September 4, 2014
Rahiem Shabazz: Exposing the Truth to Reclaim Our Young Men
I’m hoping the film will be a call to action to get more parents involved in PTA meetings and to seek out other means of education besides the public school system, such as home schooling. We need to elect school board members that are reflective of our community.
If we look at the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, there are only three black police officers out of 53, and there are no black people on the school board. The education system isn’t reflective of our culture as a people and doesn’t teach the greatness of our origin. This is ‘Elementary Genocide‘ on so many levels. It starts the first day a child walks in a kindergarten class and the end result is the penitentiary.
What are some of the business aspects you encountered upon completing this film?
The overall process of making any documentary must be learned and developed. I studied the success of other documentarians and, being a gifted writer, made it a natural process. I then began to study the legal aspects to make sure I covered everything from error and omission insurance, written agreements, copyright, etc.
A marketing plan was developed before the documentary was finished. We realized that the momentum must begin with small intimate screenings and panel discussions. We did that in several key markets, while using social media to spread the word. Eventually we moved on to bigger venues and theaters, once there was a demand. Most screenings were sold out and requests were coming in from all across the country. Afterwards, we were able to align ourselves with a distribution company to position us in retails throughout the country.
You stress that black people should own and operate their own businesses. How important is this, and what suggestions would you give those seeking advice about starting their own business?
It’s imperative as a black-owned business to operate in a consistent manner and to be of service to those who look like you. We have the spending power—we just need to spend it more amongst ourselves. There is a saying: “We spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need, from people we don’t like, to impress people we don’t know.â€
When you have something you’d like to write or document, how do you start the process and make it happen?
The first thing you’ll want to do is research the subject matter as much as you can. Make sure it’s a unique subject that will resonate with viewers. More importantly, you must ask yourself if you’re doing it solely for money or for the underlying social message. If money is your motivation, you’re probably better off making a full-feature film as opposed to a documentary.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on another documentary titled The Board of Education vs The Board of Incarceration. Sixty minutes was not enough time to fully explore the subject matter, so we are calling this part 2.
How do you manage the creative process as well as the business aspects of your company?
The creative process may start with me, but I have a dedicated team of individuals who I confer with and we sort of bounce ideas around until we all agree. The beauty of it all is I have people around who are a whole lot smarter than I am that will probably not admit it. Overall it’s a team effort at Rasha Entertainment. On the business side of things, the Rasha brand is primarily known for its strong online viewership. We are now able to monetize our content to advertising partners. Our film division experienced a significant amount of success with our Web-series, feature films, and now the documentary. So businesswise, we are in a good place.
What achievement are you most proud of thus far, and what would be the highlight of your career if you could predict any achievement?
My proudest achievement is seeing a determined idea manifested into a finished product. If I could predict an achievement it would be an Emmy or Peabody Award.
For more information on Elementary Genocide go to the websiteÂ www.ElementaryGenocide.com