Brown v. The Board of Education was a monumental moment in the history of Civil Rights.
This integration deemed that public schools would no longer be allowed to separate students based on race. The movie “Through Her Eyes” takes a compelling storyline told through the perspective of 15-year-old Rosalee Wimbush, played by Rayven Symone Ferrell. The film is set in. Salem Alabama, an announcement to desegregate schools, has been implemented throughout the state. This fictionalized film follows Wimbush as she tries to convince those around her that she is both capable and deserving of attending a formally known white-only school. Ferrell’s character struggles with both the reaction of her decision from friends and family as well as the conflicting reality during the period in which the movie is set in. Viewers can get a glimpse into the lives of those around Wimbush, whose experiences highlight various known historical issues during the civil rights movement.
Our correspondent Rebecca Eugene spoke with Ferrell to discuss the film and her path to becoming an actress. “Through Her Eyes” was released on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, and is available on digital platforms such as Prime Video, Apple Tv, Google Play, and other streaming platforms.
The Knockturnal: How important was playing a role such as this one to you ?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: I feel that as long as I have been acting professionally I knew off the bat the type of characters that I needed to play. Not saying that these are the ONLY type of characters that I’d play but these were a priority. These being women who represent me, who I am, and where I come from. We have so many people to tell all of the stories that’s “important” to the world, but out of all of the stories in the world; the struggles, pressures, accomplishments, etc of a black girl and/or black women seems to get mixed in that jumble. I feel as if it’s super important to be a visual representation of what I stand for as a person. Especially when it comes to a woman like Rosalee, who made such a bold decision at such a young age. It’s like I wouldn’t even be here in the predicament that I am if it wasn’t for her and the people like her who made similar decisions. I attended a PWI Performing Arts school my entire life growing up. It could have easily been not so simple.
The Knockturnal: While fans and viewers watch this movie, what do you hope they will take away from this film?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: I hope that they understand how important it is to stand up for yourself and your dreams. It sounds super cliche but it’s like 1. Sometimes that is literally all you have and need to create the ability to take the next step in evolving in your life, career, etc. 2. Sometimes it’s way bigger than you, your purpose. So it’s like if it was planted and written for you to create a change in the world for so many others…you kind of have to make sure you first believe in yourself to complete your assignment.
The Knockturnal: Did the production for “ Through Her Eyes” begin in 2020? If so, what kind of precautions were taken while filming this movie during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: Fortunately, it didn’t. We actually shot this film a while back, back in 2017 or 18 I believe. That’s only when I got attach, I think it went even further back than that.
The Knockturnal: How did you prepare for a role that has such a heavy storyline?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: Funny story, so I was actually the result of a recast. So production had already begun and I had a friend/costar who was working on the project as well. So she was the one who spoke about me to our director Trent. They then contacted me, told me about it, sent the script, and I was on a flight like literally within a day or two from what I can remember. My point in saying that is to say I didn’t get to have the ideal prep time but I had some wonderful cast mates as well as crew who were very supportive and willing to answer any question that I had. Especially Trent & one of our EP’s Cornell. Like honestly, we would prep as we went, scene by scene. But under all of the pressure, came a dope piece. So it all worked out.
The Knockturnal: Which scene did you find to be the most compelling and hardest to do as one of the main characters?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: Ahhhhhh I would definitely say, saying goodbye to her brother Otis (played by the super talented Michael Rodney). I knew how much he meant to her and I was like putting myself through a mental battle with someone who meant the same to me, Rayven, just to put myself in that space. By the end of that day I was like ahhhhhh lol. I remember we left super late and I went to go see Superfly just to do something and get my mind off of things.
The Knockturnal: You have a background in creative and performing arts, where you studied theater, creative writing, ballet, and played the violin. What made you get into acting? What about acting sparked your interest the most?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: Life really. I actually loved violin the most originally but in college, I got more into television & film being in Atlanta, and started to fall in love with this different style of acting. Theater is so big and exciting. Then you have film acting where it has more of a naturalistic vibe. It’s real. It became VERY therapeutic for me, especially during that specific time in my life. I thought I’m doing this for fun and to simply be happy, why not make a job out of it.
The Knockturnal: This past year, we’ve seen a push for diverse representation in film. As a black woman within the industry do you think there’s been any improvements?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: It’s happening. Very SLOWLY but surely. I feel that if there was true meaningful intent behind our change as a whole it could be drastically more effective. Right now it almost feels as if people are doing what they have to do with equality so that they aren’t called out, canceled, etc. We all know that when we do things that we HAVE vs WANT to do we are going to do the bare minimum just to get by. So that’s what’s happening. People are doing the bare minimum to show that they kind of care but for the wrong reasons if that makes sense.
The Knockturnal: In the film industry rejections are inevitable. How do you deal with it? What advice would you give to those pursuing a career in acting?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: Honestly, I’m still learning. I’m human, we’re all human but what’s most important and what gets me by is my faith. Knowing that this is something that I was born to do and that no one can stop/prevent purpose. It’s all going to work out. So when those specific rejections come in, the ones that hurt a little more than most, have your moment. It’s okay. It happens, it’s meant to be, and life goes on. Once the project or thing that’s created SPECIFICALLY created for you comes around. It’s going to all make sense. It’s happened to me way too many times for me not to believe or feel that.
The Knockturnal: When your family moved back to Ohio and you decided to stay in Atlanta, Georgia, what was going through your mind?
Rayven Symone Ferrell: I can either be comfortable or be great. I came from nothing so the worst thing that could happen is for something to fail and for me to go back to something I already know. It almost made me invincible, the fact that I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to be happy, and make my mom proud in the process.