By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics

Ask A Slave


Azie Mira Dungey, comedian and actress, and Jordan Black, director, created this web series in 2013.  During 2012, notable for Barack Obama's re-election campaign, Dungey worked as a historical impersonator at the popular tourist site George Washington's Mount Vernon.  She wrote this web series based on her experiences portraying a slave and interacting with Mount Vernon visitors.  The series mobilizes the historical world of a revolutionary era female house slave to make points about political history and, occasionally, contemporary labor politics and race.  The questions asked in the videos were ones Dungey actually fielded from visitors while she worked, making the approach a provocative mix of documentary and parody.  It speaks to the continuing importance of making marginalized voices hear-able since it's doubtful she would have been able to give such pointed answers, despite their historical accuracy, with the strength of her direct address while working at Mount Vernon.

Dungey also maintains the Ask a Slave facebook page, which actively posts and comments on contemporary political issues related to race, like the #changethename campaign about the Washington Redskins' football team name.  In this way she provides a bridge between the web series' race-based critique of the past (and associated ignorance about it in the present) with contemporary political issues.

Contributed by Samantha Close on 5/10/14

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