What a bummer?!?! While I am elated the academic year at Howard University has come to a close and I officially completed the first year of my graduate film school experience, something about this still feels incomplete.
When classes started in January, there was no way any of us could have predicted a pandemic would sweep through the nation and change life as we know it. Classes were migrated to a virtual format, the status of my unfinished film remains in limbo, the film I was scheduled to DP was permanently postponed and my freelance photography / videography gigs were suspended amid curfew and social distancing requirements. Oh, and it gets better … my positions at Live Nation and Landry’s were furloughed as businesses closed. I’ve yet to see a stimulus check or unemployment check and sadly, I’m stuck in a lease in Washington, D.C., one of the most expensive places to live in America. Putting it mildly, my life sucks right now.
Zoom classes are cute and all, but NOT when you are a film student. The program is collaborative in nature! We want access to equipment; we want to crew shoots. Working on group projects remotely with behemoth sized files and varying degrees of software access and system capability is no fun at all. I would have sat this semester out had I known it would wind up online. With talks of additional COVID phases, the likelihood of next semester being online, no program funding for the film program and graduate assistant positions reportedly slashed … an upcoming gap-year seems imminent.
Grades were posted; I just completed the 1st semester of Howard University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA M.F.A) Film program. In this golden age for diverse stories and digital expansion, this is an exciting time to study cinematic arts at THE MECCA, which happens to be sole HBCU with the program. I have a tremendous amount of respect for each student in my cohort and truly feel like I found my “tribe” aka crew. Although there generally isn’t as much of an emphasis on grades in graduate school for creative arts (since more importance lies with your completed body of work), I am proud of the perfect 4.0 GPA I secured this semester. It is imperative that I maintain solid academic standing since I’d like to teach courses in the future, and for now, have hopes of securing a TA slot and competitive internship positions in TV/film/media. This semester was remarkably challenging, but incredibly rewarding.
During winter intermission, I’ll be in New Jersey and New York completing freelance projects. Reach out for bookings and collaborations.
Veritas et Utilitas, “Truth and Service” is the motto for Howard University and represents a vital component of the school’s identity. I have a special affinity for educational initiatives, particularly those that drive young minority women to CREATE. Service is a lifelong commitment and over the years, I volunteered hundreds of hours at various community-based and 501(c)(3) organizations. While Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS) draws mostly undergraduate students, I was intrigued and sought a way to get involved. I am pleased to announce I was selected for the Steering Committee and serve as the Photographer / Videographer on the Media Team.
To me, HUDOS provides a phenomenal way for students to become immersed in both the university and the community-at-large. I am thrilled about having the opportunity to create visuals displaying Howard students as they come together, working hard to make a difference. Check out one of my promo edits created using supplied photos and footage curated from HUDOS over the last two years, along with graphics I created to accompany student quotes on the service experience.