Film Sets, Black History, Me

When I first started this blog I reflected on how I had recently lost a job at a pretty amazing place.

It’s been just under six months since that time and things have been interesting, to say the least. I’ve been trying different things while continuing to apply for jobs here and there.

I’ve had some fun along the way with some light travel, time with friends and time spent on a few film shoots around the Atlanta area.
Being an extra doesn’t pay much but it’s a fun way to pass the time and to meet some cool people.

It’s a surreal feeling to know you are on camera – to know you must move and be a certain way. To hear that infamous word action and to bustle, or mime, or stand along with a group of others or another individual.

To see a tv personality or movie star and have to adhere to the unwritten rule of not speaking to them because they are working. Some extras do speak, though- and I’ve done so on occasion only because the actor would speak first.

I remember my very first time being an extra-  it was for a tv show that is set to air on NBC this April. I played a bus boy carrying a tray full of glasses through the foyer of this mansion and my role was to walk through the foyer behind another extra (I thank God for this guy because he’d been doing extra work on other shoots full time for months and helped me not freak out from nervousness) out the front door as two of the lead actors walked in and out behind us through the open door. We shot this one scene about fourteen times and every time we’d break we got a chance to have small chit chat with the main actors.

To date, I’ve been on two tv shows and two movies on a few occasions (one of the movies will resume filming in the spring and they still have my name and costume on hand for me to return if I’m available!
I’m hoping to land some more gigs in the year ahead as the opportunity to be in a tv show or movie in Atlanta are plenty and not going anywhere anytime soon

I’ve also been doing some courier and virtual assistant work which has been cool.
It’s been nice to be able to make my own schedule and I’m earnestly praying that these three gigs can manifest something sustainable. Time will tell.

What I love about the courier work is that I can explore Atlanta and meet different people. I love Atlanta so much. I was born here, yet there is so much of the city that is new to me with all of the development and expansion. So many places to eat, so many things to see and do. So many creative spaces  for arts and music , tech, and start ups. Couple that with the fact that most people in this city are transplants and you get a certain type of diversity and flavor with each encounter and hang out spot.

I love the virtual assistant work because it affords me the opportunity to work remotely. To sit at my dining room table in my wool poncho which is my indigenous people’s house coat or to go to the Star Bucks across the street where I never fail to order a tall Chai Tea Latte with caramel (the pumps- not the drizzle)
I’m taking a coding course and planning to go back to school this year as well.

As of the time of this post – Valentine’s Day is fast around the corner, less than a week away. I’m trying to get a group of friends to go see the new Dead Pool movie. There is also two events here in Atlanta that some of my friends are going to check out. One event benefits Kenyans living with Aids through a night of dancing and fun that is meant to mimic a high school prom called Reprom Atlanta 

The other is presented by Atlanta Collective and is a night of dining and listening to recordings of Sade’s Love Deluxe  which is sure to be awesome.

What do I have planned you may be wondering?  Or, maybe you weren’t wondering that –  I’ll tell you anyway ha.

I have a date planned! Excited to have an excuse to dress up because I’m going to the Opera with one of my good friends.

He’s one of the most awesome gay guys you will ever meet. Aside from me of course 🙂

I’m grateful also about Black History Month.
A yet to be attained dream of mine is to take a DNA test from a organization called African Ancestry  (which is at the top of it’s game for it’s service to people of African descent ) to determine both the region and ethnic origin of my paternal ancestors.

One day soon, God willing. It would be so amazing to know.

If I had to guess I’d say my paternal ancestry is Temne.

Interestingly enough I know (thanks to the diligence of my uncle) a lot about my maternal lineage. My great grandmother Susianna was Creek. My great grandfather William was white – of Scottish descent (last name- Dolvin) and as far as the African Americans on my mother side – they originate in a region of Gambia near a river though I cannot recall the name.

It’s an interesting time (albeit not wholly unique, unfortunately) to be alive right now as an African American in the United States. Race relations exist in this ebbing tension.
There is so much bewilderment and grief within the minds and hearts of my people as we grapple with how to respond to systems, individuals, and society as a whole as it relates to our existence.

We desire to both sustain and better our collective communities- locally and in the various networks of our abodes throughout our diaspora.

We grieve, we laugh, we make music, make love and make life – we are still here.

We exist despite the seeming inconvenience our existence may cause to some.
We are a beautiful reflection of both human history and the human condition.
Suffering and triumph.
Despair and Resilience.
Darkness and Light.
We are part of the fountain head of humanity yet more often than not we are set aside in the minds of so many as not worth the value that any Imago Dei bearing human being deserves.

Effort over rhetoric.
Empathy/ Sympathy over apathy.
Open dialogue over a refusal to truly hear and understand.
Love over hate/dismissal/ indifference.

That last one especially will be what will hopefully bring both reconciliation and correction in race relations in the United States.

Not only race relations but the substantive overturning of whole systems of inequality and oppression.

Not only overturning of broken systems but a change of mind and heart for all involved.

A change of mind and heart that can only come from relationship through community. Nothing of substance can come from an “engaging” at a distance.

So here’s my two (well 27 to be sure, but who’s counting?) cents for anyone who is reading this who is part of the majority culture.

Let this month be more than about a head nod to your favorite jazz musician or poet. More than facts about where you got your refrigerator, air conditioner and traffic light from.

Let it be about an engagement of the heart regarding privilege, and systems, and relationships. Let that spill over in the day to day- every day as much as is possible.

For everyone who has continued to follow this blog, I’m encouraged greatly and plan to write more in the year ahead if God allows. I’m rediscovering a passion that I once lost. I’m also in a unique season of emerging and reformation and it’s both overwhelming and humbling. I want to live well.

To be authentic.
To chase compassion always.
To practice humility and mindfulness.
To engage in service and constant prayer as a core level communion in the presence of the all-present God.

That is my earnest hope for 2016. Day by day. No matter what may be ahead for me vocationally- rather I make what I’m currently doing sustainable or rather I have a desk job somewhere – I will commit to the above for the sake of being who I know God has called me to be.

Thanks for stopping by.

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