“Bring Them Home” Review & Interview with Creator Rob Young.
By Christopher Leong
In the documentary, Bring Them Home, creator Rob Young shines a light on a select group of
U.S Army Veterans who were deported by the very country they served. The film was screened at the 2022 Bravemaker Film Festival in Redwood City, California, giving audiences a glimpse into the lives of these deported veterans & what they endure. In an interview with Young, the idea of making Bring Them Home came about during his venture as a Hip-Hop artist when he was creating his single, Excuse My Accent.
Question #1: What brought you to BTH? How did you first get in contact with subjects?
Answer: While diving into the creation of Hip Hop single Excuse My Accent featuring Drei Ros and
Sharlene and produced by 808 Mafia, I stumbled across the story of Hector Barajas and decided to reach out to him. Hector Barajas is a deported veteran who started The Deported Veteran Support House and “The Bunker” in Tijuana, Mexico.
We invited Hector to be in the music video and make a cameo. Upon hearing his story, even more, we decided to utilize our creative platform and do a documentary on him. A couple of years later, a meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and some film awards later ... here we are.
From this experience, we have had the opportunity to build phenomenal relationships including Daniel Torres (The first deported veteran to gain citizenship in American History) has joined the Excuse My Accent team.
Question #2: You acknowledge the mental health aspect of BTH & your music. Would you say mental health & mental illness is talked about enough in society & art as a whole - or would you say there’s room for improvement? What would you suggest?
Answer: I believe we are starting to come to a place where mental health is recognized, yet much more work is needed. We need to create an air of comfortability speaking about our mental health, especially in marginalized groups. It's no secret that we are living in pressing times. Everyone has been affected by the pressure in one way or another. Through my creative company, Dream Roots Creative and Excuse MyAccent, I have personally been working to destigmatize speaking about our mental health with NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Health), specifically the NAMI Whatcom and NAMI Pierce County chapters. Recently I have developed a campaign called ‘One Word One Story’ with the Nami focused on highlighting stories of overcoming mental health challenges.
You can learn more about that at namipiercecounty.org and NamiWhatCom. I can tell
you there is a lot of work to be done. As creatives, we have an opportunity to use our platform to create a foundation for the discussion to be made. Working with the veteran population, it has been an honor to be able to lay a platform for the conversation to happen.
Question #3: Here at Bravemaker, we saw you express yourself as a Documentary filmmaker & music artist. Are there any more ventures coming up?
Answer: Yes. I have a music project coming out soon, and you can learn more about the music being released at robyoungmusic.com. I recently released a song called “Lulla Bye” about the pressure of black fatherhood during this very complex time. We are also working on more film projects that will dive into intercultural experiences and
celebrate culture as a whole through our Excuse My Accent platform. You can also learn more about that at Excusemyaccent.com.
We intend to continue our work with the Bring Them Home documentary, partnering with ACLU South and IMMDEF to continue bringing awareness to the deported veterans issue as
well as supporting comprehensible solutions to the problem at hand.
For those who have not had the privilege to attend the Bravemaker Film Festival & see the
film, Bring Them Home dishes out some harsh truths as many documentaries do. It is a
reminder that even the strongest people can be vulnerable when their limits are reached as human beings. It also reminds us that the time we dedicate and the sacrifices we make are not always acknowledged nor rewarded to the extent they should be. Thankfully, Young’s platform gives the veterans we see in the film the recognition they deserve.
After hearing the story of Hector Barajas, Rob Young eventually managed to garner awards
from film festivals & release his hit single, Excuse My Accent. Yet, despite the recent successes, Young’s journey is far from finished, for he still has more to offer.
For more information on the film or how to get involved, visit Excusemyaccent.