Ozzie Jones was the first Director to hire me as a professional actor on the stage back in Philly in 1998 (I think) Even at that time I counted it a blessing to be part of this brother’s creative process a long with a grip to amazing Philly Artists. A true ARTIVIST (director, producer, MC, father, husband)
I continue to be inspired by the moves this brother makes. His work continues to address the issues that to often get overlooked or “talked at” instead of transformed and and addressed. In this film “My Block is Crazy" you hear youth from the city of Philadelphia speak for themselves about the issue of violence that affects them on a daily basis. Ozzie, in true ARTIVIST form did not hesitate to give candid answers to a few questions I posed to him about the film and the process. Check out his thoughts below. This film can be seen on Youtube so please pass it on your community especially the youth. I"m sure that I’m speaking to the choir here but… Every life lost to the environments that we as Adults create for our youth is a crime we must answer to. Yes, I know that the forces that battle against them are great but we have never had more tools than we do now to put up a FIGHT FOR what we want on the shoulders of our great ancestors. Create fearlessly so as to teach the youth that life is not to be feared.
Erwin E. A. Thomas / Creative Intelligence Arts
E: What did yo learn most from the process?
O:what i learned most was that you can not teach young people or anyone for that matter if you ignore or silence their voice in the conversation. in all the coverage of the “flash mobs” i noticed that no one had actually talked to the kids. impossible to know what is going on in anything if you do not listen to and hear the people most involved.
E: What’s the next step for the youth we see in the film?
O: the next step is I am pushing the concept of the film’s creation as a reality show or series where i repeat the process i engaged these kids in, in cities around the united states. work like this needs repetition. a real committment to working with and building with young people. cause when they are left alone they wil’ out. and no one film will help that. but a contiued process might. problem is we need money to keep it moving and niggas love to talk more than they love to spend money on building thier commuinity. harsh but true. thats why i am trying to turn it in a show. praying that maybe people will give a fuck about these kids if they think its a reality show with some ignorant drama in it. again. harsh but true.
E:What is the ideal function of the film… who do you want to see it most?
O: the ideal function of the film for me is to highlight the fact that the problems with these kids are OUR fault. adults! lying to them. abandonning them. verbally, sexually, physically, mentally, and spiritually abusing them. Us. politicians, parants, cops, drug dealers, store owners, teachers, neighborhoods, US. grown folks are making them crazy by not doing our bloody jobs in their lives and in turn it is making them crazy and they are lashing out. we can fix that broken relationship. and we must, before the shorty’ burn everything to the ground.
E: What are you reading these days?
O: I am reading the Bible, bunch of kids books, paul laurence dunbar collection, and alot of my own work trying to get it tight and right.
E: Did Grand Agent write any of the songs for the project specifically?
O: Yes and no about Grand Agent. alot of the songs he had written ahead of time. but he wrote them while he and i were talking all the time about the class and what i was learning working with the kids, so in that respect you could say hearing about them forced his pen to act. they did the same thing to me.