From the Commercial Appeal, a look at growing up poor in Memphis
AS I AM: » The Commercial Appeal
Chris Dean’s heart stopped when he was 2 1/2. He died and came back.
When Chris was 5, his father was killed in a gang shootout, hit more than 20 times by a barrage of bullets.
Chris survived the streets of South Memphis and distinguished himself at Booker T. Washington High School. At 18, in a charming, eloquent address at his high school graduation, Chris introduced the keynote speaker: President Obama. The spotlight from that event won Chris a college scholarship to Lane College.
Chris returned to the streets of South Memphis with filmmaker and Commercial Appeal photographer Alan Spearman, walking on foot for eight weeks to develop a series of observations that became the script of “AS I AM,” the short film below. With Chris as our guide, we float through this extraordinary young man’s landscape and encounter the characters who have helped shape his worldview.