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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Armstead

Culture Spotlight Featuring Sharna Jenkins

Sharna (Ms. J) Jenkins, a Harlem born and raised self-taught theatrical and screenplay writer who has written and directed several off-Broadway plays, a ten episode series called “Sisters Keeper” that received over four million minutes streamed on Amazon Prime. Ms. J was also the writer and creative director for the then up and coming mega star Cardi B for her breakout artist tour “Cardi B and friends.”

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. The Hip Hop film festival stood in a lane of its own. It was inspiring to be able to creatively engage with creatives from different backgrounds with different stories. One of the best parts (there are quite a few) of the festival is being able to have dialogue and dive in with the audience. It is important as a writer, as a director to feel what the audience feels. The feedback, good, bad or indifferent is important to the creativity. This festival truly delivers on community and unity!

Why are “stories from the culture” worthy of a platform? Stories from The Culture is worthy of a platform because we have a lot of divine stories to tell. There are so many nuances to our culture, to our people. We have generations that continue to grow and our stories have to continuously flow. Having a platform where can creatively share, entertain, cause laughter, tears, and evoke thoughts and emotions. This will forever be priceless.

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? Both platforms are important for the independent film maker, writer, director, actor. We need a safe place/space to share our work and our visions. As a writer and director you want to feel true appreciation for your craft. You want to be in a room with people that encourage creative fellowship and who want to get to the business of seeing good work put out. Hip Hop film festival and Harlem film House, they don’t make false promises, they bring as many puzzle pieces into the space as they have access to and we are able to collectively put the pieces together. It’s a shared common goal. Get your work done, get your work into the right places, share your vision, get to a creative bag! Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film festival are both great platforms for the common goal.

What projects are you working on now? I am currently writing a full feature drama “Lost and Found” that was given to me by my dope writing partner Alterik Miller. It’s a film about a successful, happily married business woman who becomes paralyzed, losing her sense of purpose. She finds healing and self discovery with the help of her young caregiver.

I am also re-vamping a full feature called “Desperate Decision” it’s a film (made for TV movie) about a twisted story of three childhood friends who find success in their separate life journeys. Their reunited moments reveal deception. Lies, misplaced loyalty and revenge.

(Yes I write more than one story at a time lol, its fun to me to escape to different places)

I am also looking to bring back my Off-Broadway production. I have a play called “Like me Love me Love you” that ran on 44th street. We were prepared to bring the production back (as per audience request) but the pandemic hit and the theater shut down. Black box theater was wiped out. So, I am dusting off the script and giving it another go! There is nothing like live theater!

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