“To the Girl That Looks Like Me” (short film)
What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
Cricket Wireless HBCU campaign, July 2021.
How did you get into directing?
When I was younger my mum would take my brother and I to “Reading Wednesdays” each week without fail. Both of my parents pressed the importance of reading and expanding our knowledge so books were everywhere in our house. I became entranced with fantasy novels and loved that books gave me the freedom to imagine my own visuals. However, when my favorite novels were developed into films, I realized that none of the characters I’d connected with so strongly looked like me. I started to re-write my favorite stories to change this, where each lead character looked, sounded, smelled and dressed like myself and my family. Where the protagonist slept in her bonnet before waking up to save the world. Where there was fufu on the table and banku cooking on the stove. This started my journey into screenwriting. Once I realized that I could change these narratives by being the one who called the shots, I put all my energy into becoming a director.
What is your most recent project?
Cricket Wireless Holiday campaign.
What is the best part of being a director?
Taking a tiny idea from the page and transforming it to the screen. I love overseeing the journey from pre production, into production and finally post. The magic of gathering a stellar team to bring a vision to life is the best thrill in the world. Each morning I wake up and remember I do this for my career I get goosebumps.
What is the worst part of being a director?
Impostor Syndrome. With each success comes a nagging voice that tries to convince me I don’t deserve it.
What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
Commercials and short form content (films and music videos). I love drama and suspense and most of my work nods in this direction, but I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. I really love exploring new genres and mediums, comedy is definitely on my bucket list.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in a small town called Stewartsville. My family frequented the church so much of my initial inspirations came from there. The theater ministry really fostered my love for music and performance. My dad made my siblings and me join the church speech and debate team, and each Sunday we’d compete in speech competitions. I started to recognize the power of performance and storytelling and researched famous speakers and studied them. I fell in love with spoken word poets and incorporated poetry into my speeches. Slowly, I began to write my own, then perform my own. Poetry was my oasis, an escape from constructs: at school, at church, at home, wherever, poetry allowed me to scribble outside of the lines.
How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
At the start of the pandemic, I felt artistically stagnant. But then Mother Nature threw my family some heavy curveballs and I realized how unpredictable life could be. That gave me this internal push to not just leave the idea on a shelf, to just create and follow through.