I do not even know if Janet Mock, realizes how the impact of her words have an effect on her massive 154k social media following. One tweet from Mock and an entire army of Mockonians are unleashed. For the next few days all you would read from any publication was the story of how distinguished filmmaker David France, allegedly stole filmmaker Reina Gossett's, work. People were saying things like, “I am not watching this film because he stole my sister's work”, speaking against France, in solidarity with Gossett. Immediately people took sides without giving it a second thought. In the world of social media if someone tweets something and it is on the internet then by all means it must be true. Janet Mock's, tweets verged on being irresponsible. The way she desecrated this fine filmmaker was just really off putting to watch. What should have been a celebratory time for France, was overshadowed by these allegations brought forth by Mock and Gossett. Mock and Gossett, changed the narrative for France. A film that was being critically acclaimed by all who seen it based off the amount of work that went into making this film was instantly blacked out by a simple tweet. It made me wonder, should people have that much power?
Janet Mock, has positioned herself strategically, and has managed to rise to the top of the heap. A great deal of her rhetoric is based on divisive language. She uses race, gender and class as her speaking points. The people in the Mockonian world are unrelentless. One young lady when I made a comment to her that maybe she should give this film a try, her reply was get the “F” out my face. It is really scary how misinformed people actually are. I have never seen anything like it. They look up to social media influencers like Mock, to guide them on making important decisions within their own lives. Social media has changed more than the way people interact, it has changed the way people think. The truth does not matter as much as a person's perception of the truth, unsubstantiated or not.
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson was such an important film. It presented the pioneers of our movement, the lgbtq movement in all their glory. The leaders of our movement were just everyday people trying to make their way in the world. Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera did not have much and what they did have they shared with the world. All those people who stood in solidarity with Janet Mock and Reina Gossett and did not see this film, really could learn something about thinking for themselves and being their own persons from their pioneering ancestors. When Mock, writes articles about how pretty she is or how people are stealing stuff you realize just how impressionable these young people are. Gossett and Mock, soon moved on to other things, after making their allegations against France.
Meanwhile France, was left to pick up the pieces. It was a Thelma and Louise style hit and run. You could make this out to be that Gossett, is really young and probably does not know better. However, there is no excuse for Mock's behavior. Mock presents herself to the world as this worldly all knowing type of person yet her actions do not match how she represents herself. Mock speaks mostly for a certain population and every other population that is not in line with her own views becomes fair game. I cannot lie, I do not have a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. I attended CUNY and got my master's degrees in Business and Film.
The one thing I would imagine someone would learn in Journalism school is journalistic integrity, right? I believe that is something they teach. How do you then go about writing irresponsible pieces about privilege and about things that only align with your own personal views and biases? Isn't the job of a journalist to speak to a broader audience? To reach out and uplift as many people as they can? Janet Mock, lives in Janet Mock World. Mock, is no better than any other fear monger out there today. She incites fear in people and makes people turn against one another. The factions within the lgbtq community are strained as it is. You would think that someone with her power, would use her power for good and not to further divide us based on what part of the population we belong to. I do not think there is any hope for Mock. She is to caught up in her own existence to see past her own nose. Being an advocate for one group as you tear down another group is not being an advocate at all. A true advocate stands up for all people not just people that look like they do.
The film the Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson is more than just a film. It is an opportunity for us to all see one another as we are. Not everyone is a polished beauty queen ready to take on the world. Some of us have a hard time just getting enough energy together to make it through our all encompassing and demanding lives. To people who have the time and luxury to be flawless everyday more power to you. That is not however everyone else's reality. Viewing Mock's, world through the looking glass has left me feeling like it's a world with a great deal to be desired. She speaks about things as if she knows things. Mock, truly has no idea of what it was like growing up in a world before social media and if she did she surely buried that person deep in the far recesses of her mind. In the real world nobody truly cares how big your hair or smile is. I wish Mock, would align what she says with what she does because there is a huge disconnect. I hope she takes some time to reflect on her own abuse of power. Maybe a better hash tag for Janet Mock to begin using would be #humanlikeus
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson was released on Oct. 06, 2017 on Netflix. The day before this film appeared on my new release screen on Netflix, I was at the Christopher St. Pier with my good friend. We were sitting by a circular water fountain. We immediately remembered it as a sitting block we always would congregate at. The only remaining physical structure from our era. We walked around this fountain thinking it was some kind of memorial that was created for us. We were searching for some kind of inscription and/or plaque, however there were none. It was just a circular fountain. For a moment on that night, we closed our eyes and heard the sounds of our youth, radios blaring, cars driving in, people meeting. Then we opened our eyes to see joggers and bikers going by. Two girls in workout gear with their hair in neat ponytails, outstretched their legs over the water fountain for a few seconds, while they spoke about their lives. Then after a few seconds continued on with their jog. I felt at that moment these girls have no idea of what any of this means to us. This sacred place, where so many of us found ourselves. A place that now belongs to bikers and joggers.
When I seen the film The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson I could not believe all of the archival footage that was made available through this film. It was the tribute I was yearning for. Filmmaker David France, showed the entire world we were here. Having grown up in this era I felt an immediate affinity with the protagonists in this film, Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Victoria Cruz. They were talking about our world, a world long forgotten by most, except for those of us who were actually there. The Christopher St. Pier changed just about everyone who ever set foot on that pier. At the Christopher St. Pier we asserted ourselves and in most cases created life long bounds with one another. The people who knew one another from the Christopher St. Pier, will always remember one another because we were all changed by one another.
Through the archival footage we got to know so much about these people that we would have otherwise never have known. Randolfe Wicker, Marsha's roomate had a huge video archive. This video above in particular speaks to me the most. Anyone who was part of this era immediately recognizes the people in this video. The kinship of the people from our era was real. We did not have social media back then. If we knew someone we knew them and if we did not, we did not.
AN OPEN LETTER TO JANET MOCK:
USE YOUR PLATFORM RESPONSIBLY
On Oct. 7, 2017 a day after the worldwide release of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson on Netflix, this now infamous tweet sent out by filmmaker and activist Reina Gossett, reverberated around the world after being amplified by activist and author Janet Mock.
Photo Courtesy of Vice
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
(An Open Letter to Janet Mock: Use Your Platform Responsibly)