I’ve got the Pacific Ocean in my veins…
I spent my childhood shuttling 2 hours between families in San Francisco and Seaside, California. As kids, we played “doctor” with ice plants. And instead of snowballs, we’d throw fruit that had fallen from trees at one another in my cul-de-sac. I was on the swingset in my backyard when the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 hit and the drills we had in class of going under our tables started to make sense. We were taught young about the importance of water preservation, since it seemed we were always in a drought. At around the time NWA was popping and my elementary school classmates were asking me what the abbreviation stood for, everyone in my family had a jheri curl. I’ve got stories.
Photo by Dom Pierre
My mother was an educator…
Lucille Powell Hralima had a degree in Early Childhood Development and helped build daycare centers and preschool programs in the Monterey Peninsula. I learned my ABC’s from an Afrobets book and read Ivan Van Sertima’s They Came Before Columbus at 11. She was a PTA mom and allowed me to choose the schools I wanted to go to. My mom would plan Juneteenth celebrations and MLK Day parades in our living room with volunteers - I was always Miss Junteenth because that’s my birthday. She was interviewed every year for the holidays by the local paper so that they’d have at least one Kwanzaa story. She helped run an African-centered Saturday program in the neighborhood. My teenage years were spent in boarding schools in the South (all-black) and New England (pwi). She was raising free Black children.
Photo of my brother and I in our playroom in Richmond, CA circa 1983
I was the kid who knocked on doors to get Diane Feinstein elected. I started petitions on campus to prevent classmates from being kicked out. I created a Black Out day on my college campus to protest the racial profiling of black people in and around our university. I co-founded Youth4Reparations to get young people in the conversation and to encourage the elders to consider the ways our perspective could shape the global reparations narrative. I taught elementary school because I wanted to indoctrinate our children with love of self and love for our community and our culture. When the impact didn’t feel big enough, I co-founded The Re:Construction Period because I believe that exposure is the greatest educator next to experience. I wanted to put a life coach in schools and joined what was at one time the most innovative education non-profit in America, and created a new role for public schools - The Dream Director.
Photo of the rec center at Piney Woods Country Life School, circa 1995
The only lasting truth is change…
While on maternity leave with my second child, my parents died in a car accident. I had been taking filmmaking classes, going to film festivals, and dreaming about building a studio and sound stages for children. I went to the American Black Film Festival a month after, and during the HBO shorts program heard Sam Eliad and Joekenneth Museau of Days After Your Departure talk about having both recently lost their mothers. That night, I went back to my hotel room and wrote the synopsis of my first short film - L-O-V-E. Today, I am creating content meant to cultivate a generation of free people - perpetuating what Arthur Jafa calls black visual intonation.
Photo of L-O-V-E crew, July 2018