ULTRA LIGHT BEAMIN'
This week has been an ultra light beam. I've been operating at a high frequency of pure light/love and amazing things have been unlocking in my life. I have grown so much in the past 3 years as a storyteller, creator, spiritual being, man, lover, son, brother, and student among other things. I think this week signified a lot of this development.
I found great collaborators, Yves, bright young talent that's got the world in front of him, and Woo, I had admired his work from afar since 2010 before I knew him. We created a great story focused on hope, truth and love but in our voice. This was a monumental undertaking because we had to navigate the natural defense mechanism of the ego to collaborate like this and make art that speaks on such a soul level. We spent all week meeting every night, working on the script, the pitch and how we were going to make this dream a reality. All three of us set our intentions, meditated and prayed together to create. Working through being tired and having other obligations was a joy because it was part of the process of unlocking truth.
Ive been dealing with the complex emotions of graduating out of a place that helped me develop my voice and launching into a world with the pressure of working in a free lance art industry. That can be very daunting if you live in the what ifs of the future and not the present now. When people ask me what I'm doing after school they are expecting me to give them a job title or freak out about the search. All I know is that I'm going to write and direct my movies and be a healer through storytelling. This is what makes my heart flutter and that's my gift and curse at this point. I had a conversation with my parents, and if you know anything about Nigerian parents my dream of film school might have been a nightmare because I wouldn't be secure high paying respectable professional like a doctor or a lawyer. They started a new life away from their families to create opportunity for us. For us to carry on legacy. My parents however were so supportive and comforting along the way and it was so important for me to have a base of love so that I could create with reckless abandon. My mom refers to me as a king and I put that in the script of Iman and The Light Warriors because it helps me look at the higher self in moments of doubt. It reassures me that those moments are temporary on the path to righteous glory. I think my father and I have expressed our love for each other vocally more times in the last year than in our whole lives and unpacking that emotional burden it takes to be a strong man. Starting from our road trip in 2012 it has been an amazing journey finding myself in getting to know him.
When I got honored with the Phi Kappa Phi award on Tuesday for my work on Happy Bird, navigating mental health stigma and male sensitivity, I was on one! I really relished being in that moment. A few of my extended family in LA got to come support me and be with me in the moment and the Dean and Program head both congratulated me on the recognition. It was a dope event because I got to sit in a room with some of USC's most brilliant minds and hear their accomplishments and celebrate their hard work. I got to admire some faces that I've probably passed 100 times but had no idea of the make up of their hearts or minds. I had a conversation with a woman that night who worked on a book for 7 years and was being honored with an award and she was so present with each of her emotions while speaking it was astounding. Even when she talked about her husband that worked on the book with her for 7 years and died a few months ago. As I watched the sorrow and abandonment in her eyes I was able to see the converse emotions of joy and pride at the same time and sit there with her and comfort her. It was pretty sublime. And usually I would take on the negative emotions from this interaction and be bogged down by the weight but this time I could control my emotions and be firm for her like a rock by focusing on how beautiful it is to be human and fragile. Another thing I noticed from that interaction is how much we all stand on the shoulders of our community and our collaborators. I have worked with some of the worlds best here at USC and I couldn't have been on the stage without them. I couldn't stop smiling because I was so juiced about this.
Tuesday morning I talked to a sociology class about Central Park Five and prison reform from the perspective of a spiritual storyteller. I got selected to speak at the Annenberg Symposium about Happy Bird next week and I'm geeked about that. For 2 years I SA'd the multi-cam sitcom class led by Nancy Forner and she overhauled the one of the biggest classes at USC. After that pledge process I had the honor of visiting the NBC universal lot and meeting Dick Wolf Ex-Producer Arthur Forney. I was super inspired by the visit and being in another room with amazing talented people. It accessed that feeling that I was on the right path. I don't know if I'll get offered or work there but feeling comfortable in that space was important to me.
I'm just proud of all of the growth I've made and all the insights I've noticed in this time have been rapidly growing me, sometimes painful but always right on time. It's all allowing me to step out on faith. The main character in Iman and the Light Warriors is told his name is faith by the store owner. We need that uplift as we navigate this place of wrath and tears and we need to be guarded by the light. "We don't hide from fear, we run through it. Iman fly, fly young man fly." I pray that I continue to walk in this light and can step with the boldness and the audacity of Jesus. This is all a process towards unlocking our superhero and it takes a lot of love to fly.
I met Rudy, the real Rudy that the film was about and I helped get Coog and Ludwig to our composer class that I am SA'ing and every week has been reaffirmation and extreme inspiration! Kenny Hall is one of the most inspiring guys I know and we've been balling! I met Norman Lear and found out how a 93 year old legend views the world.
I have so much gratitude for every moment. That every moment I am alive is a success. Everything you've done up until this point has been a succession of events that brought you here and the same for me. Isn't it special that we can share this?! We watched Kobe's retirement game and saw that fire and emotion in his eyes and the peace that came with it. My chest was floating and vibrating watching him work. He put up 60 in his last game and dropped the mic "mamba out". I feel like that was a message to me, finish out strong with grace and the process of writing this script unfolded in similar fashion. I am excited to be leaving with the same feeling and when I walk across that stage on May 13th, it will be more than the paper I'm smiling about.