Moving Stories: Videos from the American South

The Bessemer Cutoff

A short film about success


Crew & Credits

Film by Dillon Hayes

Run Time: 7:35


Dillon Hayes is a film director and editor working in Birmingham, Alabama. He claims a wide range of influences and concerns: “music, literature, skateboarding, politics, history, social justice and the visual arts.”

This little seven-minute documentary concerns one of those in particular: social justice. The “soft tyranny of low expectations,” as a politician once put it, is one of the greatest barriers to any young person’s ability to advance up the economic ladder. This film is about one young woman’s determination to rise above the low expectations that come with growing up black and female in a small Southern town like Bessemer, Alabama.

“Why would you fear me?” asks 19-year-old Jar’Derrica Kidd. “If you do fear me, you fear a black girl who’s gonna build the world up.”