These face masks help protect against COVID-19 and animal poaching
By Shanee Edwards
After founding her philanthropic organization Over and Above Africa to help protect endangered animals, Playa Vista filmmaker Kerry David directed the award-winning documentary “Breaking Their Silence: Women on the Frontline of the Poaching War” in 2019. It tells the story of an unlikely group of women willing to take a stand for these endangered animals. We spoke with David about the film a year ago as it was making the rounds at film festivals and we’re happy to announce that you can now watch the powerful, emotionally stirring film online. But now, there’s a new way to contribute to saving these precious animals: purchase these adorable face masks that are perfect for any member of the family.
David teamed up with local artist and freelance creative director Kasey Blaustein, of Kasey Jones Ink, to create these colorful, animal-themed masks that are surprisingly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic considering the virus likely came from eating an infected animal, possibly a bat or the illegally trafficked pangolin (a segment on pangolin poaching is featured in the film).
“There’s a whole part of Over and Above Africa and ‘Breaking Their Silence’ that has to do with the human-wildlife conflict where humans are taking over the wildlife space,” says Blaustein. “In many cases, these animals are being killed and being met with dangerous ends, but also disease comes from that. It was an interesting way to remind people what happens when we don’t respect our wildlife and our animals,” she says.
Inspiration for the design came from the highly colorful African fabric and clothing you see everywhere in Africa and in the film. “It just feels happy, you look at it and you feel the energy, the vibrancy of it.” Blaustein started with the elephant artwork. “I thought, ‘Can I just go color crazy and try this one thing?’ I did it and they loved it. From there, I did the rhino and the lion, too.”
Individual masks are $16.45 each. A three-pack that includes a lion, elephant and rhino mask is available for $42. 100% of profits help prevent the extinction of Africa’s endangered animals and are so popular, the first batch completely sold out.
Visit breakingtheirsilence.com to watch the film. Visit overandaboveafrica.com/masks to purchase the face masks.
Shanee, thank you so much for this great piece on the critical issues facing Africa’s vulnerable wildlife and our masks to raise awareness on Over and Above Africa! Our film Breaking Their Silence: Women on the Frontline of the Poaching War won 16 film festivals and became the topic of a TEDx Talk “The Last Five Minutes” – I know the Playa Vista community will enjoy it! Thanks again Kerry