Created by Lauren Kelley, the animated short Upside was completed while she participated in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Artist-in-Residence Program (2009-2010).

From her website, “In Upside , bitter sweet pathos is elegantly explored.Told from the vantage point of a child, the main character assesses her family’s lot when frolicking at a pool party that goes awry.” Narrated by Samaya Imani Watson.

Parental Discretion Advised

What intrigued me most about this short clip is its vivid look at an historic social and communal engagement with the outdoors typical of African-American families of all classes.

It is also a grim reminder of drowning disparities in the Black community, and how everyone needs to know how to swim.

What are some of your backyard memories as a child with your family?

5 Thoughts on “Upside”

  • Lauren Kelly did a great job with this video. The animation is wonderful and the story has a lesson. A few children will have a point of view like hers. Such a talented and smart child.

  • Excellent video and tastefully done. It still made me upset ! We absolutely must initiate public service announcements in our community about teaching ourselves and our children basic life skills, such as CPR, swimming and the Heimlich maneuver if someone chokes. I’m a native NYC kid who grew up in the concrete jungle and I never learned to swim – I’m 40 something, travel, love water and still don’t know how to swim (hot mess lol). The sad part is that most of my childhood friends still don’t know how to swim either. Taking swimming lessons this Spring.

    • Yes, it is upsetting, but upon closer view, it does appear she was saved…check out the last bit of it again.

      I agree – we should encourage everyone to learn to swim, and children are the easiest to teach.

      Also check out Diversity in Aquatics for more swimming resources for black folks:

      Let me know how it goes! Thanks for your post!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *