- Brooklyn, NY
About KamilahWhen I started thinking about the kind of creator I wanted to be, I knew I wanted to tell the stories of people like me. As a black girl growing up, I was always curious about the world around me. But with all the content out there, I rarely saw people who looked like me. When I did see black women, they were often portrayed in harsh stereotypes that didn’t reflect the type of women that I saw in my family or who I wanted to be like. They were often loud or oversexualized. Those narratives can weigh heavy on a young black girl trying to find herself in the world. Looking back now, I wish I would’ve had someone like Zoe Johnson on Black-ish to mirror my adolescence. Someone educated and informed, but also unapologetically confident in their black identity.
When I tell stories, I try to reflect the lives and experiences of everyday people, in all their intricacies. I studied sociology in college because I wanted to understand why people act or speak in certain ways, and how our environment impacts the way we interact with others. I grew up in a black neighborhood, but as a kid going to performing arts schools in New York City, I was often the only black person in class. I struggled to balance my white friends and my black friends and differentiating between the two cultures. I remember a friend at school sticking her hand into my hair and asking, “How to you get it to do that?” when it stood straight up. To me, my hair simply was; to her, it was exotic. As gross as that felt, at the time, I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain why. It wasn’t until I hit my later teens that I realized the extent of how I was code switching. I began to understand I didn’t have to be a certain type of black person, and my mix of experiences was okay because it made me me.
Those are the kinds of experiences that I want to portray in my storytelling. I want young woman of color to see complex and varied versions of themselves in the media they consume so that they feel seen and represented.
- Final Cut Pro