UPWARDLY MOBILE

THE REALITY


In 2009, white unemployment in Asheville was nearly 7%, while black unemployment was almost 14%. By 2014, that had changed to 6.5% for white unemployment and nearly 19% for black unemployment.


Nationwide, black youth are 2.5x more likely to be arrested than white youth. Black youth in Asheville are 5x times more likely to be arrested than white youth.


Asheville, NC is an increasingly desirable destination for both tourism and investment. Meanwhile, affordable housing is scarce, living wage job opportunities are declining and poverty is rising.


According to the American Dream, “equality plus independence adds up to the promise of upward mobility”. According to the Economic Policy Institute, black men in the US earn 22% less than white men with the same qualifications.


The Prelude to Beneath the Veneer


Upwardly Mobile is a prelude to the full-length film, Beneath the Veneer. Just as the release of the film will impact viewers, the production of Beneath the Veneer has significant impacts as well. The prelude film will introduce themes and common realities of life as a young black male growing up in America.

My Daddy Taught Me That (MDTMT) is a youth-enrichment program for young black men in Asheville, NC. For the majority of the boys he mentors, Keynon Lake, a long-time social worker, is the only positive male role model. He talks to “his boys” about being a man; making good decisions; being responsible and accountable; while ensuring there’s time for fun in between the serious conversations.

Outrider USA designs and produces state-of-the-art electric bikes near Asheville. The inventor and founder, Tommy Ausherman loves community and is committed to making a positive difference in people’s lives through innovation and adaptation.

Exposed to a different world for a day, 14 boys from MDTMT head to the countryside, where they get to race Outrider’s off-road bikes. For Javeon, aged 15, this is his first time in the countryside. At the end of the day Andrew, aged 12, is the winner.

Upwardly Mobile explores what it is to be black and male in America and how this has changed over time in places like Asheville. Beneath a veneer of opulence and wealth, life is becoming harder for low income families, especially those of color. Black unemployment is growing, youth-enrichment opportunities are declining and, if you’re lucky enough to leave, there’s little reason to come back.

However, there is hope. Through exposure to other worlds beyond the mountains, mindsets are changed, eyes are opened and dreams are hatched.

Upwardly Mobile

STAY TUNED

SCREENINGS OF UPWARDLY MOBILE TO BE ANNOUNCED

OVERVIEW


In 2009, white unemployment in Asheville was nearly 7%, while black unemployment was almost 14%. By 2014, that had changed to 6.5% for white unemployment and nearly 19% for black unemployment.


Nationwide, black youth are 2.5x more likely to be arrested than white youth. Black youth in Asheville are 5x times more likely to be arrested than white youth.


Asheville, NC is an increasingly desirable destination for both tourism and investment. Meanwhile, affordable housing is scarce, living wage job opportunities are declining and poverty is rising.


According to the American Dream, “equality plus independence adds up to the promise of upward mobility”. According to the Economic Policy Institute, black men in the US earn 22% less than white men with the same qualifications.