Culture Spotlight Featuring Jessica Scott
Updated: Jun 18
Jessica Scott is an Emmy-nominated producer, filmmaker, director, editor and cinematographer who was born and raised on the east coast but has resided in Chicago for almost two decades where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Northwestern University.
Jessica directed her first documentary, Snitches Get Stitches: The Code of the Streets (2015), which has more than 30,000 views on YouTube and her 2017 film, Sneakers: It’s Complicated has been selected to three film festivals, including the Hip Hop Film Festival in Harlem, NY and Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack Real to Reel film festival in Chicago, IL. Her current film, The Color of Skin (2019) has been selected so far to five film festivals and is receiving great feedback from other directors, producers, and Filmgoers.
Jessica hopes to make documentaries that will provoke thought, create change in her community, and encourage people to make a difference in other people’s lives. She believes that she can influence her community by telling truthful and compelling stories, which can lead to positive change and community outreach. She is eager to show the world her people from her community through her lens.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival? I feel extremely blessed that two of my films got to screen at the Hip Hop Film Festival in New York. My experiences both times had great audience feedback and the atmosphere and vibe was definitely Hip Hop New York—something that can’t be Measured.
Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the Hip Hop culture are important because it’s what shaped and molded us into who we are today as filmmakers. Our favorite storytellers are rappers, graffiti artists, and dancers. Before I told my own stories, I listen to stories from LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Nas, Jay-Z, MC Lyte, and The Notorious B.IG. When we write a script or set up the scene for the next shot, we are playing Hip Hop music through the speakers. We’re not just listening to it because we like the beat, we are listening to it because it motives us, it influences us, it inspires us, it navigates us and because it is us.
What project are you working on now? I am in the pre-production phase of my next documentary, Renege. It’s a short documentary centered on the game of Spades.
Why do I think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are
important? I think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival is important because it gives filmmakers a platform and place to have their films shown and appreciated. What other film festival is going to appreciate a documentary about sneakers? Only people in the culture understand that fly sneakers and hip hop music goes hand-and-hand. It’s important because we have a place to go and a place to represent our culture, which is Hip Hop.