What drove you to storytelling, and visual storytelling specifically?
Funny story, I’ve always had a big imagination as a kid to the point where I really didn’t need toys to make a story come to life. I remember being grounded as a kid and my Dad took away all of my toys for a few hours. I got so bored that I started playing with two pieces of lint I found on the floor as if they were action figures. I was making so much noise that my Dad ran in the room thinking that I hid some toys under my bed. Needless to say, my old man got a kick out of that experience. Eventually, action figures became outdated and by the time I was a high school senior I needed new toys to play with, so through an high school internship program I found a video camera and never looked back.
What led you to submit to the “My Big Show” competition?
In 2012, I was a crew member for the NBPC Documentary series 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School. That experience changed my life and I am thankful for that opportunity because it instilled a passion for Documentary storytelling in me. After that project I found another job but I didn’t feel like I was making a real difference or telling stories that mattered. Eventually, I was let go from that position after dealing with a horrible boss. I wasn’t prepared for my departure and was left with $300 to my name. I took that $300 and rented a better video camera and shot my story on The Goodman League and then made my way inside of Barry Farm. The original concept “Metropolis: The District” was going to be a web series since I did not have any funding or any real outlet behind me. Eventually, I heard of WHUT’s My Big Show competition from some old NBPC colleagues and I submitted my short story and now I am making my dream into reality…It has been a humbling experience.
Why did you choose DC as the foundation of your documentary series?
Washington DC is bursting at the seams with culture and people of different ethnic backgrounds, it is an International city so there’s a lot going on at any given time of year. DC is an interesting city to me since I have a lot of experience living and going to college in Baltimore. Baltimore has a high crime rate, high poverty rate and for lack of a better term the inner city is failing apart. DC doesn’t have a high poverty rate but the income gap is large enough that the city has a large number of homeless people; DC doesn’t have a high crime and there are new buildings under construction literally every day. With that comes some unique stories to be told.
I moved to the H Street Corridor in 2012 and by 2013, the neighborhood had drastically changed. For the first time I saw Gentrification up close and personal, it is a complicated issue that has a lot of pros and a lot of cons. I felt compelled to document the evolution of the city; how it affects the people engulfed in it and what happens to the often neglected communities across the Anacostia river. DC looks and feels like an amazing city to live in, but it has issues that need to be addressed and brought to light. My hope is that “The District” will bring awareness to issues and ignite meaningful conversations that lead to real change so everybody can enjoy Washington DC together.