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  • Writer's pictureArmiel Chandler

Culture Spotlight Featuring Jahan Nostra

Jahan Nostra is an Emcee, Artist, and Filmmaker from Mount Vernon, NY, and Stamford, CT. Jahan Nostra has records with the legendary Smif-N-Wessun, Hakim Green (of Channel Live), Tone Trump and Ceschi. Jahan Nostra has won numerous awards for his work, and in 2019, he received the high honor of winning the Best Music Video Award at the Hip Hop Film Festival in Harlem.  

Jahan Nostra is currently working on his next project, a three-part album series called Violet Skies.  For more on Jahan Nostra, follow him on Instagram

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival?

I have been a part of the Hip Hop Film Festival for the past two years and my experience is always very fulfilling. There is nothing I love more than representing the culture: win, lose, or draw.  I enjoyed the films, seeing fellow filmmakers, and meeting new filmmakers, directors, actors, and artists.  What I really love is listening to directors talk about the process of creating their films.  I really enjoyed having this experience with my cast and crew.  We also had the opportunity to meet great casts in the media room and listen to their interviews as they shared their Hip Hop stories with the world.  

In addition, CR Capers did an amazing job with curating the Master Cyphers, which featured a wide range of creatives, from Entertainment Lawyers to Legendary Actors to Academy Award Winning and Emmy-Nominated Producers to the one and only, Dapper Dan, the Harlem Legend, a Living Icon.

Why are stories from the culture important?

Stories from the culture are important for our ancestors and more importantly for our youth.  The only way the world can truly begin to understand our struggles is through stories told by us!  Over the years, many filmmakers who are not from the culture have tried to (mis)interpret and retell our stories...This ain't the vibe.  Stories from the culture are important because we are from the culture, so we are equipped with the life experience and knowledge of the culture to tell our stories in an authentic and real way. There is no better place to get the truth than from the source! Rock, Don't Stop! 

What projects are you working on now?

I am currently working on my new three-part album series, which is called "Violet Skies" (because violet is the color of creativity). The album will feature some Hip Hop Legends and some new artists from the US and abroad.  It will also span a wide range of genres from Hip Hop to Soul to Afrobeat!  

There will be an exclusive vinyl and an exclusive merch line set for release with the album, and I am currently working on that with my team.  In terms of film, I am developing some music videos and short films to go along with the Violet Skies album series. I am also working on some soundtracks and improving my screenwriting and acting.  

In addition, I recently teamed up with a teacher from a school in the Bronx, and we are developing some exciting new projects in partnership with the non-profit, Music Unboxed.  

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival is important?

The Hip Hop Film Festival and Harlem Film House are important because they bring the culture together: independent filmmakers, artists, actors, actresses, and screenwriters. I meet so many talented people at Hip Hop Film Festival and Harlem Film House events. We continue to stay in touch and we support one another’s successes in film, music, and the arts. The Hip Hop Film Festival Community is extremely supportive and we are fully committed to helping one other succeed! The culture of support comes from the experience of being a part of an international film festival in Harlem that represents us and our culture. It’s an environment where I truly feel I belong and where I can fully be myself.

In addition, the Hip Hop Film Festival is not only Black-Owned, but it is also sponsored by several Black-Owned Businesses. This makes the Hip Hop Film Festival a shining example of the power of Co-operative Economics in our community.

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