Culture Spotlight Featuring Denise Khumalo
Denise Khumalo is a multi-hyphenated artist with over 12 years of experience in the entertainment industry as a director/producer/actor. She was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. Watching her mother become a successful tv personality and radio host ignited her passion for the arts.
She moved to America in 2008 in order to pursue her film career, where she received her Bachelors in Science at SUNY Fredonia in Communications: Television and Digital Film. Denise went on to acquire her Masters in Filmmaking in Los Angeles, California at the New York Film Academy in 2014.
Denise has spent years honing her directorial skills and as a result has achieved great success with her narratives and documentaries. "Khayalami" (My Home) received numerous awards and recognition for its unique insight on Zimbabwe. She is also the host of Cultural Exchange, a debate talk show where guests of different races and backgrounds come together to discuss their dating experiences.
Her latest documentary, Unconventional, showcases people of color as they follow their dreams in Los Angeles.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival? The Festival was a beautiful culmination of art and music. It featured talented artists from all over the world and they gave us a platform to showcase our diverse films.
Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the culture are extremely important because if we do not create our own content then other people will. We need to keep our stories and culture alive for future generations.
What projects are you working on now? I am working on the third season of my debate talk show "Cultural Exchange" where POC and immigrants including the LGBTQ community come together to talk about their dating experiences. I enjoy providing an open dialogue so we as a people can come together and discuss real issues with fear of being ostracized.
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? They are important because of "Ubuntu" which means "I am because we are", we can only grow as a people by working together and there aren't many festivals or platforms that help support the culture.