I have been blessed with a passion and a gift to help bring light into the world through art and film. As a young black Christian girl, I have been stereotyped many times. This is one of the subjects my first film “Labeled” addressed. I made this film with the help of the Youth Documentary Academy. It went on to be screened at the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 2018, “LABELED” was selected to be screened at the All American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) in New York City. “The All-American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) is the premier destination for talented high school filmmakers and media arts enthusiasts from around the world.” It had been a dream of mine to go to New York for years. With the support of some very generous partners, my dream became a reality. I am interested in attending NYU as well as a few other film schools in the New York area. I was able not only to see my film screened at the AAHSFF but was able to visit NYU, becoming convinced that this was indeed my goal. In addition, while in New York, I had the opportunity to gain more knowledge of the film industry, acquire many new tools, had access to industry professionals and multiple educational institutions at the film festival.
In 2018, my journey in film also took me to Los Angeles, California. I was 1 of 21 girls selected out of 1300, to participate in the AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab, which is Reese Witherspoon’s Production Company. We spent 8 days in Los Angeles filming a documentary under the guidance of mentors and professionals. We had the opportunity, not only to learn filmmaking techniques from the mentors but to meet and interview some of the most influential industry women in Hollywood, from music editor Julie Pearce to cinematographer Kira Kelly. They paid for the flight and hotel which made this possible for me. I created 8 pieces of original art, which I sold to support the rest of the expenses of this trip. This was an opportunity of a lifetime.
I am confident that art and film are the directions my life is to be going. Art and film are my career choice, but I feel it is also the choice that encompasses my purpose. In other words, it chose me. I have developed a new confidence in the past year. I have come to appreciate my talent with humility and have recognized that I do have a unique ability. I can confidently meet new people and show off my culture, creativity, and who I am as a young black woman.
I have come to realize that what I have to give does not belong to me, and so I must give it away. But I have to make sure that I take care of myself so that I am my best. I am aware of the things that make me the best me that I can be. I make sure to honor and respect my family and friends. I am careful to surround myself with good people who are making good choices. I try my best to take care of myself, from eating right to staying active. This is modeled in my family who sets a good example and holds me accountable.
I am very active in my church youth group. In church, my Pastor has given me the opportunity to give back, by painting pieces that relate to the messages he teaches. I paint while he teaches and the art is hung on the wall. I am also very active in school. I am on the dance team, I am in KRAM, an in-school student broadcasting program, and I am a member of the multicultural club.
Recently, I was able to create a piece of art to be hung in my school counselor’s office. She said she wanted to have something in her office that would encourage students when they saw it. She loved my art piece, and it feels good to know that she can use it to help other students.