2013 - LOCATION: OAKLAND, CA After 6 years of hustling on the side to direct, produce, and edit my own feature-length exploration of the most pressing issue in the Black community, my film THE BLACK FATHERHOOD PROJECT officially premiered at the historic Grand Lake Theatre to a full and enthusiastic house. It was profoundly exhilarating to have the vision of this film realized, and to have so many friends, family, and colleagues play some part in its realization. Since its release, I've been blessed to be invited screen it at community centers, workplaces, high schools and universities around the country in a meaningful way. Fortunately, I found a home for my unique experience, passion, skills and expertise at Frontline Solutions, a consulting shop specializing in philanthropy and social change for three years. In January 2016, I began a new role at PolicyLink as a Senior Associate, focused on education and violence prevention policy advocacy, expansion of the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color network, and improving collaborative initiatives related to race and gender equity.
2008 - LOCATION: WASHINGTON, DC While finishing my Master's in Mass Communication and Media Studies at Howard University, I led a program at the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation called Black Youth Vote! My first "real" job, I was on a sharp learning curve to the DC way of advocacy, professionalism, and networking. BYV! gave me the opportunity to work with young people across the country there were passionate about making an impact in their communities, and we registered Black youth for the 2006 and 2008 election seasons -- both exciting from a progressive's point of view!
I began teaching as an Americorps member in Newark, NJ later that year, and experienced firsthand the perseverance of students, parents, and teachers in our outmoded and under-resourced public education system. My classroom teaching days were short however, as my heart was stubbornly stuck on an unfinished passion project I had started a few years earlier.
1983 - LOCATION: PORTLAND, OR I was born in late April of this year to a young interracial couple from a small, working class town in western Illinois, who moved to Portland just a few years previous in hopes of finding a more tolerant setting and new job opportunities. I picked up a basketball as a toddler and didn't put it down until I went to college, pretty much. The only time I did was when I picked up the camcorder and started making home movie versions of "Friday" (mine: "Thursday") and "Above the Rim" (mine: "Air Cooper Mtn"), using my little brother and neighbors as the leading cast members. Still, it was my relationship with basketball that helped me become socially accepted among my majority white peers, and it is on the court where I that I was able to prove myself as valuable and equal. My father, and the cohort of brothers he hung around with, were a saving grace as black male role models in my teen years. Through them, I saw a positive future for myself and overcame my academic struggles to get into college.
2003 - LOCATION: EUGENE, OR I made the brilliant decision to transfer to the University of Oregon my junior year to study in the School of Journalism and Communication, where I discovered my love for documentary film and non-fiction storytelling. I was lucky enough to be a part of the Oregon Documentary Project, and have my first directorial debut on Oregon's PBS station my senior year. The film that aired, FOOTPRINTS IN THE STRUGGLE; THE BEATRICE CANNADY STORY was nominated for a regional Emmy in the student documentary category, and still airs on that station today.
At the University of Oregon, I did more than I can imagine doing these days. The big college environment was invigorating and I was compelled to take on many responsibilities: Organizing with the Oregon Student Association / USSA; Leading our university chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Serving as a key staff member for the Multicultural Center; Editing a segment on DUCK U TV; Working part time at Subway; and Interning at KVAL TV as well as KBOO Radio. Somehow between all that I still found time to go to class and kick-it!