When preparing for a trip to England, Darnell Walker was asked, “Are you seeking asylum?” by a friend who expressed some concern about Walker leaving the country. “Man, what are you trying to do—go seek asylum [in England]?” a friend of Walker’s asked. It was then that Walker birthed an idea for a film that ponders this question: “What if black people in the United States all left to escape its tyranny and sought refuge in other countries around the world?”
Lately cases involving race and police brutality have been in the forefront in mainstream media, with millions of people watching at home, and abroad. A “vocal” advocate against racism, Darnell’s debut documentary takes an in depth look at race issues in the United States, and explores the concept of many, if not all, of the black Americans in the country, trying to seek protection from the brunt of American racism, leaving to sovereign territories. The 45 minute film follows Walker and friends embarking on a journey to Norway, London, Amsterdam, and Paris to interview natives on their views about America’s intolerance for Blacks.
The film also showcases current race crimes, and cases like Sandra Bland, and Martese Johnson.
The most difficult thing for Walker dealing with the documentary he says, was knowing when to stop. “Every time I wanted to come to a stop with it, more and more kept happening,” Walker said.
“I wish I could put everything in it.”
A native of Charlottesville Virginia, Walker grew a love for writing at a very young age.
Poetry and short stories were his first creative outlet. His first story was about a boy running away from home, and when his parents found it and read it, they mistook the fiction for truth—they thought that their son had actually ran away from home. In that moment, Walker knew he was on to something. Once in high school he took a trip to Los Angeles that he says expanded his horizons from the small hometown he’d grown to know, and caused him to look toward other locations to hone and practice his craft.
After graduating high school Walker then called Bethune-Cookman University home. He said his experience at the university had prepared him for life and for his career, “I always tell people my experience was just like A Different World,” Walker said, “I was Ron most of the time but every once in a while I was Dwayne Wayne.”
Going on to attend Howard University for graduate school, Walker said he chose HBCUs because their environments felt like family, “HBCUs help us find out who we are as people,” he said. Majoring in Speech Communication originally, Walker switched majors to Mass Communication because of his early love of writing, theatre, and art, he said.
Knowing that it would ultimately help him grow into his media driven professions, the decision has landed him into the position he’s in today.
The Seeking Asylum creator is a man who wears many hats. Filmmaker, writer, photographer, playwright, and a painter, and anything else that feels right to him in the moment. With award winning plays, and other achievements under his belt, Seeking Asylum is his current focus.
Eager to get the word out about the film, Seeking Asylum is currently being entered as a hopeful in film festivals across the nation. Though no word back yet on submission statuses, Walker continues to screen the film in different areas.
The first screening ever for the documentary was at his Alma mater Bethune-Cookman. Walker described the experience as heartwarming and touching.
Unsure of his next move, Walker does knows for sure he wants to help other writers pursue their own passion. “Just do whatever feels good to you,” said Walker.