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BLAK WAVE, spearheaded by Michael Jenkins and Dr Mena Fombo, will be the first of Bristol’s 140 TV production companies to be black owned.
The company’s mission is to create content from a fresh perspective, giving a voice to those who are underrepresented on our screens and telling stories that reflect and resonate with today’s TV audiences.
Dr Mena Fombo is a highly regarded equality and diversity campaigner in Bristol. She is credited with founding Black Girl Convention and has a background in filmmaking including heading up the creative production agency Eight at Knowle West Media Centre. Co-founder Michael Jenkins is an established filmmaker whose recent documentary about St Pauls Carnival received wide acclaim. As well as making content for the BBC, he has numerous credits for Channel 4 and a range of digital platforms.
Blak Wave is being incubated by DrummerTV, the award-winning production company making entertainment and factual programming for Channel 4, BBC1, BBC3, Channel 5, CBBC and British Sign Language Broadcast Television.
Commenting on the launch, co-founder Michael Jenkins said: “I’ve been a filmmaker for the past seven years and more often than not, when I enter a commissioning room, I’m the only black person in it. Blak Wave is a huge opportunity to invest in developing new narratives and tell untold stories that reflect the population”.
Dr Mena Fombo said: “You’ve heard of a rogue wave, well now a Blak Wave is coming, and we’re inviting everyone to jump on board and ride it, this is going to be great for the industry, particularly in the South West.”
Bristol is synonymous with award winning TV output. However, diversity and a lack of representation continues to be an issue in this sector just as it is at a national level.
Tamsin Summers and Rachel Drummond Hay, directors of Drummer TV said: “When Drummer started we were one of only a handful of production companies owned by women and now Blak Wave is paving the way for BAME-led TV in our region. We’re thrilled to be supporting them. There’s a misconception that the underrepresented want to make niche programming and Mike and Mena will prove this wrong with ideas that are broad, big and bold”.
Source: Voice Newspaper, 26th October
All successful people have one quality in common, and that is resilience. Resilience is having the capacity that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failures overcome them they find a way to rise from their adversities.
I am presently in Jamaica and following the inspiring stories regarding Tyler Perry's accomplishments moving from adversity to triumph to build the biggest film studios situated in 330-acres. His journey against the odds has made him the first African American to own a major film production studio of this magnitude.
Perry had a rough childhood. He was physically and sexually abused growing up, got kicked out of high school, and tried to commit suicide twice — once as a preteen and again at 22. At 23 he moved to Atlanta and took up odd jobs as he started working on his stage career. He failed many times in his career but he never quit.
This news had me thinking about how challenging it must have been for him with all his failures but he never give up on his dreams. In one of his interviews Perry says, "When a seed is planted in the ground, all you can do is water it, you cannot control the sunshine, you cannot control the weather, all you can do is plant your seed in the ground, water it and believe."
The most difficult thing for anyone with a dream is making the decision to overcome obstacles, endure hardship and keep calm under the challenges life brings. Pursuing your dream and successfully achieving it will require commitment and persistence and true belief in yourself. You will sometimes feel like you are going crazy, and those around you might agree with you at times. But the key thing is to NEVER give up.
Tyler Perry has proven that with hard work and commitment you can achieve your dreams against the odds. Hope this helps you win. Keep on keeping on.