The parking lot of Nashville Public Television filled with students and community members on Sept. 26 for the Nashville Black Market Pop-Up featuring an abbreviated screening of the Belmont student documentary, “Exit 207: The Soul of Nashville.”
“A lot of people don't know about the project or don't know about what happened with Exit 207. It gives people the chance to see that in their own sight and be able to pass that information along to the next generation that comes along,” said Carlos Partee, co-founder of Nashville Black Market.
The event aimed to educate the public on the story of Jefferson Street and featured food trucks, Black-owned businesses and multiple screenings of the student-produced documentary, which will be featured in-full on NPT later this year.
Partee spoke about the services Nashville Black Market provides for its community and the importance of preserving the culture of North Nashville.
“The overall goal is to focus on empowering Black-owned businesses, but at the same time curating family fun experiences. We've been able to find these little niche ways to take these business products and translate them to the masses,” said Partee.
Some viewers appreciated the information and perspectives the film brought forward for underrepresented communities in Nashville.
“There is a constant perspective of Jefferson Street to be run-down or ragged, but there is so much history and life, a perspective lost between 1-440, the floodings, the tornado and COVID” said Maddyson Barron, a Fisk University student who helped provide insight on the documentary panel.
Despite North Nashville having been lost among the growing city, the documentary and people from Jefferson Street say people can help rediscover the soul of Music City.
“If people want to create change, they need to start by re-centering previous biases about Jefferson. Listen, pay attention to the documentary and the people who are interviewed,” said Barron.
“Exit 207” was awarded Best Tennessee Student Short at the 2023 Nashville Film Festival.
“As a Belmont alumni, I think it's really important, and I'm really proud of Belmont for having worked on something like this,” said Maggie Montgomery, a recent graduate who saw the documentary for the first time at the event.
This article was written by Nicole Speyrer and Zach Watkins