“Coming Up: New Orleans” | A SHORT FILM DIRECTED BY TROI MCCLURE/FOTOFEEN
From the start of my college career, I really wanted to find something I was passionate about, something that would help me leave a positive impact on the beautiful City of New Orleans before I graduated. In Fall 2019, I decided to create a documentary on black entrepreneurship in New Orleans, after meeting so many people in the city and being inspired by their creativity. I wasn’t sure where I was going with the idea, or what I specifically wanted to talk about, but I started anyway. In the end, I knew one thing, and that’s that I needed to stay true to myself. I wanted to hear from a range of different experiences and perspectives. And my only goal was to portray the true talent and ambition the City of New Orleans holds. I believe more than ever with events taking place in society, surrounding the protests and false narratives of peaceful protesters in the media, I have fallen into my purpose with film. I want to create more positive and accurate media surrounding the black community, doing what I love while spreading whatever knowledge I can to my people. “Coming Up: New Orleans” is an experimental documentary of endearment meant to uplift the young black entrepreneurs in New Orleans, who oftentimes don’t get the privilege of positive reinforcement. I wanted the film to be created by the city, for the city; I just put it together.
The poetry in the film was used to make the viewer feel the authentic conviction and emotion in her words and maybe relate to a time when they also felt that way. We don’t always talk about how black people are put into white spaces to meet a quota while what they can contribute as an individual is oftentimes overlooked. Growing up, I always knew that I did not want to and could not work for anybody, I refused to let power dynamics silence my opinion. I have vowed to be my own boss for as long as I can remember, for exactly this reason. I don’t want to be seen as just a number when I have so much that I know I can contribute.
There is nothing I feel that is more true for black people, we must force open these doors for ourselves to get to where we want to go. Generational wealth is something that has already existed in white families for hundreds of years. So, finding this information when you have no clue it exists, is not very likely. While conducting interviews the topic came up and it intrigued me simply because we don’t talk about it enough. Dominic Scott, CEO of Red Balloon Studios, states how sometimes black people don’t have the access to resources that we need when it comes to creating a business, when it comes to knowledge on the operations and functions of that business. When it comes to taxes, LLCs, and business logistics, the information is NOT taught in schools, so it MUST be passed down. It is time for black people to keep creating something for ourselves and pass the knowledge down to our children, so that the cycle can go on.
In terms of my own personal school experience when it came to the creation of this film, I dreaded it. Throughout my time in the film program at Loyola, my white male peers have always been put on a pedestal. We are taught there is one correct way to develop and create our films, whatever the white man tells you to do. This caused me to be less engaged then I would have if I had more teachers that looked like me, that I could relate to and confide in. I believe this may be a part of the reason I failed the first semester of my Senior Film Project class. I was unwilling to properly communicate with my teacher, because of how I was responded to. There were moments of asking for help, that made me feel as if I was being belittled so I stopped asking for help. Instead of seeing I have my own personal process of creating, it was assumed that I simply didn’t care. Being the only black girl to graduate from the Class of 2020 film program, I don’t feel like they necessarily expected me to fail, but I’ve never felt they were rooting for me to win, just for the success of the program itself. I do have to say I am proud of myself for creating a piece that is truly authentic to me, and I didn’t change my vision to make others comfortable. This experience has taught me alot about myself, and mostly when others doubt me that it does not define me.
Overall, I would like my film to be utilized as not only a learning tool but a motivator for the next generation of young entrepreneurs. If my film inspires anyone to release any doubt, harness their power, and apply it in a productive way; I will feel I have achieved my goal in creating this documentary. I plan to go on to create more positive representation of black people in the media. This will begin my film career, as I introduce my premiere documentary, “Coming Up: New Orleans”.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the piece as well. Thank you for watching!