On January 12, 2018, I was invited to give a screening and presentation at the 6th Annual Black Comic Book Festival at The Schomburg Center in Harlem NYC. It was an incredible experience. When I first created the series back in 2015, I always felt like the toughest demographic to reach with the subject of history were Junior High School students. Their attention span is often thwarted by technology, boys, girls, or just lack of interest. Well, that certainly was not the case on stage.
Not only was I able to grab everyone's attention early on, the packed audience of JHS students (and parents and faculty) made me feel as if this was a highly anticipated event for them. I spoke about the importance of representation in the classroom, the encouragement educators should be giving students and reminding them how incredible they are as students. I spoke about my previous experiences and how I felt like the lack of positive representation bothered me so much that I thought, I could either continue to complain about it, or do something about it. This series, was my way of doing something about it.
I went on to speak about the videos and how these heroes impacted my life and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I even watch the videos every so often just to get a boost of inspiration when ever I encounter a difficult obstacle. After the first video ended, the thunderous applause filled me with a joy that I had never felt before. I realized that feeling was that I had "reached" my target market! They loved it. I asked "wouldn't that be a fun way to learn history in your classroom?" and the frigid New York air was quickly warmed by eruption of synchronized voices in the auditorium shouting "yea"! It was obvious to me that none of the press, none of the celebrity "retweets" meant as much to me as the validation that I received from those bright eyed Junior High School kids from Harlem. If there was ever any doubt that I should continue developing more episodes, that doubt was instantly crushed that morning.
Such an honor to have received our 6th Film Festival Award. This one comes from the Atlanta Film Festival that happened in October 2017. This has been an amazing year for Heroes of Color.
This series is a lot of work. I have recently enrolled in a Masters Program in Motion Media Design. I am working on completing a 6 episode DVD/Digital Download, I am working on a children's book series - all to get closer to my passion of educating through art. I work on editing the videos a little bit everyday. While it may seem that I am moving like a turtle inching his way across the terrain, he and I are still making progress. If you work on your goals just a little bit everyday, you will only see progress. Don't stop. Keep moving forward.
As I continue my journey of educating through art, I mistakenly created a cute series of characters from my "Heroes of Color" series, for my kids to enjoy. They loved them and so did some of my friends on instagram, facebook and twitter. I had lots of great comments and support. I even had people asking "where can I pick up some of these books"? So, what started out as just a cute image, has blossomed into a children's book series. I will self publish and work on releasing the books along with the Volume One DVD/Digital download episodes. Stay tuned.
Heroes of Color wins it's 5th Film Festival Award and I couldn't be happier. While I continue to work on the release of "Volume One" which will include 6 new episodes, the Harlem Hellfighters episode is still in heavy rotation in the film festival circuit. Created over two years ago, the short episode remains relevant to the racial turmoil that we still live in. I will work hard to speed up production and get these videos out faster.
What an absolutely amazing experience this was. Not enough words to express my gratitude for having time to interact with the audience on the mission of Heroes of Color and it's relevance in our society.
Heroes of color is an instructional video series honoring the achievements of people of color in and out of the military.