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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

REELing in “For Flow”

In Griot, Movies, Music, Networking, News, Self Improvement on March 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm

So you were wondering HOW TO break into the film industry? What to do and where to go? How about starting with a little schooling and formal education and then straightaway to the film festivals?

You’ve got to support the festival of events that will eventually support you. Right? After all support begats so support, so you know I was all too excited to hear that my “reel brother” from NY Kesav Murthy Wable was bringing his film “FOR FLOW” to last weeks 5th Annual Texas Black Film Festival to be screened along side my own submission. I was ecstatic!

I met Kesav/DeeGrand on Twitter. Yes – I said Twitter. As of late, I have met more than a few people who profess to be “networking guru’s” but they’re not connected to TWITTER. I don’t know about them, but with no budget for major mass marketing, I rely on free networking through sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as mass emailing to get my message out.

Let me clarify: I don’t use FACEBOOK as much as I used to, back in the day (2006), because now my Mom, and grandma are on it and well let’s just say it’s not the same.

Back to Kesav (actor, writer, TWITTER follower): He won the 2006-07 Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) inaugural South Asian Playwriting Fellowship at the Lark Theatre and Play Development Center for the piece, “For Flow”. Wable, with the help of co-producers Randall L. Sawyer and Stephen L. Smith (together, “25 to Life Productions, LLC), staged “For Flow” at Theater for New City — for a successful three week run. Kesav then adapted the play into a short film, shot and cut by Jason Camp, (facebook.com/ForFlow) which was an official selection at the Texas Black Film Festival and is nominated for best short film, winning an honorary Award of Excellence from the Canada International Film Festival. One of the actors in “For Flow”, Vladimi Versailles (Kane), can be seen in theaters across the country in the film “Mooz-lum”.

Wable’s first play, “Ashoka’s Wheel”, was selected as part of Chicago’s Rasaka Theatre’s reading series in 2004 and the next year, featured as a finalist in the Chicago Dramatists’ “Many Voices Project”. As an actor, he appeared as ‘Darius’ in Yong Soo Pak’s film Antigone 5000. He has performed in numerous stage productions including King Lear as ‘Edmund’ at the Underhill Theater, Brooklyn; as ‘Hossein’ inKhaddish in East Jerusalem at Theater for the New City and Murellus in Julius Caesar at Harlem’s National Black Theater. Kesav is also a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, ’08 and a practicing attorney.

It’s obvious Kesav has talent and can REEL’y blow…
He’s also pretty versed in script skills thus presenting: FOR FLOW.

You know SUPPORT is my thang and Kesav was right up my ally;
I’m a #Networking Queen and Twittering is on “my daily tally”.

If you missed “FOR FLOW” at the TBFF strut,
perhaps you can catch it in Vancouver, Canada.

This brother is on the move and his reel skill is making its rounds.
I had to “PUT HIM ON” because his go getter spirit deserves a pound!

My short film “THE CAUCUS” was composed like a PSA – I’m bound to educate,
I’m Qui
digging Kesav
for Twitting me out to network support and reel relate.

Stills from FOR FLOW

PLOT SYNOPSIS: Shot on location, in the birthplace of hip-hop. Two MC’s (rappers) wait for a record producer on a lonely street corner of the Bronx. Their meeting will change that corner forever.

Afrika Owes will soon “Cash In”

In Communication, Griot, Music, Networking, News on March 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Afrika Owes for thug life crimes???

And noshe didn’t win the lottery.

I learned of Afrika’s tale on BlackVoices & I was sobered. Naturally, I had to pass it on. It seems that RAP has birthed some pretty daunting realities for the kids that were raised on countless stories of “coming up in the hood – slanging dope for financial good”. Many took it to heart — and our countrys prisons are bursting at the seams with young African American adults who thought it was a good idea to: play thug.

Next to reside in the joint – Meet: AFRIKA OWES. It’s not a stage name nor is her story unique, but it sure is a huge and sad loss for a race of people to be losing IVY LEAGUE potentials to “the street game” that Jay Z has glorified and makes billions off of.

BlackVoices publishes the details in this scenario of adolescent hell:

Boyce Watkins, PhD recently spoke to a group of aspiring college students in a group called “Black Achievers.” He said, The group invited me to speak, because I talk regularly about the value of education as well as confronting the structural obstacles that make it difficult for our kids to find success.

One thing I brought to the table that the students and their parents might not have expected, though, is the need for us to confront the destructive elements of hip-hop culture, which teach our good kids that “keeping it real” is something that should be done at all costs, even when it causes them to lose their lives.

The reason I brought this issue to the forefront of the discussion was because of young women like Afrika Owes (pictured).

Afrika is a 17-year-old who was once headed to an Ivy League school, but rather than going to anyone’s university, she may be spending most of her adult life in prison.

Afrika was recently arrested for being part of a drug ring controlled by her boyfriend, who allegedly ran the operation from the penitentiary. “Head shots only,” he would reportedly tell her from behind bars as he detailed how he wanted people to be executed.

“She loves him,” a source said in court, “and she’s prepared to adjust her Ivy League dreams around him.”

According to police, Owes and her boyfriend were part of the 137th Street Crew, a gang in Harlem that is being charged with selling crack and other drugs in the community. They were not only charged with dealing drugs, but also with bringing in young women to carry their weapons for them. The men allegedly ran the drug operation from Rikers Island prison.

“She’s a good girl,” said Karen Owes. “This may be what’s happening right now, but we’re going to get through this …She’s well-liked and well-loved.”

Afrika is hardly the kind of young woman you’d expect to be involved in any kind of illegal activity. She’d won a poetry contest and a scholarship to Deerfield Academy, a prestigious prep-school with a tuition cost of $43,800 per year. She was also a vocal member of the school’s Black Student Coalition.

“She was a highly ambitious girl,” said prep school pal Lotanna Uzo. “Everybody knew who she was. Everybody liked her … always had a smile on her face.”

The indictment, which is 51 pages, presents Afrika in a Bonnie and Clyde role with her boyfriend, Jaquan “Jay Cash” Layne.
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Crazy right? Read the remainder of Afrika’s story HERE.

We blamed Boo-Boo’s moma when he went to jail
for raising him in a ghetto, crime infested hood hell.

Who knew we’d be in jeopardy for negating a mention
to the parents of the Ivy league potential who’s now bound for prison?

I’d hate to shallowly think that RAP MUSIC influences all bad –
But is it not true that our society is responsible for glorifying fads?

HIP HOP is not a fad – though it does glorify the nightmare that urban radio is;
Airwaves fancy pushing gutter trash for palm greasing cash – but have no spins for Will.

Wise Hip Hop exists though not supporting it — is the going phenomina.
I know I speak the truth. Ask Mos Def, Jasiri X, Talib and Common.

Afrika Owes is no different from your cousin who was caught selling;
such aspirations pending
could’ve been winning –
though todays headlines are opposite telling.

Why is the thug life so compelling?
Why are Tupac & Biggie eternally resting?

What kind of game did they build – what kind of game did they help sell?
It is our fascination with “the high life” that is sending our children to an early hell.

I ask you — because Afrika Owes is indeed our futures truths,
I’m Qui

and that trash called radio rap – needs to be re-written or perhaps rebuked.

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