In their final event of the school year, the Waldorf Black Student Union (BSU) presented the forum, BIPOC Representation in Media, featuring award-winning director, producer, and current Waldorf grandparent, Sam Pollard, for grades 8 and up.
The Forum addressed the important question: Why is representation in pop culture and the film industry so important? According to the BSU, “For most youth, how minority influences are portrayed in the mainstream media directly impacts not only how they perceive themselves, but also how they perceive others. PBS NewsHour polled 144 middle and high school students about media representation and 80% felt underrepresented both racially and culturally. With the success of recent films such as “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” it has once again been demonstrated that minority representation is important, not only in Hollywood but also in other aspects of pop culture.”
Through this lens, the Waldorf Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a screening of Sam Pollard’s film “Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me.” This was followed by the Forum, moderated by Sanaalee Troupe ’22, where Sam Pollard discussed his work, inspirations, how he became inspired to follow his career path, and how he is constructing a cycle of representation.
Mr. Pollard explained how he originally wanted to pursue engineering, but after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, he was encouraged by a college counselor to interview for a WNET film training program. Only after being accepted did he consider filmmaking as a career and he subsequently developed a passion for it. He described how his never-ending curiosity keeps him motivated and inspired. The film series, “Why We Hate” really opened his eyes, and through his travels and interviews for his films, he realized how important it is to always continue to “expand your vision about how you see the world and keep your ears and eyes open. If you stay in that narrow lane, that is when issues arise.”
The Waldorf School of Garden City would like to sincerely thank Mr. Pollard for taking the time to talk with students, it was an enlightening and inspiring morning!
Sam Pollard, a current Waldorf grandparent, is an accomplished feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director whose work spans almost thirty years. He recently served as Producer and Supervising Editor on the Spike Lee-directed HBO documentary If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, a five-year follow up to the Emmy and Peabody award-winning When The Levees Broke. Learn more here: https://www.filmlinc.org/daily/meet-the-filmmaker-sam-pollard/ and in this recent NYT article.