto repair shop. The owner was a white male who, after getting into an argument, shot Ford Jr. When the police arrived at the scene, they treated the owner as the “victim” while Ford Jr. was left to die.
Yance began creating the film as form of catharsis and way to grieve the death of his brother. The life span of the project has allowed its message to evolve with society. Sadly, Ford’s therapy has turned into a manifesto African-American injustice in American Culture.
Since 1992, the culture of violence African-Amercicans face daily has only grown stronger. Society has witnessed injustices like the murder of Michael Brown to the Charlottesville Riots that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. Ford notes that the fact his work has remained “relevant” through the entirety of its creation offer a dismal diagnosis for society.
Ford makes it clear that Strong- Island is meant not to re-investigate his brother’s murder, but to explore the “anatomy of an injustice.” Ford knows that “Black lives are too easy to take in America because we don’t want to question why people are so afraid of black and brown people to begin with.”
The filmmaker hopes that Strong Island will influence the national argument that has been slowly building over the last decade. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King illustrates our country’s status in the racial injustices happening around us: ““The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”