We have the pleasure of speaking with Takia “Tizzi” Green, the director of the new documentary series Word Warriors III starring Malcolm Jamal Warner, which was released on Juneteenth (June 19th). World Warriors III explores the circumstances of young African-African men who are poets, activists, and educators, along with the concept of using one’s words a weapon compared to guns and violence.
The men featured in the film spoke wisdom from a historical point of view as they played a role in the Civil Rights Movement and fighting racial injustice using their words as weapons. Word Warriors III is not your ordinary documentary; it is a call for action to end the cyclical epidemic of self-destruction that has been attacked out people of color, black men in particular.
Living in a country built upon oppression and white supremacy is very sickening, especially since we are in the year 2020, and history is continuing to repeat itself. Since slavery, the Black community has used the power of words as a weapon to explore freedom through their art of song, poetry, writings, protest, and speeches to heal and continue to push the culture forward.
Word Warriors III is a documentary that highlights the power of words. We often use the word as a source of healing by using our words as a weapon of peace vs. guns and violence. Harmful disparities that affect the African American communities such as an unjust criminal justice system, lacking educational system, poverty, police brutality, senseless murders,
We must make a change using the most powerful tool that we have, which are our words.
Q: What is your name, and please tell me about yourself?
Tizzi: My name is Takia Green, but everybody calls me Tizzi. I am a film, direct, produce, write, and compose music. I am from South Central, Los Angeles. I grew up in the hood, but I received a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in the industry at Sony Pictures, and I’ve been going ever since.
Q: How did you receive the opportunity to direct “Word Warriors III”?
Tizzi: Being in the industry where I have worked at many major stories, it’s scarce for people like myself to share our story on film. Being an independent filmmaker, I wanted to make something that was raw and authentic, so I created the opportunity for myself. I don’t know if it would be made this raw if have been done if it was made through a major studio. I had the vision, and along with Jamal Joseph, another directed on the film, we came together and brought the vision to life.
Q: After directing the film, what would you say had to be the triggering moment that inspired the creation of the film.
Tizzi: The triggering moment for me was when I heard Pat Justice’s Innocent Criminal Poem. He and I grew up together in the same neighborhood, so I was familiar and personal with his story, I was able to feel his pain. So when I heard that poem, I just knew I had to create a platform for his story to be told and what inspired the poem. Originally the poem was based around Pat Justice’s life. During the midst of filming in 2012, Trayvon Martin was murdered. His death kind of change the direction of the film to make it broad as far as touching on the state of black men in America even though Pat Justice’s story reflected that, and I wanted to make it broader and go more in-depth about the state of black men in America. As far for how we got it here and why we were placed in a position of failure like the system is set up for us to fail. I wanted to show how the system is set up for us to fail, and how do we go against that system and heal from that pain. Our fathers are not in the house because they were taking away from us and put in jail; it’s a domino effect. After you watch the film, you would understand why that was the trigger that inspired me to write the movie anyway.
Q: The words we used to fight oppression back in the day, do you think it can be beneficial today? If so, how?
Tizzi: Absolutely! Historically speaking, words help set the tone and freedom that we live in today. For example, Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech; those words that he projected on the monument that day is our way of life today. He wanted white and black children to play and go to school together. Certain words that he said we are actually living that today, he dreamed it, he believed it and spoke it into existence. That’s the power of the word, and today it is imperative that we speak words of life, love, and justice because that is what would be beneficial to the future generation. The words that we speak today would beneficial to the next generations to come, just how King did with us. Even with the protesting, when we are chanting “I Can’t Breathe,” we are going to continue to say we can’t breathe because we are projecting those words. I understand the gesture behind it, but we again, we are projecting those words into the universe to manifest. So maybe instead of saying “I Can’t Breathe,” perhaps we should say “I Will Breathe.” For instance, George Floyd and Eric Gardner, those situations wouldn’t happen because instead of saying “I Can’t Breathe,” we’re saying “I Will Breathe’, those are the power of words of we are putting out there for that type of reality that does not exist. Instead of saying, “No Justice, No Peace,” we need to say, “Justice is Peace.” We have to change these types of words because that is what would manifest in our reality. The power of the word is real, if we share those types of the words then the future generations will live to see another day, they will live to not have to face police brutality and not get chocked out like that. They will live to see a society of justice for all. I think they the words we speak today, we reflect our tomorrow.
The documentary is available on DVD (available online at Target, Walmart, and Best Buy), On Demand, Google Play, YouTube Movies, and other movie streaming platforms. Check out the trailer down below.