Oculus VR for Good: Traveling While Black


My mother was born in
South Carolina. We had a lot of relatives and a
family farm still in Charleston, and so we would travel down
often. We packed everything into the
car and we did it in one shot. We never stopped. I never understood why. They did this because
they had to. It’s just the reality of being
black in America. Up until the passage of the
Civil Rights Act, you couldn’t eat in restaurants,
you couldn’t stay in hotels if you were black. The Green Book was a much-needed
guidebook for African Americans. By knowing who was friendly and
where you could stay, you could actually travel
through an America that was pretty hostile to you. The Green Book served as a way
of bringing black people together as a community. And what Ben’s Chili Bowl
represented to me was that community and safe space. With my VR film, “Traveling
While Black,” I wanted I wanted to connect the past
that had been forgotten to the present. In VR, the level of connection
you have to a story can be profound. It’s real and it’s tangible. You are forced to a place of
deep empathy, or you are forced to confront the pain of what
you’ve been living. There’s something about
not being able to escape it. Samaria Rice: I wasn’t finished
raising him, you know.   I wasn’t finished
nourishing him. You are forced to think about
other people in a way that 2D film can’t accomplish. The viewers walk away wanting
to do something. They want action.

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