Interactive Interview Puts Users in Direct Dialogue with Daughter of Malcolm X

USC Digital Repository

USC Annenberg’s Charlotta Bass Journalism and Justice Lab, in partnership with the USC Libraries and USC Digital Repository, has unveiled the latest Interactive Interview in the Voices of a Movement: The Second Draft Project series. Introduced at a Feb. 13 event on USC’s University Park campus, this new virtual, video-based conversation puts users in direct dialogue with Dr. Ilyasah Shabazz about the lives and legacy of her parents, Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz. 

The groundbreaking Second Draft Project, conceived by the Bass Lab’s founding director, USC Annenberg professor Dr. Allissa Richardson, offers figures who were maligned by the so-called first draft of history—contemporaneous press accounts—another chance to tell their stories.

“I believe people often deserve a second draft,” Richardson said. “That is what this project does. It gives individuals who were at the center of media frenzies a chance to explain what we [as journalists] got right and what we got wrong. Our Second Draft Project also allows the loved ones of those harmed by the press a chance to explain how the media attention forever changed their family.” 

The series debuted last year with an Interactive Interview featuring Lora King, daughter of Rodney King.

Incorporating the latest advances in video, display, and machine learning technologies, the Interactive Interviews platform draws upon the experience of the USC Shoah Foundation's Dimensions in Testimony project with Holocaust and genocide survivors. The team behind the technology includes Sam Gustman, chief technology officer at the USC Shoah Foundation and associate dean of technology for the USC Libraries; program manager Catherine Gao; digital media producer Craig Stubing; director of Web & automation technologies Mike Jones; and machine learning engineer Neha Rao.

“The USC Libraries and USC Digital Repository are very excited to continue to help bring Dr. Richardson's vision of the powerful intersection of social justice and technology to life,” said Mike Jones, Director of Web & Automation Technologies at the USC Libraries.  

To create the interview, Shabazz sat before the camera for a full day in a historic setting—New York’s Audubon Ballroom, where her father was assassinated on February 21, 1965, and now part of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. She answered more than two hundred questions about her life, her parents’ lives, and how historical accounts and media narratives have shaped their legacy. In collaboration with Richardson, her USC Annenberg co-instructor Jameela Hammond, and eight USC Annenberg students, the project team then transformed her pre-recorded video into something researchers and other users can interact with naturally, posing questions and getting direct answers. 

The third daughter of Malcolm X, Shabazz has written five novels and served as project advisor for the award-winning PBS documentary, Prince Among Slaves. She is chairperson of the Shabazz Center and is currently producing a television series based on her latest two publications, X: a Novel and The Awakening of Malcolm X, with Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar.

Her interview is now available on the USC Interactive Interviews website.