“It really hit home because it’s a parent’s nightmare,” says Garcelle Beauvais when describing her latest film.
In black girl missingBeauvais plays Cheryl, who, when she discovers her daughter Lauren is missing, tries to get help from the authorities and the media, but they label Lauren a runaway as they focus their attention on another case – a missing white girl.
Desperate to find Lauren, Cheryl and her 15-year-old daughter, Marley, enlist a dedicated community of amateur internet sleuths to help them. Cheryl also learns about the Black and Missing Foundation and is horrified to discover the disparity in how missing people of color are treated with a significant lack of media attention and law enforcement resources.
black girl missing also stars Iyana Halley as Lauren and Taylor Mosby as Marley. Beauvais is also an executive producer of the film.
“When the idea for the screenplay came to me, I immediately knew that I wanted to be part of it,” says Beauvais, explaining: “I think it’s important to do things that you love, but also to do things that involve some responsibility.”
Working with Derrica Wilson, the co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, was key to the film, says Beauvais. “They’re like rock stars to me because what they do is phenomenal.
And Beauvais makes a point of underlining that even if the women represent the greatest number of disappeared, “it is not only the young children. They are also adults. They are also males [that go missing].”
Beauvais admits the production was tough on her, revealing, “I found myself crying a lot, even though I was just in my trailer, out of frustration; that’s what I took with me. It’s frustrating [that stems from] we want to be seen; we want to be heard. We want to be taken seriously. We want to be validated.
Despite the difficulties encountered in playing this role, Beauvais believes that this experience “is a priority” for her, because “I have to act as an executive producer and bring this story to life. »
The real satisfaction for her, she says, comes from the fact that “to be able to have this platform is to raise awareness of things that are important to me and important to my community. And for that reason alone, the message, the story, and I hope we can change something ranks pretty high up there with everything I’ve done.
Above all, Beauvais hopes that this project will result in “raising awareness and making people see what is happening in terms of the disparity between the disappearance of a black and brown person compared to a blond person with blue eyes. We just want equality.
To that end, Wilson advises that if you find yourself in a situation where someone you know is missing, “Always file a [police] report. It’s essential. And don’t let law enforcement fire you. You must defend your missing loved one. And then get support from the Black and Missing Foundation. We want to help you. We want to use our expertise to help bridge that gap with law enforcement. with the media and then rally members of our community.
Wilson believes that everyone, and she means everyone, can play a role in helping locate people. “When you see a missing person flyer, help that flyer go viral, [help it] become this digital milk carton,” she says, referring to the days when photos of missing people were printed on the sides of milk cartons.
Mosby jumps on that thought, saying, “The idea of the digital milk carton is where we are as a company right now. Most of us are online. Everything is digital, so we have to learn to operate in this space and use the platforms we have as much as possible.
It’s actions like these, says Halley, that make a difference. “It takes a community and you see that in the film.”
Wilson reiterates that “we all play a vital role in the search and return of our missing – it’s law enforcement, it’s the media and it’s the community. You can’t have one without the other. So everyone watch the movie and help us continue to bring our missing men, women and children to light.
Okay, Beauvais adds: “It’s our goal [with this film]; if we can help one person, we are hugely successful.
‘Black Girl Missing’ Premieres Saturday. March 4 at 8/7c and will be available to stream the following day.