Along with a wonderful creative team, I have been working on an independent feature film called “One Day In June.” This project has given me new purpose on so many levels.
For someone who taught creativity in an academic environment for more 20 years, I feel as if I have been reborn by immersing myself boldly and excitedly in the creative process. It is exhilarating to craft a comprehensive story as an editor through the many trailers I have created to promote our film.
The film is being co-written by yours truly, along with director Narcel Reedus. I am also sharing producer responsibilities with Angela Washington. The mission of ODIJ is to create more than a movie; we want to create a movement of absent fathers taking that first step to reconnect with their children.
The subject of absent fathers is a universal theme, as we have seen this topic discussed on Oprah’s OWN network with special shows featuring both Oprah and Iyana Vanzant. But we do not have to look outside our own community to know that the plague of absent father’s has become an epidemic.
I, along with our director and co-producer, were on a radio show promoting the film, and I shared this observation: We have always dealt with the concept of alternative family structure within the African-American community. But he problem we are seeing today is that many of our young folks are growing up not only without a father but with a pool of male authority figures to support them in their development.
Growing up, nearly all of my friends came from divorced homes. But like me, their fathers were still very much a part of their lives. We also had a plethora of other male figures from family, church and community.
As an educator, I have had to step in and become that father figure to so many young people. I took on that role sometimes at great emotional cost to myself because, quite frankly, the needs were just so overwhelming.
By making this film, we have an opportunity to send a clear affirming message to not just fathers but to everyone involved that it is not too late to step up and represent.
“One Day in June” for us is not just a movie but a movement. We all have within our circles someone we know who is not taking responsibility. In our silence we implicitly give them a pass to continue their pattern of indifference and neglect.
We must begin to redefine the notion of fatherhood. Mothers, no matter how angry, should not hold their children hostage because a father is not contributing what they feel they should financially. I do not remember checks from my father, but I do remember Saturday outings, fishing trips and basically time he spent with me.
I share all this to say that I have found something that makes me want to get up every morning. I feel alive, creative and full of purpose.
My evolution has brought many revelations, including that I must ask for help when I need it. That is why I am asking those that have supported me in my creative journey to support me and this film. Please join our Kick Starter campaign. We have only a few days left to raise funds so that we can make this affirming film that challenges historical images of black men and fatherhood.
I know many of you are members of churches, sororities, fraternities or other organizations that have similar initiatives that mirror the message of our film. Let us know how we can partner and support one another.
We often complain that there is not enough positive or affirming programming to view, so here we have an opportunity to not only support local filmmakers but invest and be a part of not only a film but a shift in consciousness as it relates to storylines for African-Americans.
Please visit our website http://www.onedayinjunethemovie.com.
On the site, you can view character trailers, fatherhood initiatives and contribute.
I spoke to my grandmother the other day, and she said she had been praying for me. I told her that I loved her for that and that I had been praying as well.
My new mantra is, “God has me,” and I hope my supporters have me as well…..smile.