OSAHON TONGO
LIFTING AS WE CLIMB!! To be able to touch the lives of young men in my community is beyond a humbling experience! I've seen these young men make positive changes over the season and I'm glad we have a chance to help mol.jpg

COMMUNITY

Odyssey of The Mind Mental Health Awareness Festival @ USC

After writing and directing Happy Bird I felt the need to showcase the work in an arena that would actually foster the conversations that needed to be had and the traditional festival route didn't align with that. The audience was the community I was living in. I thought that we should build an event to show films focused on mental health advocacy because it is rare that the cause gets a spotlight. I didn't want it to be a somber event so I focused on the healing. I had been granted as Scholarship from the Saks Foundation for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics and I was the first Cinema student to be honored with the prestigious award. With the opportunity to leverage that great foundation and the Media Institute of Social Change at USC I was able to build a team around the dream. With the help of Thalia Reyes we held a sound healing session before the event started. During the event we held 2 panels, one with 3 short films, another with a documentary on Bi-Polar Disorder. The student health center had a platform to offer their services to the students in attendance. Thanks to the help of the African American Cinema Society and Jason Sneed we organized an after party where we took over the stage and showcased artwork from some amazing LA based artists, served vegan food from Azla and had musical guests perform. The video below highlights the event and some of the healing we were able to bring to the community.

On October 30th, 2015 at USC the Saks Institute united with The Media Institute for Social Change, USC Counseling, The AACS and The Renaissance Group to put together the Odyssey of The Mind Mental Health Awareness Festival. Hosted by Saks Scholar and MISC Filmmaker, Osahon Tongo.

COACHING FOOTBALL @ CRENSHAW HIGH SCHOOL

This experience means so much to me because it was a return to the sport that helped shape who I am today. My fraternity brother Norris Milton got hired as the JV Coach at Crenshaw Highschool and he asked me if I could coach. I was taking a full course load and TAing classes while organizing the mental health festival and I didn't want to half ass it. When I visited in the summer I grew a bond with the kids and couldn't turn my back on them. So 3 days a week I worked with these kids and had the best time of my life. It's beautiful seeing these kids evolve in to men.

NAMYE FEED THE HOMELESS @ SKID ROW

Namye is an LA Based foundation started by Martise Dubose. It is a pop up love offering. A UHaul truck pulls up to a street on Skid Row and opens up with a jam band full of amazing artists. The concept was based on the though that people hand out cold sandwiches all the time but some times delivering love is what people need. Music is used as a healing mechanism with hot soul food to accompany it. Clothing and feminine products are also distributed in an effort to spread warmth and love to those less fortunate.

 

RECESS @ LEIMERT PARK

This Crockpot initiative created by Revolutionary Hippies is a bi-weekly pop up for kids in the Leimert Park community by Baldwin Hills Mall. In this space kids could do all of the things that we used to do growing up and parents could get a break from their busy schedules.

 

LA RENAISSANCE @ ART DISTRICT DTLA

Experience producer, Jason Sneed invited me to create a scene for the LA Renaissance. This Valentines day experience is part of a series that aims to shift culture through art. A romantic movement in the Los Angeles art scene. This was my first flash mob writing, directing, and acting experience and it blew away the audience that had no idea what to expect.