The Emmy-Nominated VR Film ‘Traveling While Black’ is a Must-See

While VR hasn’t quite gotten to the Holodeck level, VR does reliably generate one thing: empathy. Because of that VR documentaries that attempt to help participants understand the experiences of other people. “Traveling While Black” is just that sort of documentary. From the CNET review:

I’m transported here via an Oculus Go headset and a 20-minute virtual realitydocumentary called Traveling While Black. The film, nominated for a 2019 Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program, explores the restrictions African Americans faced and continue to deal with today. The film weaves through the past and present using archival imagery and modern-day footage of violence against unarmed black people. Men and women share their experiences dealing with segregation, discrimination and violence, and it feels as if you’re sitting right in front of them.

The film plays with time and space to tell the story. In one scene, for example, a man discusses the dangers of traveling as a black person. We’re seated in a booth at Ben’s Chili Bowl, but when I look to my left, I see a reflection of the man as a young boy. He’s looking out the window of a bus, staring at rolling green fields. Suddenly the scene shifts and I, too, am transported back in time to that bus. I can feel every bump in the road.

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