A portion of my character can be defined by the organisations I've either lead and/or participated in throughout the coarse of my collegiate matriculation and community involvement with my production company. By the time I was a junior in college, I was highly active in various student organisations at Florida A&M and Florida State University. My Alma Mater of course is FAMU but the University's are so close its almost an crime not to take advantage of both campuses. My main attendance frequencies were with the Haitian Cultural Club of Tallahassee and the Caribbean Student Association. During my senior I served as the president of the Haitian Cultural Club. Today, I give much credit to that organization for teaching me the fundamentals of how to operate a business and most importantly how to manage and organize people.
Less then a year and a half after graduating from college, I officially established Motown Maurice Productions, Inc., a video/photography company built for preserving memories with excellence and serving Tampa Bay's local community in socially minded partnerships. With that state of mind, I established numerous relationships with community focused organizations. Between 2004-2010 I was the official photographer/videogragher for the DSI Black Pages, The Tampa Bay Organization of Black Affairs (TOBA), The Tampa Black Heritage Festival and more.
My affinity for social and cultural community driven organisations has influenced and impacted me in more ways then I know how to describe. Community involvement and partnerships have been a significant part of my business related endeavors over the past decade. Then came Hollywood. As most of my followers know, I relocated to Los Angeles, CA, September 19, 2010 and I quickly noticed the deficiency of black organizations/cultural festivities in this city. October 26th of last year, I finally took a trip to the University of Southern California with the intentions sitting in a few of my favorite student meetings. I was stunned to find the absence of a Black Student Union or even a Caribbean Student Association. At the most, I believe there's a Black Student Film Group but I don't recall noticing it on the university's website. A colleague of mine told me about it and invited previously.
I've meet a handful of African American's in Hollywood but I've made very few strong connections. We're present in this city but we're unbelievably scattered. The thought of a centrally located hub for us seemed more and more like a figment of my imagination as the days went by. In a recent conversation, I posed the question, "Where is Black Hollywood?" Obviously there are several annual African American related film festivals but outside of that, I knew of nothing I could attend frequently.
Early this month, my tainted perception slightly began to change. When I received the invite to view the movie Dysfunction Friends by Corey Grant, not only did I thoroughly enjoy the experience, something inside of said, "Hello, Is It Me Your Looking For?" Around the same time, if not the same day, I received a Facebook invite from gentlemen named J.R. Pittman. The connection with J.R and I is a prime representation of my favorite quote throughout my blog. That quote is, "Everything Always Come Around Full Circle." I had the opportunity to audition for J.R Pittman's Casting Company February 17, 2011. The audition was for a Discovery program called the Survivalist Show.
Like many other auditions, I was partly certain I would get selected for the show but that never happened. Besides that, my interactions with J.R were delightful. He was very professional and he exchanged a lot of positive energy. That's probably why I thought I would get the selected. J.R's energy was radiant and impressionable compared to several other audition experiences I've had. Moreover, almost a year later (last month) he sent out a mass email that lead to us being Facebook friends. The immediate day after I viewed Dysfunctional Friends I saw J.R. on line at the AMC City Walk theatres getting ready to see the movie for himself. I approached him and I was pleased to know he remembered me by name. In our conversation, I acknowledged his Facebook invite to an upcoming event and my confirmation of attendance. J.R. was in line to also see Dysfunctional Friends and support the people he knew in the cast.
|Motown Maurice & J.R Pittman|
Since I joined Facebook back in 2008, I rarely showed much attention to its event invites. Emails and personal invites is what got me to places. However, this particular invite to a meeting social called M.O.C.I.T.I lured me in like a fish on a hook. I figured if J.R. Pittman and Corey Grant were confirmed to attend, this is the place I needed to be at. The information on the website and Facebook page was also inciting.
|Men of Color In the Industry (MOCITI)|
Men of Color in the Industry.
MOCITI is an outreach organization whose mission is to provide a support network and business vehicle for men of color in the entertainment industry. We are a service organization that believes we are to serve mankind.
This is the first networking organization of it's kind geared towards men of color in the entertainment industry including but not limited to actors, directors, producers, writers, casting directors, agents, photographers, entertainment lawyers, composers, music producers,performers.
Initially, I took the observant and reserved approach. I didn't interact with too many people in the beginning because I was laying out the site. I tend to do that in new environments. I believe its always important to know the climate and temperature of new surroundings. Thus, it didn't take me long to realize I found a key component for my quest. I strongly believe that MOCITI is significantly vital to solving one of the puzzles in my adventure. Therefore, I am now steps closer to claiming my throne in Late Night Television.
