Working with local non-profits in their cities, the 2012 fellows will lift up lesser-known truths about “game changers” in their community. In addition to being emerging filmmakers, they are “activist storytellers.” They feel very passionate about social issues and are keenly aware of media’s potential to change hearts and minds about what life really looks like for Black men in our society — from fatherhood, justice, employment, and education, to identity, relationships, health, and more.
Click a portrait below to get more information about the fellows.
“As a part of the 2012 Game Changers Project I’d like to create media that shows the imaginative and enduring spirit of black men and boys. I’m particularly interested in investigating the way under resourced people both invent and erupt existing social currents. Black men have always emerged as complex, flawed, compelling, and heroic dreamers coming out of extremely harsh conditions. These are the stories I want to tell.”
Muthi Reed is a writer, media maker, and oral history documentarian living and working in Philadelphia. They earned a B.A. in history and sociology from Sarah Lawrence College. They have advanced their studies at the New School for Social Research, Temple University, and the Scribe Video Center.
Notions of language, noise, and space become story bearers in Muthi’s work. They identifies our everyday rituals and surroundings as witnesses in a collaborative cipher, using media to project, repeat, and envision our stories in broader context.
Chris’s mission with the Game Changers Project is the same that of the East of Liberty series: to educate and save young lives. Chris believes that media is an indispensable tool for reaching young black men and boys, and that it’s crucial for African-Americans to control the impact of media in our communities, instead of being controlled by media entities.
Chris Ivey is an award-winning filmmaker who has received recognition for his short film works at the Tokyo Video Festival, Carolina Film Festival and the Cin(E) Poetry Festival. After moving to Pittsburgh and attending Pittsburgh Filmmakers in 1995, Chris went on to directing award-winning commercials with producer Amy Lamb of Lumiere Films.
One of Chris’ passions is using his skills as a commercial director to help artists and small businesses continually strengthen their organizations and portfolios. Through these endeavors, Chris has proven that with style, creativity, and innovation, you do not need multi-size budgets to create memorable works.
As a well-recognized artist and documentarian in Pittsburgh’s independent art scene, Chris has collaborated with local organizations including the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum.
The kind of media that Carl wants to create to reframe the image of black men and boys is media that will dispel certain ideologies that are readily accepted in the black community. Ills that we all know plague the proper development of black men. The goal is to create content that will impact black men and boys that implements solutions and ideas that will help elevate them.
Carl Seaton grew up with a strong affinity for movies and television shows. The meteoric rise of the VCR turned this affinity in to a full-blown addiction.
He attended Columbia College in Chicago where he studied Directing and Screenwriting. Despite driving his instructors crazy, and leading a coup d’état in the film equipment room, Carl still managed to graduate with Honors.
Despite having a degree, the education to become a filmmaker is an ongoing process that is intertwined with theory and practice. It is continued by studying the great films from all over the globe and making films that allow you to grow as a director.
Because a film degree doesn’t warrant you an instant job as a director, nor does it conclude your educational process, school was followed by a series of jobs as a production assistant on various music videos, commercials, and thesis films. These vast experiences helped further his education and inform Carl that for him to direct he would have to hire himself. He began shooting short films and writing extensively.
As a storyteller, I look to empower and give voice to the voiceless, or deliver value to what we often do not see on mainstream TV: how many of our young black males are doing something extremely positive with their lives and families!
I am 25 years old, and lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since age of one, after moving from Brooklyn, New York with my sister and mother. I have always felt and seen, (even with a family so great) the pressures of being a young black male, seeking identity and purpose in a society which I learned was not originally designed for success to those who look like me. As I grew from a boy to a man, learned and still learning what it requires to be one who stands out in a world of triumph, I began to understand as a black man I must begin to write my own history and tell our own story… Malcolm X stated, “Education is the passport to the future.” Therefore, after a struggling path in high school, I enrolled in college for an Associates Degree in Teacher Education. I currently teach in inner-city community centers and schools; literature programs, sex education, youth/community empowerment & building, etc. I believe when I was young, I slipped through the cracks because I didn’t believe in what I saw around me, then I seen importance in having just something to believe in, which gave me hope to keep fighting.
I want to create films that drastically recast the common role of the Black male. Black men are commonly cast as lazy, violent, and ignorant. For my project at Game Changer, I want to create an image that Black men are hardworking and capable of anything expected of other men. Also black men are not violent, lazy and ignorant, that is the image I want to reframe for black men.
When I came to the United States, I started my formal education at Schenley High School and then transferred to Allderdice High School. I transferred to Allderdice, because I was in the ESL program at Schenley and after my junior year Schenley stopped having an ESL program. After I graduated from high school, I went to the Community College of Allegheny County for Business. I attended CCAC for a year and a half before transferring to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I’m currently attending AIP, and I’m majoring in Filmmaking and Video Production. I will graduate from AIP in the summer of 2012 with an Associate’s Degree in these areas of study.
I want to tell stories that the media and the public do not talk about. I want to show people the things in society that go on unnoticed. I also hope to tell stories about successful Black men who are doing something to change the world for the better. The media portrays Black men as violent underachievers. I want to show the public that this is not the case. I want to uplift my community.
