Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt | Audio

S8E11: Allissa Richardson

Allissa V. Richardson is a journalist and an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Southern California.

In her book Bearing Witness While Black, Richardson looks at advances in technology in relationship to incidents of police violence against African Americans, from the 1991 beating of Rodney King, which George Holliday filmed on a Handycam, to the killing of George Floyd this summer, captured by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier on her iPhone 11:
As the tool became better and produced a better picture, and as the witnesses became savvier — to know, I should probably be recording this — we have this confluence of things. And so if we think about what Darnella must have been going through in terms of her own personal turmoil, it's quite miraculous. And you could probably call her the filmmaker of the century for keeping her phone so steady, not talking over it, not narrating it. It didn't need any narration.

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