The documentary explores the tobacco industry’s infiltration of black communities in America.
Titled Black Lives/Black Lungs the short film was created by filmmaker Lincoln Mondy in collaboration with Truth Initiative.
In an interview with Blavity, Mondy discussed where the inspiration for the film came from.
“Growing up, my white mother and family who used tobacco products either smoked non-menthol or used chewing tobacco,” he said. “But, my black father and black family seemed to exclusively smoke menthol cigarettes. I thought this was all a coincidence and joined in on all of the ‘black people just love menthol’ jokes. This was up until my Truth Initiative internship when I began reading research papers, internal documents, and scientific evidence that made me realize it wasn’t just a coincidence – but a successful and strategic 50-year plan to infiltrate my community and culture.”
Black Lives/Black Lungs investigates how the tobacco industry sold its products to black people, specifically the selling of menthol cigarettes, and how that played into propelling stereotypes about black people.
“I knew my generation had already seen the scare tactics like displaying diseased lungs, graphic images, and warning labels. I knew I had to create a compelling body of work to cut through the clutter,” Mondy said. “That’s why my film looks at tobacco control through a social justice lens. It’s a type of framing that incorporates history, evidence, lived experiences, and a call to action.”
The documentary is available to watch below.