A new documentary series, Growing Up in America, is looking to explore the conversations in underrepresented communities in America.
The 8-episode travel-based documentary series features the cultures and conversations of marginalized people in America.
“Not many travel shows dive into this part of America as much,” Growing Up in America filmmaker Nate Araya tells Shadow and Act. “I am really excited about the possibilities in filling that void.”
The first-generation Ethiopian American has been using film to explore cultural connections for some time with his documentary The Diaspora Journal. With Growing Up in America, he traveled for two years across the country having conversations with changemakers in underrepresented communities. “I want to bring fresh and new underrepresented stories to light and start conversations around stuff that matters within minority communities in America,” he says.
“Within my conversations, I noticed that with the many common values we hold, there are a significant amount of shared burdens. Many external pressures have lead to internal conflicts within our community. This new project is an extension of my life work to become a solution to the problems I see within in our culture and community today,” he says.
In the first episode, he goes to a barbershop in Austin, Tx to have a conversation about mental health with YouTube personality Evelyn From the Internets, barber Trae Mitchell, and stand-up comic and producer Carlton Wilcoxson.
“My purpose with this first episode of Growing Up in America is to start a conversation, release the fear and inform the community around mental health in order to normalize it within our communities, culture and society today,” he says.
On what he hopes other black viewers take away from the series, Araya says, “With these episodes, I would like to simply educate non-Black viewers and empower the Black viewers,” he says. “We can either complain about the problems or contribute towards a solution. This is a small contribution. A purpose project.”
Watch the trailer for the first episode below: