D-Lo gained fame during the MySpace era. This was long before we learned how to use social media in the way we do today.
This documentary chronicles D-Lo's journey - from his rise to fame to recently being incarcerated. He is inarguably one of the most influential East Oakland rappers of all-time. He's made many hit singles - and as his manager says, "he will be paid forever."
One of the challenges we've encountered with filming this piece is the digital divide. Our clients vary widely. Some have smart phones and most don't own their own computers. Everyone involved in the D-Lo documentary has at least a smart phone. But even those have limitations.
Dealing with these unforeseen issues made me think about my own privilege...
I never understood how powerful it was for me to grow up with a computer until recently. I was on the Internet as soon as it began. My mom has always been a computer programmer. I didn't understand exactly what she did, but she never discouraged me from exploring the digital world. My dad, who can operate a computer but isn't fluent in it, hates how much time I can spend on a computer. He doesn't understand it. He'd rather me watch TV. That feels like a more normal way for me to spend my time to him.
But growing up with a computer and always having access to them in schools, repeatedly conditioned my brain in ways I am still learning to put in context. Despite the fact that I still work at a cafe and I rent a very small room in Oakland, I have a profound advantage. The years I've spent interacting with computers laid the foundation for my ability to create websites, videos, and organize my own internal systems of information that work effectively for me.
Some people understand the basics - they have a Facebook account, email, etc. But how competitive can you be in this emerging tech world without your own personal computer, daily routines that include checking email, the ability to send large files over via Google Drive to someone else who knows how to access them, able to create your own website without having to rely on someone to achieve your vision, how to social media effectively, etc.
I get frustrated with some of our clients at times. But digital illiteracy is real - and systemic.