Sunday, June 20, 2010
Early in May I interviewed an up and coming actor, Lloyed E. Booker, click for post of interview & film review and gave a plug for the June 17th premiere of a film he's in called The Evils (Director Hakim Hudson). The premiere doubled as a fundraiser for a non-profit organization called IDEA Performing Arts Center, which benefits at risk kids in Camden by channeling their energy into multi-media production, filmmaking, visual arts , music and dance.
(pictured lft to rt: Funder, Booker, Primas
below lft to rt actors: Skye Dennis & Brian Anthony Wilson)
Contrary to my post at the time, I was able to attend this event after all. Unfortunately, I arrived too late to participate in the press room or take pictures of the actors arriving on the red carpet. I did arrive in time to hear Cynthia Primus, Program Director and Visual Arts Instructor, Francine Hicks (pictured) speak passionately about IDEA and the impact they strive to make in the lives of today's underprivileged youth. The film The Evils depicts the violence of the drug culture in no uncertain terms. It is the first of a series of films to be shown in the Susquehanna Bank Center Black Box Theater, entitled IDEA Reel to Real Film Series (Co-produced by Lloyd Booker & Mark Elson).
Primus and Hicks spoke about one particular student, well known and liked at the school, who showed quite a bit of promise in visual arts. His parents were on drugs,and they saw how eager and hungry he was for the escape the classes at IDEA offered. Despite their best efforts, this particular program at IDEA ended due to lack of funding. It wasn't long after, they found out this young man they were both so fond of, committed murder over drugs and is now yet another kid rotting in a jail cell.
"During the process of mentoring and working with these kids, we discover heartbreaking stories, but we try to open the door to change and help them see their lives in a different perspective."
"Our children are dying every day. I grew up in Centerville in Camden, what I saw in this movie was the hardcore realities of the streets, which our young brothers and sisters really need to see. Not dressed up or glamorized. But at the same time, we want the film series to start a dialogue on the difference between acting and real life."
A greater attendance at this event would have been ideal for IDEA, but it is a start in creating more awareness of the program. My charitable dollars have been going to support a child through Children International for over a decade, which is a wonderful organization and an important mission. However, attending this event makes me think my money could be going to good use a little closer to home. Particularly, an organization that encourages young African American and Latino kid to believe they can one day be an integral part of the Entertainment Industry.
(pic: beautifully dressed attendees Judy & Edna)