Monthly Archives: August 2010

Responding to inspiration instantly–and having fun =)

We shot this music video entirely on an HTC Evo. We are both big fans of Lauryn Hill and got the inspiration for making this short after hearing Lauryn Hill’s “Repercussions.”  Moments later, Miriam said: “We have to make this movie tonight!” So we did.

We shot this in about 2 hours and pulled an all-nighter editing it–once we got into it, we couldn’t stop working, laughing at ourselves and having fun.

Miriam introduced me to Lauryn Hill’s repercussions last night. Afterwards, I said: “I liked the song, but I’m not sure I would want to be driving in my car saying to myself: Repercussions! Repercussions! Repercussions!

Then, we bounced ideas off of each other about examples of repercussions. Your credit card gets declined–repercussions. Your car gets towed–repercussions. Your phone gets stolen–repercussions.

We also wanted to poke fun at bad music videos with some of the effects.

Fun is powerful.

We know this project isn’t perfect, but it wasn’t meant to be. “Repercussions” was fun to make, that’s why we made it.

This project showed us the importance of not taking yourself to seriously and appreciating inspiration when it comes.

Living Unchained is a Journey

Guest post by Felicia Montgomery

Felicia Montgomery dedicates her life to connecting communities through creative communications as a non-profit fundraising and communications expert, social entrepreneur and multi-media producer. She resides in Washington, DC and blogs, tweets, and speaks on issues ranging from philanthropy and social business to race and human rights. Contact her or follow her musings at http://twiter.com/4socialgood or http://www.linkedin.com/in/feliciamontgomery.

When I learned of Live Unchained and its focus on women of African descent, I think the image was rather literal in my head. Since the end of slavery, we have been living in a sense, unchained.

Yet, I thought it was rather interesting to explore that thought, that question of “are we truly living unchained?” If so, how are we achieving that? What factors inhibit our ability to live unchained? And, what sparks the desire for some to go down a different path that varies from the strict social construct of the black woman living in the Americas.

I’m proud that there are projects like Live Unchained that seek to provide a spotlight on so many black women living in the nexus of creativity, activism, entrepreneurship, technology and communications. I definitely put myself in that category.

Continue reading

Interview with Imaginative Scientist Nyokabi Musila: What Science Can Teach Us About Art, Africa and Ourselves

Kenyan blogger Nyokabi Musila has a scientific mind and an artistic spirit. She believes science is a tool that can help us decide which questions to ask. While living in London, Nyokabi came to wonder: “What does Africa really mean?” She continues to return to this idea, exploring the representation of Africa and Africans in the arts.

Nyokabi is a pharmacist with a PhD in pre-clinical drug development and is currently based in Nairobi, where she has been working in a research team that has supported the development of Kenya’s first national evidence-based policy for pediatric care. Also, a columnist for a national Kenyan newspaper, she discusses the medicinal properties of food.

She nurtures her creative side by writing on various arts, including film, theatre and photography that reflect African realities on the blog www.sci-cultura.com, under the not-so-secret pseudonym, “sci-culturist.” One of her latest posts discusses photography and film projects on Nubians in Kenya and colonial legacies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here she shares her views on scientific thought, the arts, Africa and what she wants people to gain from her writing.

Why did you start the Sci-Cultura blog? What does Sci-Cultura mean?

I started Sci-Cultura for the very self-indulgent reason that I wanted to create a space where I could express my thoughts and also engage with like-minded people who were interested in the similar topics. I was bubbling up with stuff I wanted to say and blogging was the easiest outlet. In effect it is a public journal. I started off rather impersonal and factual but somewhere along the way, quite early on, I unknowingly started to inject more of me in my writing.

The meaning of Sci-Cultura is a bit like the blog itself – it has evolved, which I suppose is reflective of me as a person and what is going on for me. I’m sure you’ve gathered that I made it up. I wanted a name that expressed my scientific persona and that also incorporated a single word that captures the human experience. Cultura is the Spanish word for culture, which just rolled off my mind and I liked the ring to it. Overall, it is about the meeting of 2 worlds – science and the arts. I had initially planned for the science aspect to be obvious but found myself being led to a more subtle expression – the root of science is about seeking answers to questions.

