News

“Mission Possible: Help Us Get to Africa

June 20, 2017

“The time has come,’ the Walrus said,

     To talk of many things:…”

 

Akata Family,

For the past two and a half years I have been working on Akata Documentary, a film which traces my journey to uncover my family’s history. Through my journey, you have witnessed me purchasing and taking my DNA test to meeting new relatives. Via social media, you’ve traveled with me to Utah, Atlanta, and South Carolina. I showed you the slave homes were my ancestors where enslaved and we’ve even celebrated together at the #AkataCookout.

I’m excited to report that the Akata Team and I have almost reached the final stage of production. Today, we are asking you to continue your support by helping us complete the film. Up until this point, we have self-funded this project and unfortunately, we have exhausted our resources. We have one final segment left to shoot which requires us to spend one month in West Africa. We want to ensure the authenticity of the film by visiting the exact places where my ancestors originated. Some of these places include Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria. We want to visit every slave port, castle, and museum. While we are there, we hope to interview the locals and get their perspective of their country’s history and how they feel about my project. I am super excited but I am prepared to work as soon as my feet hit African soil.

Our goal is to raise at least $10,000, which will provide 2 international plane tickets to Africa, as well as domestic flights within the continent to 7 different countries. 

To Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/AkataDocu

For the past two and half years, I have dedicated my life to this project. No really… I’ve stopped working a regular 9 to 5 job and I have worked diligently on this project because I see the value and impact this film could have on an entire generation. Not only to inspire the African American community to get interested in their own personally genealogy but to enhance relations within the African diaspora and inspire the youth to appreciate their individual culture and traits that make them unique. This film must get done and it must be put out there for public consumption. I can’t do these things without your help.

 I look forward to whatever support you can provide, and I look forward to sharing my West African experiences with you!

God Bless

Victoria

Together we can make genealogy lit.

www.AkataDocumentary.com

Continue Reading

News

You’re Invited: #AkataSoiree

June 3, 2017

You are invited! Consider this your personal invitation from us.

On Friday, July 28, 2017, from 7:30 -10 pm, we are hosting a fundraising soiree to get the community excited about our project and excited about donating to our GoFundMe campaign. At the event, our guests will be the FIRST to see the premiere of our official movie trailer! I cannot wait for you guys to see it. We will also have time to for a Q&A session afterward, so don’t be shy.

Our menu will consist of delicious American and African cuisine by our very own chef Loyal “Chip” Henderson III and our sponsor Lady V, from Lady V Bijoux. What else can I say? There will be $5 raffles (we have awesome prizes), giveaways, music, networking and more! Be sure to wear your best African attire. If you don’t have any, cocktail attire is best.

When you arrive, use our Snapchat filter and tell your friends to support our film by donating to our GoFundMe campaign. We are bringing back the Akata Documentary & Up Studios LLC banner, so take as many selfies you want in front of it!

Please RSVP to the event here: https://akatasoiree.eventbrite.com

#AkataSoiree #AkataDocumentary #MoreThanBlack

 

 

*P.S. It is recommended that you show up on time. We will be premiering our video presentation at 8:30 pm sharp!

Continue Reading

News

“Black Privilege”: A Book Review

May 23, 2017

Warning: Spoiler alert! The views expressed in this blog post are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Akata Team.

His Story

Whenever I read a book, regardless of genre, I like to completely immerse myself in a story. I want to feel that what protagonist feels, eat what they eat, smell what they smell, I think you get the picture. When I was reading Charlamagne’s story, I didn’t have to rely on my imagination as much, because his story and my story are a lot alike. Well…. Not really…. at all, but our mentalities are virtually similar.

Charlamagne and his family grew up in a trailer park in South Carolina. His mother was a teacher and a Jehovah Witness, and his father was infamously known around town as a drug dealer and womanizer. As a child, he was constantly teased for being dark skinned (me too), having spots on his face and a big nose. He excelled academically in elementary school (me too), but years later he kept getting suspended from school and eventually thrown in jail. On one occasion he and his father were put in jail for drug possession and ended up in the same cell.

The rest is history – After getting fired from 4 different radio stations, having to move back in with his mother (at the age of 30) with his wife and daughter, Charlamagne is now as successful radio co-host, podcaster, TV show host and now a best-selling author. If you are an avid listener to the Breakfast Club like I am, most of this brief breakdown should not come as a surprise to you, but if it did, my bad, I told you there were spoilers.

God Plays A Major Role In His Life

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I appreciated how much Charlamagne credited God throughout his entire life. Now, I am not stating that he said he was a “born-again Christian”, in fact, I do question some of his theology (but that is beside the point), what I am saying is that I admire that he told his readers that his life would be TRASH if God’s hands weren’t on it. For instance, when he was still a radio DJ in South Carolina, a friend of his prophetically told him that he should do radio in New Jersey, he immediately shot that down, until he saw “signs” everywhere pointing him to New Jersey and eventually he got a call and it was an opportunity to work in that state.

Another incident was when he was a teenager, a neighborhood bully caught wind of Charlamagne talking mess about him. The bully confronted Charlamagne about it, he didn’t back down. The bully beat him up so mercilessly that another child had to step in and break up the fight because he thought the bully was going to kill Charlamagne. Long story short, that bully is now a man serving a life sentence in jail for murdering someone.

