Human connectivity is at the core of our existence. Before the pandemic we moved freely though spaces and time without reservations. Post pandemic we’re all reminded of the simplest gestures that was once part of our daily routines; like hand shakes, daps and hugs. ( are now as rare as a 90s BMW. )
When asked to be involved in this project by Ayun and Jacob I saw this as a perfect opportunity to tell a story I’ve wanted to share for years. I was born in Chicago, Illinois, but have lived in Lafayette, LA, Atlanta, GA, New Haven, CT, Boston, MA, and presently in Los Angeles, CA while alsotraveling to various places. Each city had a unique way of exchanging information through handshakes. The nuances that I observe on a closer level within smaller groups of people within these cities taught me that there is an unspoken language when you shake someone’s hand. Whether in business or in personal groups, information is being exchanged.
Moving from the south to the east coast had its elements of culture shock, but both regions shared similarities in the way they shook hands. It is common after dappin’ someone up that you embrace with a hug like gesture.
Before I moved to the west coast I became familiar with the “Cali pound” through various awkward exchanges. Various cultures on the west coast dap with a slap of the hand and a fist bump. The difference between the east coast and west coast style was thought provoking. What was the origin of these styles? It felt like the southern and east coast style of hand shakes was exposing more vulnerability, where as the Cali style acknowledged each other maintaining distance.
These observations sparked my curiosity and reminded me of the connections that we make with people. There’s nothing like a powerful handshake.
Slaps and Hugs produced by Jacob Rochester is the title of Ayun Bassa’s follow up to Hug and Slaps. When I heard the title I thought of the percussion of a powerful handshake followed up with a hug. The vision of the film was to capture the art of the handshake amongst a group of friends and the importance of learning to be vulnerable.
Special thanks to Jacob Rochester, Ayun Basaa, Alvin Joo, Dijon Samo, Herman Wrice, Marquel, and Noshirt for being apart of the first chapter.
Music: Ayun Bassa and Jacob Rochester
Concept & Direction: Isaiah Bond
Cinematography & Editing: Alvin Joo
Modeling & Set Deisgn: Dijon Samo, Noshirt, Herman Wrice and Marquel