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Origin: Courageous Art Transforms Humanity

It has been almost three weeks since I saw Ava DuVernay's film Origin, and I am still grappling with how to articulate the profound impact this piece of art has had on me. This film, a mesmerizing fusion of beauty, love, and cognitive dissonance, challenges what I thought I knew against the language I've been taught about the systemic and oppressive reality of racism in America.

I must confess, Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents has been a beacon of understanding for me, a book I've read, not once, but twice. It's a text that has profoundly shaped my view of the world. A passage that consistently resonates with me about intricate dance between caste and race, states: "Caste and race are neither synonymous, nor mutually exclusive... Race, in the United States, is the visible agent of the unseen force of Caste... Caste is the bones, race the skin..." (p. 19). This insight, coupled with the narrative power of Origin, has fundamentally altered my perception of society and my place within it.

As I continue to process the film and tell others to go watch it, here are a few things that keep coming up for me.  


  • Isabel Wilkerson and Ava DuVernay are not just extraordinary artists; they are visionaries. They both have used their God-gifts to transform our collective understanding-- inspiring and inviting all of us to do the same.

  • Storytelling is the language of survival and resistance. It is the love language of humanity.

  • Courageous art, like Origin, does more than inspire—it galvanizes us into becoming warriors for change, challenging us to confront uncomfortable truths with open hearts and minds.

  • Origin is a testament to the power of Black womanhood, sisterhood, motherhood, and friendship. It is the story of a Woman King honoring another Woman King.

This film is a clarion call to recognize and celebrate the transformative power of courageous art. It’s the kind of art that awakens the rage and demands you to take action i.e. Navigate Courage.

Go watch the film and read the book.

Dr. Robin Martin


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