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In Pure Blood

Pure Blood panel after screening of film.

In Pure Blood

By Danielle Colston, Class of 2025

March 8, 2024

Bright lights shined on campus as OU students put their excellence on display in Gaylord Hall on February 18, 2024. The short film Pure Blood is an example of how students take what they have learned, their interests, and combine the two to create a work of art.

Jackie Simmons, a senior creative media production and interdisciplinary arts major at the University of Oklahoma is the creative mind behind the film Pure Blood. What began as a small and fun idea evolved into something larger. Simmons wanted to do something that held meaning for her senior thesis. From that point on, a script was developed, a team and cast were assembled through connections, and filming began.

After filming over a span of five days in December 2023 and going through final edits, a red-carpet event in collaboration with Women in Gaylord was set in stone and the short film was celebrated by those in attendance.

Simmons used her skills honed during her time in school and the work she does running her media business, Queens World Media, to produce Pure Blood. She revealed that Queens World Media started as something small during her sophomore year; it flourished as people began to book with her for production or photography needs.

Work in this capacity creates a space where Black women can thrive, "a place to highlight Black women in a positive way," said Simmons.

Pure Blood follows four young women who are the only Black people in the world, or so they think, on their journey of discovering that there is someone else out there that is just like them. One of the women would begin to have visions of another girl that needs help, which leads the four women on a journey of having to rescue one of their own.

The film itself–through a dystopian lens–is a portrayal of the struggles that Black women face, and the history of testing and exploiting Black bodies. Two examples of this history are the Tuskegee experiment that took place for over 40 years, 1932 to 1972, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks’ cells, which according to the Associated Press began in 1951 and they are still being used today.

Destiny Gregory, cinematographer for Pure Blood who double minors in creative media production and African and African American studies at OU, said, “Every single scene has something tied into real life. Just because it’s a dystopian doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

The film is an exposition on how a community bands together in a time of need. Gregory, Jackie Simmons the creator, creative media production major Deja Bracey and audience member Brooke Bryant all mention the aura of sisterhood, connection and courage that comes through the film.

Pure Blood has a run time of 24 minutes, and in that short amount of time a story is told with depth and a vivid message is brought through that leaves audience members wanting more. The message of togetherness is illuminated through the characters in the film and the team's atmosphere behind the scenes.

When faced with challenges like getting the shot and not liking the result to filming in a short amount of time while still worrying about other things going on in their lives, Gregory said, “Throughout it all, we’re here for a reason, we’re here to make this film and just be together.”

These OU students use their talents and knowledge to create art that entertains and informs an audience about topics that they may or may not be familiar with.

Bracey, who takes on the role of Jocelyn in the film said, “Even though it may be very scary to speak about certain topics, it has to be done.”

Group photo after Pure Blood screening.

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