Local News Prep Sports West Edition

Watts Rams release short film on their journey

The Los Angeles Rams, in partnership with Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions and TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles are launching a two-minute film called “What’s Watts — A Story of Transformation” that highlights the journey of the Watts Rams youth football program.

In addition, a behind-the-scenes video from the filming of “What’s Watts” debuted in-stadium during Monday Night Football Nov. 25 when the Los Angeles Rams hosted the Baltimore Ravens at the LA Memorial Coliseum.  

The Watts Rams are a youth football program founded by the Los Angeles Police Department, which focuses on bridging community and police relations through the game of football. All 85 Watts Rams players were invited to attend the Rams game and the Watts Rams JV team, recent winners of the Pop-Warner Southern California Conference, stood with the Rams on the sideline during the national anthem.

“When the Watts’ LAPD decided to join forces with the local community to create a youth football team back in 2012, they started to change the narrative around the community of Watts,” said Renato Fernandez, chief creative officer of TBWA\Chiat\Day LA. “The Watts Rams have sent a powerful, inspiring message that we hope our film captures and spreads across America and around the globe. 

“We saw firsthand how the Rams have become part of the community and are making a lasting impact. Ultimately we hope other teams are inspired by their example and take action in their own communities.”

The film tells the story of the founding of the Watts Bears in 2012 to the Watts Rams of today and illustrates how the Watts Rams continue to be an example of the transformation happening in Watts by highlighting the wave of change LAPD officers have led in the community.  

Told from the perspective of the first and only boy who showed up to the first practice in 2012, the film shows the team slowly growing from one to five to 15 to 85 kids.  

“What’s Watts” culminates at the recent Rams Family Thanksgiving dinner with the 85 Watts Rams players, Los Angeles Rams players, and the LAPD officers and coaches, during which AVP surprised each Watts Rams player with a $500 gift card to allow them to share the joy of Thanksgiving with their families.

“The AVP foundation really believes in the focus of giving locally to help strengthen neighborhoods and change lives,” said Melissa Hill, director of public affairs and government relations, the Albertsons Companies Foundation.

Watts-native Brandon “Stix” Salaam-Bailey provided the voiceover for the film. Born and raised in Watts, Salaam-Bailey has been a rapper, record producer, songwriter and entrepreneur over the last 16 years. However, his involvement with music is just the tip of the iceberg. He is an advocate for giving back to his community through his Think Watts Foundation, and continues to use music as a platform for something bigger.

“Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and celebrate family, and the Watts Rams are an important part of our Rams family,” said Molly Higgins, Los Angeles Rams vice president of community affairs and engagement. “This powerful video produced by Chiat\Day is a unique opportunity to thank the LAPD officers and Watts Rams coaches, who are helping to transform our Watts community and change the lives of our youth. We are also incredibly thankful for our partners at AVP for their generous donation of $500 gift cards to ensure each Watts Rams player has a Thanksgiving meal.” 

Entering the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Rams formalized their support of the youth football program and the LAPD’s efforts to bridge community and police relations through the game of football by renaming the Watts Bears, the Watts Rams. As part of the partnership, the Los Angeles Rams are funding all components of the Watts Rams program, including uniforms and equipment. 

Throughout the year, the Rams are providing engagement opportunities with current players, alumni, coaches, scouts, and football operations staff, as well as hosting a career day for the Watts Rams players to expose them to business opportunities within the sports industry as a way to expand their knowledge and ignite their passions beyond the playing field. 

Additionally, for every Los Angeles Rams home game, a Watts Rams player serves as a community water boy of the game in recognition of their efforts in their classroom, their community and on the field. 

Wave Staff Report