The idea started with a question. “How do we tell the story of poverty in Memphis?, asked “Chris Peck, the editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal .
Alan Spearman, a staff photographer and film maker, had just met an intern at the paper, Chris Dean.
Alan had studied with filmmaker Werner Herzog, (a famous walker) and Alan had also just done a project in Haiti, walking on foot to see what he came across.
Chris Dean and Alan went walking in Memphis.
They saw a guy collecting cans, adding them to trash bag with a hole in it, slung over his shoulder. One can would go in, one can would fall out.
They had been talking about rap, freestyling, poetry.
Chris Dean spun off a freestyle rap, Alan shot a photo with his cellphone.
The idea was born. They came back and told their editor. “We’re gonna make a poem.”
“As I Am” was born.
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