Throughout the duration of the meeting, unity and camaraderie permeated from wall to wall, from brother to brother and even from sister to brother. Since today's meeting took place on Valentine Day MOCITI thought it was appropriate to have the ladies join. The meetings are traditionally all men.
|MOCITI Social Meeting at Terell Moore Gallery , 1221 S. Hope St. Los Angeles, CA|
|J.R. Pittman greets everyone ever so kindly.|
Before the event started I noticed a familiar face. I said, in my head, "That's Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince." Finally I thought, I can get the opinion from someone who has worked with Will Smith. People tell me I look like Will Smith/Fresh Prince so much, I just knew James Avery would finally clear things up once and for all. I never did ask him that question but I sure enjoyed him as a guest speaker. His passion and knowledge of black history and theatre is inspiring. When James Avery speaks, its all inclusive. He educated the audience with early lessons in African American theatre then we traveled to Africa and back to America seamlessly.
|Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome American's Favorite Uncle James Avery.|
|James Avery aka Uncle Phil speaks.|
I only managed to record portions of his James Avery's message but its enough to capture the essence the wisdom he shared with the crowd.
(Video # 1) James Avery Speaks
|The crowd is focused on James Avery.|
(Video # 3) James Avery Speaks
|James Avery, Jon Convington & the MOCITI Staff|
|Uncle Phil and the Fresh Prince. Opps, I mean James Avery & Motown Maurice|
Some of my memorable efforts to promote projects of my own were with The Motown Maurice Show and a few years prior to that I completed a full feature 2 hour documentary about the civil rights movement called Echoes of a Dream: The Historical & Spiritual Perspective of the Civil Rights Movement. Through these experiences and many others I know the importance of grass roots. Although some of the efforts of promoting a movie may be the same, I don't have the diligence of speaking from that angle yet. Which is why I recorded the whole portion of the event associated with promoting the Dysfunctional Friends and black films in general.
Dysfunctional Friends Directed by Corey Grant
|Dysfunctional Friends Producer, Chevez Frazier and Motown Maurice|
|Jasmine Hester attends MOCITI for the Valentine's Day Eddition|
|A few people have a question.|
(Video # 5) Motown Maurice's Introduction
|Manly Handz Experience - Giving U The Respect U Deserve.|
|Manly Handz Experience massages the ladies for valentine.|
|I think she's enjoying those Manly Handz|
|Handz & Hands action|
|J.R. Pittman & Jon Covington|
|They have treats, its time to eat.|
|Fruits and carrots are always my favorites.|
|The food is served.|
|There's enough food for everybody.|
|The food area is full.|
|Lony'e Perrine speaks. Go ahead sister, promote your cause.|
|Hey, that's the Future of Late Night Television.|
|Jon Covington & ....|
|Jon Convington & ...|
|Motown Maurice & Jasmine Hester|
Dysfunctional Friends Directed by Corey Grant
|Julio Hanson & Motown Maurice|
|Quin Walters & Motown Maurice|
|Malcolm ConcepT & Motown Maurice|
My "special" guest for the night was Cresha. Or as I should now acknowledge her by Cresha Cre8tive Productions.
|Cresha Cre8tive Productions & Motown Maurice|
54th Grammy Awards at Rolling Stone Networking...
|..., Motown Maurice & Addision Henderson|
|Zsanaé Davis (www.zsanae.com) & Motown Maurice|
|Motown Maurice & Anthony M. Bertram|
|Motown Maurice & Jon Covington|
MOCITI is everything stated on in its description and more. Indeed, this organization is truly one of a kind. The stories shared on how they all go beyond the call of duty for each others projects are phenomenal. Today's meeting was incredible but many told me the regular meetings are even better. Men of Color in the Industry is founded upon many of the things I am most passionate about and I'm going to make it my duty to serve this organization. Attending this meeting felt like a reunion with my roots. For a guy like me MOCITI is food for the soul. Nourishment for the body. MOCITI is home sweet home.
Having been in many leadership positions before, my eyes are keen towards observing good leadership and genuineness. That and more were displayed constantly throughout the meeting. In particular, it was highly visible from J.R. Pittman and Jon Covington. Jon who appears to be MOCITI's commander in chief, orchestrated the event with great passion and his passion resonated upon everyone in attendance. There is no question on whether I'll be back or not. I wish I new about this organization upon arriving in LA but nothing happens before its time. Without a doubt, I've crossed paths with these great man for an even greater purpose.
As the quest continues...
The Future of Late Night