Filmmaker Goddey Asemota

Filmmaker Goddey Asemota has worked for some of the top entertainment companies in the industry like the BBC, NBC, and HBO, but the Baltimore native ultimately decided to take the independent route to share his talents with the world. In 2005 he founded his own company, Soul Purpose Media, with the sole purpose of creating “unique media for unique purposes”, and last year the Brooklyn College film production graduate addressed the untapped theme of homophobia in the African-American community with his first feature film No Homo.

Asemota is a screenwriter/director who isn’t afraid to confront topics in his art that represent reality from his perspective, and his debut is a testament to his independent thinking and his mission to be “unapologetically black”. No Homo is the tale of two young fashion designers who adopt the controversial slogan for their brand after repeatedly being questioned about their sexuality. As the main characters Lance and Dame’s street wear clothing line starts to grab major attention from the fashion world unintended results causes them to reevaluate their perspective about the two words that put them on the map.

No Homo recently had its New York City premiere at the 3rd annual New Voices in Black Cinema Festival in Brooklyn after screening at the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Norcross, Georgia in 2012. DZI: The Voice got the opportunity to interview Asemota, and the outspoken Brooklyn College film production graduate shared his thoughts on the perception of his film, his experience working on HBO’s The Wire, and more.

Yohance Kyles: When did you discover your voice as an artist?

Goddey Asemota: I would say I always had my voice, I just I needed to obtain the skills needed to perform.

I’m like you can’t tell me my experience is any less as important to me as yours is to you.

YK: You’ve said that you want to make movies that are “unapologetically black”. Can you elaborate on that idea?

GA: It means to not apologize for the black experience. I think too many times black artists feel they have to repress their cultural identity, because generally blacks are seen to have no depth. They feel to be taken seriously by whatever establishment they have to tackle certain subjects a certain way to be seen as a real artist.  If they choose to show an authentic black experience they apologize for it like its some ailment. I’m like you can’t tell me my experience is any less as important to me as [yours] is to you.

YK: What inspired you to create the film No Homo?

GA: It was a young girl killed in Brooklyn several years back whose unsolved murder prompted local politicians to blast the whole “Stop Snitching” culture in the streets. They where holding up a bunch of t-shirts with the phrase written on it and a bunch of other stuff and burned and condemned it for the unsolved murder of this girl. I walked away from seeing this and saying to myself I can’t believe two words (stop snitching) could transcend so much and be indirectly linked. From there I was inspired.

What we do now is ask is it morally correct to profit off a cultural loophole between tolerance and intolerance.

YK: Publicly addressing the topic of homosexuality is still somewhat taboo in the African-American community, were you ever concerned that the subject matter of the film would been seen as too risqué for black audiences?

GA: Once again BLACK PEOPLE, there is nothing to be ashamed of for a phrase that’s part of our cultural language. It’s called the black experience.  But on the real, this movies tackles homosexuality from a straight perspective. “No homo” is a term used amongst straight men to excuse something that may seem to be sexually questionable about their character. What we do now is ask is it morally correct to profit off a cultural loophole between tolerance and intolerance. So people should not be concerned because the movie is built to talk about and debate, but not for the reasons you suspect from the title.

YK: How did you finance your film?

GA: The movie was self-financed, but I’m the only filmmaker in the world who would make this film, so I paid for it.

Still from 'No Homo' feat. cast members Sabrina Athena and John Cannon

YK: Hip Hop and fashion play an important role in No Homo. Have you heard from any Hip Hop artists or urban designers about the movie?

GA: No, not yet but hopefully after they read this profile they get up on it and holler at the scholar. 🙂

YK: I’m interested to know your take on the recent trend of Hip Hop artists wearing “feminine” clothing?

GA: Hip Hop’s hyper masculinity is the reason why a clothing company like No Homo can exist in today’s new age Hip Hop theater. Ultimately, Hip Hop is a smell test industry. If you’re rocking female’s clothes and your flow is trash, then you will be dismissed by purists as a gimmick, some lady gaga shit. But if you’re wearing a wedding dress and eating tracks, people will scratch their heads, but you have a better chance of getting away with it as art then if your flow was wack.

YK: You got the chance to work on one of the greatest television shows of all time in The Wire. How was that experience?

GA: I grew up in Baltimore so The Wire was cool. I worked on the entire season one except the pilot. I was real close to Idris [Elba] and Wood Harris, so that was dope, but real talk, I’m not about cop shows. I can’t stand that genre. It’s so racist and bullshit!

I remember being in the production office with the only black writer of the show and telling her I think we’re doing something that is going to make our city look bad. She was like, “why you here then?”, and that was my first opportunity in the whole industry so I had no response. She was down to sell Baltimore City and the people down the river, but not me!

I made it a point right then in my mind that I would not be working season two on that show, and I was moving to New York to go to film school. I watched season one just because I had read all the scripts and could recite all the words that were coming out the actors’ mouths as they were recited, but other than that I never watched a single episode of The Wire after season one! Didn’t care for the show when I worked on it, and don’t care for the show now!

YK: You have worked in both the documentary format and the narrative format. Do enjoy one more than the other?

GA: I’m into content period. Narrative and doc is not the only way I get down! I am experimenting with video art and VJing to push my threshold as an artist.  But I love what you can do with short form documentary work right now. Expect a good amount from me this year along with a gallery video piece to help expand my brand.

I’m into people who are creating dope content across all mediums. As long as it’s with the moving image I’m with it.

YK: Are there any other independent filmmakers out now that you would consider yourself a fan of?

GA: I’m into more then just filmmakers. I’m into people who are creating dope content across all mediums. As long as it’s with the moving image I’m with it. Cats like Creative Control, Rik Cordero, Terence Nance, my man in Nigeria Patrick Ellis, Motion Family, and all those peeps that throw that dope shit up on vimeo.

YK: Who are your all-time favorite directors?

GA: Haile Gerima, Hype Williams, Spike Lee, The Hughes Brothers, and Michael Mann.

YK: What were the last 5 movies you’ve seen?

GA: Can’t remember. I can tell you I don’t go to the movies much, because there is a lot of shit that don’t tickle me.

YK: What’s next for Goddey Asemota?

GA: More unapologetic black content! Holler.

All photos courtesy of Goddey Asemota

For more info about Goddey Asemota and Soul Purpose Media click it

To connect with Goddey find him on Facebook

Check out the trailer for No Homo:

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