His vision as a storyteller comes from his background in Hip Hop and spoken word poetry. Everyone has a story to tell and although many do not always have the access to tell it in the mainstream media, one can always find a way to make something out of nothing.
Frank Antonio López graduated in 2010 from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a focus on documentary filmmaking and film education. In 2006 and 2009, he was nominated by his professors for the Oliver Stone Screenwriting Award for over-achievement in the field of storytelling. He has filmed documentaries all over New York City, as well as internationally, with a focus on social justice issues, in such places as Mexico City, South Africa, and Tanzania. In 2009-2010 he studied abroad with NYU in Havana, Cuba where he taught an 8-week high school film program.
His film, “Black Boys Don’t Cry: Manhood in Urban America” screened at an international film festival in Ghana, at the historical Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and at NYU. Frank aims to tell stories that highlight the lives and legacies of black and brown men to both empower and inspire his audience. His mission is to pass the mic, celebrate the voices of his community and create real social change in his society.
My vision as a storyteller is defined by a myriad of things but is primarily informed by my own personal experiences and my engagement with life. As a storyteller my stories first and foremost reflect who I am as a person and that is comprised of my interest, my environment and my active participation in daily life. Stories that attract me are those of the muted voices whose unique lives are silenced in a world who don’t care to know of their struggle and the beauty that their lives encompass in spite of it all.
My name is Adewole A. Abioye and I’m of Nigerian descent born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I attended Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and majored in Political Science before dropping out and pursuing film on a full-time basis. I lived in the beautiful city of St. Louis, Missouri for 3 ½ years prior to living here in Chicago, Illinois where I currently attend film school at Columbia College Chicago in the heart of the South Loop.
I want to create an honest and critical examination of the condition of young black men in this country. It’s imperative that as storyteller’s we are responsible in the way we tell our stories given the influence of visual media today in our society. The youth today are grossly affected by what’s presented by our media and it’s important for black youths to see varied images of men of African descent so that they know that their dreams are attainable and can become actual manifestations.
He believes that just as media is a powerful tool for the stereotyping and caricaturizing of the black male, it can also be just as powerful for the truth-telling of their humanity. Therefore the depicting or the expressing of the hopes, dreams, fears, loves, etc. of the black male on film is the means by which James hopes to present an image of the humanity of the black male to the public conscious.
James Robertson is a 21 year old 2011 graduate of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with an Associate of Science in Music (with honors). He completed his final semester of studies with a 4.0 grade point average. During his Junior College experience he served as Vice President and member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and Sigma Omicron Chapter at Boyce Campus. He is a member of the Honors Program and received Deans Honor Roll awards. He was nominated Male Student of the Year and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He plans to pursue a Bachelor degree in film studies and music at a university in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.
James’ vision is to give his audience the real world look into the humanity of the “other”; the other being those that are considered to be outside the norm of what is perceived to be “good” and “acceptable” in our society.
“I hope to highlight black men who overcame adversity to become successful in their respective fields and who strongly believe in giving back to their communities.”
Emcee and community activist Jasiri X is the creative force and artist behind the ground breaking internet news series, This Week with Jasiri X which has garnered critical acclaim, thousands of subscribers, and millions of internet views. From the controversial viral video “What if the Tea Party was Black?” to the hard hitting hilarity of “Republican Woman…stay away from me,” Jasiri X cleverly uses Hip-Hop to provide social commentary on a variety of issues. His videos have been featured on websites as diverse as Allhiphop.com and The Huffington Post and Jasiri has been a guest on The Michael Baisden Show, Free Speech TV, Left of Black, and Russia Today.
A six-time Pittsburgh Hip Hop Award winner, Jasiri recently became the first Hip Hop artist to received the coveted August Wilson Center for African American Culture Fellowship. A founding member of the anti-violence group One Hood, Jasiri started the New Media Academy to teach young African-American boys how to analyze and create media for themselves.
Jasiri has performed from New York City to Berlin, Germany and various cities in between, including recently in front of 30,000 at the “Our Communities Our Jobs Rally” in Los Angeles. He has toured colleges and universities across the country presenting his innovative workshop, “How to Succeed in Hip-Hop Without Selling Your Soul,” and is working on a book of the same name. He also blogs for Jack and Jill Politics, Daveyd.com, and The Black Youth Project. Jasiri X signed a record deal with Wandering Worx Entertainment and is currently working on his album, Ascension with acclaimed producer Rel!g!on.
“I believe that people of Afrikan descent who are involved in media must do all they can to produce and distribute high quality media that represents the Afrikan Diaspora in a multifaceted way.”
Shaka Jamal Redmond is a spirited artist from Oakland, California. After graduating from Tuskegee with a Bachelor’s Degree in History, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Xawela Village in the Limpopo Province of South Afrika. He has worked as a tutor and counselor in Oakland, teaching youth to express themselves through multi-media at the grassroots level, and also at the San Francisco Film Society.
Graduating from San Francisco State’s MFA Cinema program in 2011, Shaka continues to produce and collaborate on documentaries, feature films, music, and music videos with artists from around the world. Shaka is currently employed as the sound mixer on I (Almost) Got Away With It, a cable television series on Discovery, owns OLU8, a full service new media production company specializing in short form film and video, and is Co-Founder of Black Apes Project, an edutainment multi-media collaborative that challenges viewers and listeners to envision a better today.