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Ya’Ke Smith is the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication’s first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, though for years he was a mainstay in Dallas’ film community. I first encountered Smith’s work when he screened his feature film Wolf at the Dallas International Film Festival in 2012. Wolf is a powerful and complex film about child abuse in a church and its effect on a family and a close-knit community. It has never really left me. Smith previously taught at the University of Texas at Arlington, and since Wolf, his short film “Dawn” made a splash on HBO and remained in rotation for a couple of years.
Yesterday, Smith alerted me his latest piece, called “Dear Bruh: A Eulogy. A Baptism. A Call to Action.” The short film, which you can watch below, is an elegy born of our current moment, a moving reflection on love and loss, racism and history, suffering and endurance. I won’t say more. The piece speaks for itself. Listen.