ABOVE: Dignitaries and Family of George Floyd at documentary screening
On Memorial Day—May 25, 2020—the whole world was forced to witness the heartless and cold-blooded murder of George Perry Floyd Jr.—a native of Houston’s historic Third Ward community who died under the knee of now-convicted murderer Derek Chauvin, while his fellow Minneapolis police officers watched and did absolutely nothing to stop it.
The murder of George Floyd had an impact on the entire world and brought about many protests and memorials to remember the victim of police brutality and injustice.
In remembrance of George Floyd’s life, along with ensuring that the ongoing fight against police brutality and racism does not fizzle out, Greater Houston area community leaders, elected officials, activists, and other community stakeholders recently gathered for the screening of The Making of George in Bronze—a deeply compelling short documentary about the creation of the George Floyd sculpture in Houston.
The sculpture, which was commissioned by Houston area entrepreneur Dannette Davis of Kay Davis Associates, and created by renowned sculptress Adrienne Rison-Isom, was erected at Tom Bass National Park in October of 2022, on what would have been George Floyd’s 49th birthday.
Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, who was instrumental in getting the powerful sculpture located at Tom Bass Park, spoke about the significance of having the statue in his district.
“George Floyd’s life was a life taken far too soon, which sparked a conversation that led to a movement,” said Commissioner Ellis. “We’re proud to honor him with a statue at Tom Bass Park in Harris County Precinct One and continue the conversation about his life and legacy every day.”
Because of George Floyd’s strong connection to the Third Ward community, city officials decided that it would be fitting to host the documentary screening at the historic Emancipation Park Cultural Center, not far from Jack Yates High School, where he attended.
“This documentary is more than just a documentary. It is a poignant tribute to the resilience and strength of our community,” said Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, whose district encompasses Third Ward. “It sheds light on the story behind a powerful symbol of the ongoing fight for justice and equality.”
The 40-minute documentary offers an in-depth and intimate look at the emotions, thoughts, and processes involved in the creation of the monument that stands as a beacon of remembrance and a call to action.
“Creating the sculpture was an emotional journey. I hope this documentary allows viewers to grasp not just the enormity of the sculpture, but also the depth of sentiment that it embodies,” said Isom, the talented artist behind the George Floyd sculpture.
The documentary was sponsored by Dannette Davis and the KDITC Foundation, which is a Houston-based organization committed to promoting social justice through a variety of initiatives, including support for arts and culture. The foundation believes in the power of storytelling to spark meaningful conversations and drive societal change. Davis hopes the documentary will serve as a powerful tool for education and conversation in Houston and beyond, contributing significantly to the ongoing dialogue surrounding racial justice and police reform.
In speaking with the Forward Times, Davis states that The Making of George in Bronze documentary was at the forefront of her mind when she commissioned the iconic art piece.
“My team purposefully set up the artist with a time-lapse camera to capture the creation in her studio,” said Davis. “We knew that the events following Mr. Floyd’s death mattered to the world. We saw movement and change like never before. The artist in me wanted to capture this masterpiece in real-time and then share it with others. It was not created on a 3D printer, nor with the help of AI. It was the ancient art of sculpting telling a story which will stand forever.”
Davis tells the Forward Times that she chose a few of the people in the documentary who were directly affected by his death because she wanted the authentic story, with relatives and friends and others who knew and loved him, but then she also chose who she calls her “warriors” – the Houston community leaders who provided her with unwavering support.
“I wanted to tell an impactful story,” Davis exclaimed. “Many of the people in the documentary paved the way for the successful placement and unveiling of the sculpture, and they continue to stay at the forefront of issues. Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Councilwoman Carolyn Shabazz, the Honorable Jeffrey L. Boney, and Dr. Reagan Flowers understood immediately the necessity of this physical statement for the community. I want people to see the artwork as complex and beautiful and understand that people are just that. We are equal, complex, and beautiful. I want the viewers to feel hopeful, encouraged, and motivated to keep the conversations going, whether on race relations or policing with compassion. We should never forget what we all witnessed on that fateful day. Shameful. It should be a reminder to be the best version of ourselves. The art piece entitled “A Conversation with George,” is a reminder to visit that man or woman in the mirror with honesty. We have got to do better.”