Can you tell us about your background, and how it influences what you feature on your site?

I started the blog as a Kenyan living in London, England. Someone has said this before – when you land in Heathrow, you take on a new identity – you are labeled an African. I felt the drive to explore how being African was being expressed in the arts and to answer the question: “What does African really mean?” Continue reading

Creative Entrepreneurs Creating Their Own Path

The process of getting your work out to a larger audience and even *silence* financially profiting from it, can seem challenging–just like the creative process. In reality, working to share and earn a living from your work can actually be rewarding. But, you shouldn’t go about it alone.

If you are prepared to make an investment in taking your artistic career to the next level, Evelyn Bandoh is someone you should know. She believes your art deserves to be seen and that you deserve to eat.

Evelyn, artist, entrepreneur and financial expert, created EAB Creative Planning Services, LLC, to offer financial training, advising and coaching for creative entrepreneurs and creative, arts-based nonprofit organizations.

We had the opportunity to chat with her about her services and the special needs of creative entrepreneurs. Evelyn has a refreshing personality and is equal parts inspiration and beauty–so much so that I had to get me a hug before turning off the camera. (Please excuse the wind in the background.)

Honesty

There truly is liberation in honesty. Jill Scott was very open about her past sexual experiences in this 2008 piece from Def Poetry Jam.

I think it shows the power of honesty–it led the way to her epiphany.

The Power of Cinema and Sweet Potato Pie: Nijla Mu’min Discusses Film-Making, Creativity and the Art of Making it Work

Deeply moved by Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Nijla Mu’min sought a career that would capture audience’s imaginations and combine her interests in writing and visual art. She followed her passion, making her first film guerilla style in the wee hours of the morning in Oakland, California. Nijla earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley in Mass Communications and attended Howard University’s MFA film program. Here she discusses her path to making films and starting her own production company, Sweet Potato Pie Productions–named after her grandmother’s “life-changing” delicacies. She also explains her latest project Salaam, gives her take on the creative process and shares practical advice for making films on a budget.

How did you become interested in film-making?

I’ve been drawn to cinema since I was a young girl. My father would take my siblings and I to matinees at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, which is something of a bay area landmark. We’d sneak in fried fish sandwiches and Hanson’s sodas and watch films. If I can single out one of those experiences that had the most impact on me, it’d be when he took us to see Malcolm X, by Spike Lee. As the audience cried, cheered, hollered, and fully engaged with the film, I realized the impact that movies could have on people.

Continue reading

She Dreams in Digital: Interview with Artist and Creator of African Digital Art, Jepchumba

Given the lack of African representation in the digital media industry, Jepchumba, the creator of African Digital Art, thought it was important to showcase and connect various artists across Africa that are making their mark on visual culture. The quality of innovative, professional and thought-provoking works we see on African Digital Art is amazing. Jepchumba is a visual artist, herself, specializing in web design, digital art and audio and video production. She tells us why she started African Digital Art, how she keeps up with the trends and how you can get connected with the network of artists she represents.

"Attack of Jepchumba" by artist Jepchumba

How did you become interested in digital art?

My journey into digital art was a reluctant one. Since I could remember I was always interested in graphic art, I think I get it from my Mom, she is the creative one in my family. However, I never considered myself an artist mainly because I didn’t recognize that I had any talent in it. When I went to college for my undergrad, I majored in Criticial Social Thought and we were always required to write long long papers, I found that I always ended up doing some sort of creative project to express my ideas rather than just using words. I soon found out that I had successfully completed a large amount of digital projects from films, animations, web design projects, games and more. I recognized that I actually loved combining technology and art and pursuing digital art would only be a natural progression.

You’ve linked your appreciation for digital art with your love of Africa on African Digital Art. Can you tell us about the African Digital Art website? Why do you think it is so important to curate this space online and bring together African artists?

Continue reading