It was all about service, inspiration and creating new opportunities for emerging filmmakers with powerful messages at the Lens on Talent
Lights! Camera! Action! It was all about service, inspiration and creating new opportunities for emerging filmmakers with powerful messages at the Lens on Talent: Johnson & Johnson Presents Get Focused Panel, which was held at New York University.
Panelists included actress/director Kim Fields, actor/producer Malik Yoba, filmmaker Pete Chatmon (Premium), producer Lisa Cortes (Precious) and Tamir Muhammad, director of the Tribeca Film Festival’s All Access program. The event was held to promote the second season of the BET show, “Lens on Talent,” which is hosted this year by actor, Blair Underwood. Although Blair couldn’t be in attendance, that didn’t stop everyone from having a night of lively discussion.
Special guest speaker, QD3, son of Quincy Jones and a highly successful music/film producer kicked off the panel with important words of encouragement for filmmakers to fearlessly tell the stories of their community.
“It’s important that we document history because no on else is going to tell our stories,” he said. “I was turned away from deals because they said no one would be interested in something positive about hip-hop but you can’t underestimate your audience.”
That responsibility was also noted by Malik, who described how his father inspired him to make a difference in the lives of other young men.
“I created my BET web series ‘Shop Talk,’ for children without dads,” Malik said. “It’s important to have positive images and to provide content that makes people think. I was raised with values by my father and he pointed out to me that many of my friends had no male role model. So I’m very careful with the messages I put out.”
One of the night’s overall themes for Kim was the energy and sense of inspiration in the room that was indicative that there are many more stories waiting to be told in the urban community.
“I applaud these efforts because there are so many talented people and to provide any sort of additional support or opportunity is great. My batteries are being recharged because there are so many great new ideas here and inspiration,” she said.
The energy felt on the panel carried over to the reception at Chinatown Brassiere, where novices and veterans shared new ideas about diversifying the images of the urban community over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. According to General Manager of BET’s Centric channel, Paxton Baker, creating access for new voices is the primary goal of the series.
“We take it seriously whenever we give an opportunity to be a platform for recognizing new talent to the marketplace. I’ve had people give me opportunities so to be able to do the same is a blessing,” he said.
Indeed, there is no doubt that many of those in attendance also found the event a blessing, and were inspired to continue their work of creating more honest and positive images that truly represent people of color in multifaceted ways.
Malik going ‘Undercover’ again