On October 13 the Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute (APPSI) hosted a panel discussion with the director and cast members of #DigitalLivesMatter, a new film about social media.
The panel featured Terri J. Vaughn, who is best known for her role in the WB sitcom The Steve Harvey Show. #DigitalLivesMatter marks Vaughn’s directorial debut. Joining Vaughn on the panel were actress and spoken word artist Ernestine Johnson and the comedian and social media star Emmanuel Hudson, a regular on the MTV sketch comedy and improv series Wild ‘N Out. David Roach, executive director of the Oakland Film Society, served as moderator.
Vaughn explained that her new film is a comedy with “a responsible message” about social media, which is “so massive in our lives now, and especially important in the lives of young people.” #DigitalLivesMatter prompts viewers to ask “How far are you willing to go, what are you willing to do, to get people to follow you? And what will you do when you gain influence over people?”
Ernestine Johnson said that working on the film made her realize not only the importance of being “cognizant of cyberbullying” but also the need to “to inspire others and to say something worth saying when we have a platform.”
Emmanuel Hudson regaled the audience with colorful accounts of his online interactions with followers and trolls, then discussed the highs and lows of his career trajectory from teenage prankster to professional entertainer.
During the Q&A with students, the panelists addressed a wide range of topics—including the challenges of funding and producing an independent film, ways women are fighting obstacles to advancement in film and television, and the satisfaction that comes from following one’s dreams.
Chiho Sawada, PhD, associate professor of history and executive director of APPSI, says he was gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response by students. “They engaged the panelists with excellent questions and stormed the stage for selfies afterwards. Many told me that this was a great event, one of the best at HNU in recent years.” Sawada also thanked the Associated Students of Holy Names University (ASHNU) for helping spread the word and serving as campus ambassadors for the guests, who even visited the Public Market to enjoy lunch with students prior to the panel discussion.
Learn about other upcoming APPSI events on the calendar page.