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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Armstead

Culture Spotlight Featuring Thomas Freeman Jr

Thomas Freeman Jr is a writer, producer and the owner of Sleepy Eye Films, a full-service production company. After working with an independent record company, Freeman began his writing career by releasing four novels and writing

dozens of magazine articles.

Freeman’s next project, “Hip-Hop’s Great Migration,” is a docu-series detailing the evolution of the hip-hop culture in various regions of the country. The series features Naughty By Nature, Ice T, and other world renown rap stars. Next, Freeman wrote and produced “Her Little Secret,” a gritty independent urban film. He is also writer and showrunner for the independently produced T.V. show “Chase Street,” starring Clifton Powell (Norbit, Ray), Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy on HBO’s The Soprano’s) and Taral Hicks (A Bronx Tale).

In addition to writing and producing his projects, Freeman has penned scripts for Clifton Powell and former N.B.A. Players Association director, Billy Hunter.

Currently, Freeman is developing two projects with Woody Mcclain (Bobby Brown from the New Edition movie). He previously collaborated with McClain and Kevin Hart on the L.O.L. Network’s Stories with Kev. Freeman is also a member of the Los Angeles Film School chapter of the National Honor Society of the Entertainment Arts and graduated with a B.A. in Digital Film Production in July 2018. Freeman continued his education by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in November 2019. Thomas Freeman Jr is a screen and teleplay writer who specializes in crime and urban dramas, scripted and documentaries.

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. I had a great experience at the Hip-Hop Film Festival. As a second-year participant, I wasn't sure how the virtual festival was going to be in comparison to the one from the previous year. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the festival was organized and kept us engaged virtually.

Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the culture are imperative because hip-hop culture is the biggest subculture in America. It's important that we control our own narratives and tell our own stories. Hip-Hop Film Festival provides a platform for us to showcase the stories that we create.

What projects are you working on now? Currently, I am working on a documentary and limited series about the Move Organization based in Philadelphia. The timing is perfect as 6 members of the Move 9 were recently released from prison. It also comes on the heels of the former mayor of Philadelphia Wilkson Goode, issuing an apology for the 1985 bombing of Move headquarters.

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? The Hip-Hop Film Festival and Harlem Film House are both important because they are platforms to distribute the content we create. As important as it is for us creators to create our own content, it is equally important for the Hip-Hop Film Festival to provide a platform to showcase that content. Controlling our stories is useless if we don't have an outlet to distribute them.

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