Mozilla Creative Media Awardee TRUTH uses positive storytelling to address harmful online narratives about Black women
(LOS ANGELES, CA | TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2023) -- A few years ago, Genel Ambrose — an artist, activist, and mother of three daughters — asked Alexa to describe Black women. Ambrose was shocked by the response.
The voice assistant’s answer was short and graphic, mentioning slavery, abuse, and premature mortality in the span of about one minute.
Now, Ambrose is unveiling a project to push back against the disturbing and incomplete narratives online about Black women.
TRUTH — an interactive web experience and physical art installation — highlights stories by Black women, about Black women. The stories touch on family, strength, creativity, and ambition, and provide a sorely-needed alternative to the existing “data” that is online.
Ambrose, who also founded GOOD MIRRORS, sees the project as a space for Black women to find positive affirmation and history. She also sees it as a model for addressing systemic algorithmic bias: When there is a greater quality and quantity of real stories by Black women online, AI like Alexa can project a better, fuller picture.
Says Ambrose: “People view the internet as a source of truth. But the internet’s current understanding of Black women isn’t truthful. It treats us as objects or statistics. TRUTH is an intervention: It’s storytelling that changes how people — and computers — see Black women.”
The internet’s current understanding of Black women isn’t truthful. It treats us as objects or statistics. TRUTH is an intervention.
Genel Ambrose, Mozilla Creative Media Awardee
TRUTH is accessible online at https://www.truthportal.xyz/, and also has a physical presence at the WACO Theater Center in Los Angeles. It is part of the “Witness” exhibit, co-curated by Tina Knowles-Lawson, which features works from Black femme-identifying artists. Both the online and offline versions are interactive: viewers are invited to add their own stories, poems, and affirmations to the database.
TRUTH is a 2022 Mozilla Creative Media Awardee. Creative Media Awards are part of Mozilla’s mission to realize more trustworthy AI. The awards fuel the people and projects on the front lines of the internet health movement, from activists to documentary filmmakers to researchers.
Press contact: Helena Dea Bala, [email protected]