Art and activism intersect in BET digital series Rebels With a Cause
As new generation of Civil Rights sheroes and heros arises to fight systematic racism, people from all walks of live have had to decide where they will stand. The new BET digital docu-series "Rebels With A Cause" highlights from the arts and entertainment industry who are committed to change and determined to act on that commitment by being an agent of change.
These short documentaries shine the spotlight on a group of influencers, taste makers and thought leaders who are a part of a long tradition of artists and entertainers in the black community who answered the call to join the fight for justice because they realize that battle is the existential fight that connects People of Color regardless of age, gender, social status or income.
The first in the series of these powerful and thought-provoking documentaries focuses on entertainment manager, entrepreneur, developer and star of the VH-1 series “Love and Hip Hop” Yandy Smith Harris, who has been deeply involved in prisoners’ rights issues, as well as the fight against police excessive force. Smith Harris’ involvement in these issues comes both from growing up in a home and community in Harlem where the fight for justice was deeply rooted in the culture From and from being the wife of a man caught in the criminal justice and prison system.
Her husband, Mendeecees Harris was sentenced to prison in 2015, and while that situation was chronicled in the sixth season of “Love & Hip Hop,” “Rebels With A Cause” shows how witnesses the injustices and deprivations that inmates faced compelled Yandy to join the other wives and mothers of the incarcerated who called for humane treatment of their sons, husbands and lovers. In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yandy risked her health and safety to join others on the front line protesting the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others at the hands of police. We see Yandy leading protests on the streets of Louisville, including one in front of the house of the Kentucky attorney general who declined to charge the officers who shot Taylor.