Yara Shahidi has many accolades on her resume. The talented Harvard student can now add director to her long list of ever-evolving credits.
In her latest venture, Shahidi directed a short-film, entitled, X, which is part of season 2 of the Shatterbox Anthology, a partnership between Refinery29 and TNT. Shahidi’s project chronicles the journey of a black child who leaves home one morning headed for school. He does the normal things that any child his age does: eats breakfast, goes to class, etc.; however, the difference is that when he steps into the “real world,” we see him morph to match the expectations and stereotypes projected onto him by the world in which he lives.
“It’s really about what’s it’s like living in a space you don’t own,” Shahidi told Refinery29 at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film screened for the first time. “I think it’s something everybody can relate to — especially as a brown person, but also as somebody who is on the internet nowadays, where you are constantly witnessing trauma of other people, being desensitized to it, and also living next to it, and with it, in a way that isn’t often addressed, and in a way that makes you grow up really quickly. And so, X was almost a literal adaptation of what it would be like if we grew up based on our surroundings.
Shahidi co-wrote the 13-minute project with Grown-ish writer Jordan Reddout. X is currently available to stream across TNT’s digital distribution platforms and their website.