A final example, Charlamagne re-tells the infamous story of being jumped outside of the Breakfast Club building. He was punched in the back of the head and fled the scene, of course, this incident was caught on camera. In the book, he shared that the police found the person who hit him, and a week later from his incident, that criminal murdered someone. That could’ve been him. Charlamagne has had so many near-death experiences (me too), which he shares in his book, that he proclaims that he doesn’t understand how people cannot believe that there is no God. Lol, He is truly a witness to the Lord’s mercy and grace. Love him or hate him, Charlamagne is FAVORED. God indirectly showed him his destiny through signs, mentors, and circumstance. Unlike Charlamagne, God told me directly to create Akata Documentary, but that is a story for another time.

 

His Advice On Life, Career, And Love

One of the features I love about this book is, it reads like a self-help/ memoir. Charlamagne addresses how to overcome misogyny and homophobia in the African American community, how to prioritize your career, love life, make new friends and seek out experiences. Towards the end of this book, Charlamagne shares what a typical day looks like for him. OMG, all I remember is that his day starts off at 3:30 am and the rest is filled with: Breakfast Club gig, podcast gig, TV show taping, meetings, prayer and spending time with his family. He shares that if you want to prioritize your personal success, you have to be FOCUSED and cut the riff raff out of your life. The riff raff can include: clubbing every weekend, spending downtime with friends knowing that you have more important things to take care of, social media (especially if it isn’t your job) etc.

Charlamagne says it’s good to spend time and chill with (old) friends, reminisce about the good ol days and turn up every once and while, but that cannot be a habit for him. Every “down time” he has within his day is spent with his wife and kids. I loved reading how much of a family man Charlamagne is. If I am honest, I needed to hear these words, because his schedule is the story of my life, on a smaller scale. I am not working a 9 to 5 job, Akata Documentary and Up Studios LLC are my life. As the main character and executive producer, I manage a team of 5, the social media handles, website, I am in meeting after meetings, writing email after emails, networking events, you name it. Because I work so hard on this and other projects, I don’t have a lot of time to socialize like I once did. And it’s not like I don’t have time, I choose not to make it high on my priority list.

Recently, I went to a fashion show event that one of my friends were hosting, and all of my homies whom I grew up with were there. I had an awesome time catching up with them. Towards the end of the night, one of my friends pulled me to the side and said “Vicky, you know we all miss you at the rec center (my old hangout spot). You should stop by every once in while. I left that conversation feeling horrible, do my old friends feel abandoned, do they hate me for not stopping by like I used too? After I read Charlamagne’s schedule, I realized that it is ok for people to miss you when you are out here grinding. When that level of success comes, you can bless them how you want to and in your own time. So to any of my homies that are reading this post right now, know that I love you and I miss you too. What I am building here with Akata Documentary is going to BLESS ALL OF US.

 

Final Thoughts

If you are on the fence of whether or not you want to purchase this book, I say BUY IT, #SupportBlackBusiness. I know this book will encourage people who have never thought about sharing their story, into doing so. If you are into pop culture, buy this book. If you are into rags to riches stories, self-help books or even New York Times best sellers, BUY THIS Book.

BTW I am not sponsored by Charlamagne or “Black Privilege” estate

Victoria Gregg, M.B.A.

Continue Reading

News

What You Can Expect From Us: 2017

May 17, 2017

Can you believe that this year is almost half-way over?! Not to worry, we have some BIG plans for this year, so I want to take the time out to share what you guys can expect from us (The Akata Team) in 2017.

GoFundMe Campaign

In mid-June, we will be launching our GoFundMe campaign. We will be asking our supporters to join the effort to helping us complete the film. Unfortunately, we have exhausted our funds and we have one final segment left to shoot. We want to ensure the authenticity of the film by visiting the exact places where my ancestors originated, so we would like to spend one month in West Africa. Our goal is to raise at least $10,000, which will provide 2 international plane tickets to Africa, as well as domestic flights within the continent.

We have been working hard on this independent project for two years and we hope we can count on you to help make this film best it can be. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I look forward to whatever support you can provide, and I look forward to sharing my West African experiences with you! Stay tuned for more details.

Akata Soiree

You are invited! Consider this your personal invitation from us. On Friday, July 28, 2017 from 7:30 -10 pm, we are hosting a fundraising soiree to get the community excited about our project and excited about donating to our GoFundMe campaign. At the event, our guests will be the FIRST to see the premiere of our official movie trailer! I cannot wait for you guys to see it.
Our menu will consist of delicious American and African cuisine. What else can I say? There will be $5 raffles (we have awesome prizes), giveaways, music, networking and more! Be sure to wear your best African attire. If you don’t have any, cocktail attire is best. Stay tuned for more details.

Returning to the Motherland

Assuming we make (and exceed!) our crowdfunding goal, the Akata Team and I will be traveling to West Africa in Dec. 2017. We will be working as soon as our American feet touch African soil. We are there to retrace my ancestors footsteps. I want to visit every slave port, castle and museum. I want to interview strangers on the street and ask them how they feel about an “Akata” (Nigerian slang for African American), tracing their roots. Some of the countries on our wish list include: Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo and Senegal. Sounds like alot huh? Well, we will be staying in West Africa for the whole month of December.

After we get back to the states, we will jump right into post-production. As I stated above, we cannot complete this film without you. Please consider donating to our GoFundMe campaign in June. If you are led to donate RIGHT NOW, you can do so by visiting www.AkataDocu.com/Give.

See you at the Soiree!

 

Continue Reading