On Friday, CAST’s Black Student Union met at CAST Med to screen Blackwaters, a documentary short film about a group of black men fly fishing in Alaska. The CAST Schools Black Student Union, formed in the Spring of 2023 as part of a legacy project by CAST Med Alum Honor Smith, convenes students from the six schools in the network with the help of facilitator and educator Alex Bailey, Executive Director of the nonprofit Black Outside.
The short film Blackwaters encompasses the power of five Black men whose paths have been challenged with loss, defeat, fear, and pain by life’s ups and downs and social injustice challenges black men and black boys face every day.
Through surviving life’s trials, each man has found grace and success in the outdoors, healed and mended by nature’s medicine to the soul, embracing the art of fly fishing and building brotherhood. Blackwater is an expedition of a journey in the Gates Of The Arctic Circle National Park, adventure, a vision quest, and a fly fishing adventure that surpasses the color of their own skin connecting to the fundamentals of nature’s, the poetry of life, and prosperous joy. Director Chad Brown had this to say about his documentary:
I directed this film because of the continual overlay conversation amongst black men’s social groups and the urgency of many diverse and gender groups being created with then the outdoor industry. Outdoor brands are pouring money into many groups to help support various initiatives with underserved populations. There is also a flux of learning fashionably Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which is excellent but toxic even amongst white allies. This is not a bad thing and shows potential support, but within this interest in the outdoors, black men get unnoticed and overlooked in so many spaces beyond the outdoor world. A negative stigma lurks over black men and silos our voice and presence from positive to negative. Very seldom, a positive light on black men, our work in our communities, and our professions fighting social justice and environmental justice rather than presented as a societal threat from media and bad stereotypes.
After the screening, students were able to ask questions to the cast/crew of Blackwaters, and dig deeper into the key takeaways from the short.