Joey Bada$$' 'Two Distant Strangers' Makes History At 2021 Oscars
By Peyton Blakemore
April 26, 2021
On Sunday (April 25), Travon Free became the first Black filmmaker to win the Oscar for live-action short film for Two Distant Strangers.
The Joey Bada$$-starring film, which is co-directed by Travon and Martin Desmond Roe, beat out “Feeling Through,” “The Letter Room,” “The Present” and “White Eye.”
While accepting the award during the 93rd Academy Awards, Travon addressed police killings in America, saying, "Today, the police will kill three people. And tomorrow, the police will kill three people. And the day after that, the police will kill three people. Because on average, the police in America every day kill three people — which amounts to about 1,000 people a year. And those people happen to be disproportionately Black people."
"I just ask that you please not be indifferent," he continued. "Please don't be indifferent to our pain."
Travon also honored victims of police brutality —Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Stephen Clark, and many more— by wearing a black and yellow Dolce & Gabbana suit that was lined with their names.
Travon Free, wearing a jacket that includes names of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and more: “James Baldwin once said, ‘The most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people’s pain’...Please, don’t be indifferent to our pain.” https://t.co/sdgeoBK7lX #Oscars pic.twitter.com/Klu1aYxUwa— ABC News (@ABC) April 26, 2021
Ahead of Sunday's award show, the filmmaker spoke to The Los Angeles Times about the relevance of the film, which is currently streaming on Netflix.
“As often as the ‘Groundhog Day’ trope is used now to tell stories, and they’ve gotten more and more creative, this was the first time that it felt like an actual metaphor for something,” he shared. “It’s a metaphor for what it is like to be Black in America. It is the loop.”
Photo: Getty Images