“The main thing in my platform is foster care,” said McClinton. She became passionate about foster care after reporting a story for WRNN about a young woman who had lived in nearly 20 foster homes and said she was mistreated at many of them.
“I’m trying to encourage people to become involved with children in the foster care system [by] becoming the foster parent, adoptive parents or mentor,” she said.
Raising awareness about the need for more foster care involvement is just one of McClinton’s many goals.
In the course of her interview with the Banner, she talks about wanting to help improve the image of black people in the media, serving as a role model for black students and continuing to develop as a filmmaker.
She said she is most proud of her recent film, “In Silent Spaces,” which tells the fictional tale of a woman who neglects her son after losing her mother in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
McClinton, who directs films under the pseudonym Safiya Songhai, said the film touches all viewers because everyone has gone through the experience of losing a loved one.
That includes McClinton, whose father, Dwight Lamont Hendricks, was murdered in 1999 in North Philadelphia.
“I never really felt like he is gone,” she said.
The memories are hard. But when things get tough for her, McClinton said, she thinks about others who faced greater difficulties.
“This is nothing compared to what black people had to go through before,” she said. “I remember saying to myself all through high school when I had a … math test.”
Having supportive people around her helped, too.
“When I was growing up, I did have a lot of people who believed in me,” she said.
Elaine Barnes, McClinton’s grandmother, was one of them.
“We’ve always said, my friends and I … that she’s been here before, because she has always been so mature beyond her years,” said Barnes, 80, during a telephone interview from Philadelphia.
“We always say we are going to see her name in lights one of these days.
“I know whatever she chooses to do, I know she is going to be successful,” she said. “I am just sure she is.”
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