Member Spotlight: Destiny Brown

Destiny Brown is an Educator and Assistant Producer at Wide Angle Youth Media and a current BFA candidate at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

What do you do?

For those who aren’t familiar with Wide Angle Youth Media, through media arts education, Wide Angle Youth Media cultivates and amplifies the voices of Baltimore youth to engage audiences across generational, cultural, and social divides. Our programs inspire creativity and instill confidence in young people, empowering them with skills to navigate school, career, and life. Since 2000, Wide Angle Youth Media has worked with over 6,580 youth from across Baltimore City who have produced hundreds of digital media projects about their lives and communities.

As a teaching artist at Wide Angle, I am fortunate to collaborate with high school students from all over Baltimore City, guiding them through creating a variety of media projects rooted in social justice and community. At the crux of every project, media literacy can always be found as students learn to advocate for themselves and others. We encourage students to question mainstream media, always look for multiple perspectives, and to develop their own narratives for themselves and their communities. Recently, I helped my students create a blog dedicated to Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

I am also currently pursuing my BFA at NYU Tisch as a full ride scholar sponsored by over 10 scholarships including the Bill Gates, Ron Brown, and Coca-Cola scholarship. Through my own experiences, I am able to work closely with students beginning in 9th grade to help them solidify their next steps whether that be college, trade school, or a different path, and help them achieve their goals.

Tell us about your latest work or project in media literacy.

My most recent media literacy project was a Community Voices: Capture, Create, Conquer workshop series in collaboration with the Enoch Pratt Library. Throughout the course of the workshops, students were first exposed to filmmakers and media that captured the essence of what it means to speak out through art. They were then empowered to begin creating their own meaningful content using their cellphone cameras, incorporating sophisticated techniques of composition taught in the class. Finally, students analyzed media sources in order to identify the underlying bias in different mainstream media. This workshop encouraged students to seek out content that’s reflective of different perspectives. These media literacy topics were solidified through students creating three different captions for the photos they had taken to further understand the importance of text and how words influence our perspective on the media we consume daily.

This workshop series was definitely one of my favorite projects thus far because it incorporated incredibly important media literacy skills with a creative approach that made the topics accessible. Students were excited to apply what they had learned about media literacy to their creative works, and were able to view media literacy from a different perspective.

Why is media literacy important to you?

Media literacy is so important to me because media affects so much of our daily lives. We look to media for entertainment, information, and often times sources can be misleading or have an underlying agenda that we are unaware of. Therefore it becomes crucial to learn how to navigate media so that we are able to discern between opinion and information.

Media literacy also encourages us to always look at more than one source or perspective, a skill that’s important in life. By looking at issues and information through more than one scope we are able to better understand others different from our own backgrounds, whether that be across the country or across the world. Through teaching media literacy I’m lucky to have been reminded of how these skills help us in so many aspects of life, and it has become my mission to pass this understanding along to my students.

What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

What I’m most excited about the media literacy field is the innovation that is to come from this current generation of students! Teachers are now incorporating media literacy as early as first grade. I feel it is never too early to begin learning about media literacy and incorporating these practices into your daily life. Therefore I am encouraged that through media literacy education, future generations will become more informed about our world and each other.

Why did you become a NAMLE member, what benefits do you see to membership, and how will it support your work?

NAMLE is an amazing opportunity to engage with educators from all over the world that view media literacy with the same level of importance as I do. I am fortunate that I was able to bring my students with me to the NAMLE conference and they were able to present Media & Me, an interactive lesson on media literacy to an international audience. There is so much more to be done in the field of media literacy, especially when it comes to incorporating media literacy into creative work, and the more that educators are able to collaborate through amazing organizations like NAMLE the more we are able to share our insights and progress the field together as a whole.

The views and opinions expressed in the M-Passioned Member blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the M-Passioned Member blog is to highlight our members and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.