Culture Spotlight Featuring Princess Bey
Princess Bey is an actress, writer, and award-winning filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY. After starring in an array of plays and independent films, she came to the realization that in spite of hard work and commitment, actors still have to wait to be chosen. With that in mind, she decided to empower herself and others to amplify their voices by writing, directing, and producing her own content. Her projects have been screened at film festivals across the nation, which inspired her to start her production company, Mobella Productions. She finds that education, training, and access are paramount for those pursuing a career in the arts, so she runs youth programs and offers reel production services for actors through the company as well. Her most recent program is sponsored by NeON Arts, a project by the NYC Department of Probation (DOP) in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, where she's teaching young adults to write and perform from the heart.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival? I'm grateful that Khadijah was one of the selections in the Hip Hop Film Festival this year. I was quite impressed by the MetaVerse and the virtual networking opportunities provided to us filmmakers. I found the cyphers to be very informative and inspirational. I was hoping to attend the live screenings but wasn't able to, unfortunately. However, I am looking forward to next year!
Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the culture are important because people from our communities need to be seen and heard. Our stories should be told from our perspectives, but for so long, mainstream media has profited from creating their own narrative of us, largely fueled by stereotypes. We're finally at a point where the underrepresented are shifting the paradigm and it's beautiful to watch and be a part of.
What projects are you working on now? I'm currently directing a play that I wrote which highlights the experiences of foster care youth in New York City. In this partnership with Foster Care Unplugged, ACS, and various foster care agencies, we bring in former and current foster care youth and teach them acting fundamentals, and help them "heal through the ats" by way of the theatre. I'm also working on a mini-series surrounding the world of polyamory.
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? The Hip Hop Film Fetival and Harlem Film House are important because the people need a platform and support! It's amazing to see what the organization has done over the years, by creating so many opportunities for filmmakers like myself to share our work and be seen. The educational aspect is powerful as well; the workshops, ciphers, and networking opportunities have provided a space for artists to continue to learn, grow, and be better. The work you all are doing is crucial and I'm looking forward to witnessing the continued expansion of the brand.