“RELEASED” a hit new docu-series to be debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
September 30, 2017

Consulting Producer and Author Shaka Senghor

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being an honorary guest at the dynamic press lunch accompanied by a very deep and necessary roundtable discussion. The group dissussion surrounded multiple branches of incarceration within families and it featured the consulting producer of “Released” Mr. Shaka Senghor. 

“Released” is a new docu-series that adds a journey filled with emotion, a glimpse into the interaction and readjustment back into society after being incarcerated. In episode one we are introduced to Kevin, Jermaine and Kay as their stories are documented post release and they enter the next phase of transitional adjustment back into society; some serving over a decade of time. When one family member goes to prison it takes on a whole new territory for the family through conversation, explanation, financial and emotional hardship. No person is wrong for having the feelings they experience as we are not in that persons shoes to identify the hardship.

Rapper Mysonne joined to weigh in his views on the discussion

If you have not been incarcerated personally you are unaware of the tactics it took to survive inside, post traumatic stress uncuffed and the mentally physche of overwhelming feelings. You may have experienced the same emotions within your life perspective but from the key element of FREEDOM. Not having an outlet or the option to choose what and when you eat, enjoying simple pleasures at your own leisure or even interaction with others if you are in the hole will make you appreciate life in general. The struggle or the restriction is not comparable in either instance even though it does not make one’s feeling less valid because of a void that was not filled.

Shaka Senghor shared his story and why it was important to show this vantage point of being released is imperative. With staggering statistics as: 44% of Black Women have a family member in prison or 10,000 men and women are released every week, 4 to 10 return within 6 months and how the U.S. incarcerates more people than anywhere else in the world is alarming. 1 in 9 African Americans parents are in prison and drugs are along the top tier for the reasoning. 

RELEASED follows individuals who have completed longterm prison sentences during those first crucial 90 dayson the outside.  We’ll meet them as they walk out the  prison doors for the first time, and stay with them for  every step and misstep as they attempt to reconnect withtheir loved ones, establish their independence and beginthe long, hard work of starting over. 

As the docu-series continues to build around Kevin, Jermaine and Kay we will gain insight in how they transition from being restricted inside with no glimpse of society to entering a new world so to speak as it did not stop as they were away. 

  

I think society stigmatizes being released and there has not been an outlet to break the cycle of incarceration which tears families apart. Prison isn’t always the solution and in Kevin’s scenario he already had two strikes and went onto serve 19 years for stealing $160 worth of baby clothes and getting into a scuffle with a security guard. That sentence is harsh in comparison to a sentence of a murderer or not being able to get a job due to his priors and environment in which many opportunities aren’t rendered. Returning to familiar habits becomes the resolution to the common issue of being an outcast when returning to society. There is hope after prison, adversity and anything you consider struggling it all has to deal with your mentality and utilizing what you have access to but some are not as fortunate as others.

Shaka Senghor joined by Chanel Benjamin

Being placed back into society is similar to a baby learning how to walk after the crawling stages. How can you put something in the past that the world constantly remind you of with closed doors and limited opportunities? You literally walk out of one form of imprisonment to another form of restraint. Many are dehumanized in a way that allows people to say that’s unfair and unfortunate and make strides by utilizing our voice for change. The healing for children impacts their quality of life you can not rewind time and the importance of the new docu-series “Released” angles of family interaction, dealing with the outskirts of reality is depicted with raw emotion. The only emotion we are allowed to own is our anger from the notion of what is presented to us and what we see others have or just curiosity to how your life would have been in comparison to what is it. 

Courtesy of 135th Street Agency

Watch: Kevin Getting Stopped at Airport Security

https://owncomm.box.com/s/w5psexj6q1fcijs8qg1hpth5o126bkcd

Watch: Kay Describes How it Felt to Be Released

https://owncomm.box.com/s/cxw2bzq2xxvw0zkfclddo2bg7tl9b6lq

Be sure to watch RELEASED as it debuts on Saturday, September 30 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ReleasedOWN

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Banksy does New York
November 2, 2014

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Banksy does New York directed by Chris Moukarbel was a reflection of how we perceive materialism, give materials value and carry the torch as the driving force behind popularity. Chris Moukarbel captured art on a public spectrum made for enjoyment, appreciation and social awareness become the phenomenon element of greed, theif and profit.

Banksy forced you to look at social issues and history by accompanying clues within videos on his website creating a scavenger hunt for his art always having an alluring undertone message. The intrigue and mystique of Banksy not wanting to be seen is a glimpse of projectory appreciation of privacy and offering a visual experience for open interpretation not fame. Often we over look things that are right in front of us, because it isn’t presented in the light that we want it to be. Instead of just accepting it for what it is.

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Banksy made the unnoticed noticable; the same thing you may have overlooked yesterday he brought meaning to it by opening your spectrum of value. The concept was simple Occupy art on the walls of different streets; it didn’t stop there. Banksy pushed the envelope all the while enhancing neighborhoods with a form of expression with historical background.

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When you create something you have a set expectation of how you want to reach people however, you don’t have control over how others will receive your social currency and what it “will become.” Banksy’s art became a social scavenger hunt forcing people outside of their environmental element, his work became exploited, vandalized, protected by the Wet Wipe Gang, sold, sort after, open to public scrutiny and a hot topic on the news leading to a man hunt for his arrest.

The supply of his work was demanded by hunters, art conveissors, the eagerness to be in the know but not all of the attention it brought forth was wanted. Banksy opened a spectrum causing people to be engaging, aware of their surroundings and step outside of their comfort zone for a mobile social experience beyond social networking.

He challenged others to visit places they probably would not normally frequent and people took advantage of that opportunity. It displayed the barrier of gentrification and shed light on locals awareness as they made a profit. Some people charged hunters to take a picture of a Banksy in a public space. He brought value to a neighborhood that was overlooked; as the posed question remains from Day 10 “Would you have come to this neighborhood if this (Banksy artwork) wasn’t here?”

No explanation leaves it open for people to use their imagination as to what they depict it as. It caused a frenzy, several debates, critique, people gathering to engage in a unique experience and a glimpse at our culture through actions. Furthermore highlighting the failure to think beyond what is presented without researching the history or existence of a work. His crafty insight raised money for a homeless shelter and issued greater good.

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Day 12 highlighted the notion of “buying into the hype.” We are so oblivious that signs are right within our reach but we choose to ignore them. Later, it becomes a “I wish I or I should have..” of course when a $60 piece is later valued at $250K. Views of art were tested as people claimed ownership, profited, tagged and painted over greatness (the aspect of thought provoking art that created a common community no matter what your background was). Could or did Banksy foresee all of this happening by sharing his ingenious passion? We will never know.

Support this documentary do your research as it will be premiered at The SVA Theatre this month at The DOC NY Festival. Good day splashy readers!

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