Flint, Genesee County, Michigan, United States, North and Central America
A digital photo essay with the title Flint is Family. It was created by visual artist LaToya Ruby Frazier and documents the impact of the Flint water crisis on the lives of three generations of Flint women.
At the beginning of the essay, Flint artist and poet Shea Cobb can be heard saying, "When you think about water, you don't consider government. In fact, you don't consider people at all. Even though we've built plants and machines to alkalize and purify, when you think about it, you only in your most remote mind, if at all, think about God..." As she speaks, a slideshow depicting aerial footage of the Flint River, Flint Water Tower and local signage addressing the water crisis appears on the screen. One billboard reads [CHECKED YOUR / WATER FILTER? / GREEN LIGHT = FILTER WORKS / RED LIGHT = CHANGE FILTER CARTRIDGE]. Another sign reminds people to filter the lead coming from the pipes in their houses. Shea Cobb continues reciting her spoken word poetry about water and racial discrimination as a slideshow of black-and-white photographs plays on the screen.
At 00:02:13, Cobb introduces herself, provides a brief autobiography and describes her morning routine and her occupation, before moving on to her relationships with her mother and her daughter, Zion. As she speaks, the slideshow switches from images of Flint to images of Shea Cobb’s family. Some of the photos in the slideshow depict scenes such as Shea helping Zion with her homework, Shea and Zion dining in a local restaurant, Shea and Zion using bottled water to brush their teeth, Shea with fellow artist and friend Amber Hasan, Shea and other family members at a wedding in Flint etc. The photo essay ends with Shea describing her plans to leave Flint and the way the crisis will ultimately separate her family.
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, purchased through the American Women's History Initiative Acquisitions Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative