Deborah Jane hits society’s core with Strange Fruit: The Hip Hopera
It’s evident that Deborah Jane’s first play, The Hip Hopera which played to a sold out crowd while she was a junior at Stanford University led her to a life changing calling. While attending USC School of Cinematic Arts, she began turning The Hip Hopera into a screen play now called Strange Fruit: The Hip Hopera...
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Executive Producer & Screenwriter
Daughter of Guyanese immigrants, Deborah Jane grew up feelinginvisible in an all-white Orange County suburb as a member of theonly black family on the block. She escaped the emotional weight ofracism through writing, musicals and hip-hop – which sparked herpassion for social justice as well as using music to tell dynamic stories.At Stanford University, she wrote and produced an award-winning hip-hop musical (starring Issa Rae) and founded / edited an award-winningblack women’s magazine, Soul Sistah. There, she earned her Bachelorsdegree in Creative Writing and African-American Studies.
After teaching English in South Korea, she jump-started herHollywood career in film and television production, working at FOX,TBS, BET and PBS networks. She launched her production company,House of Deborah Jane Studios to create stories that championmulticultural voices and powerful woman. The company's mission isto make a social and spiritual impact through innovative entertainment. Under this banner, Deborah Jane has written/produced/directedwebseries, music videos and TV pilots -- one which has secured acomic book deal. Deborah Jane is also professionally published as ahip-hop columnist. She has 20 years of writing experience and is aproud alum of University of Southern California, School of CinematicArts where she holds her MFA in Screenwriting. Strange Fruit: TheHip-hopera is more than a movie for her, it is a mission.
Director & Head Producer
Founder of NABS International Productions, Nabila Lester is a filmand television producer, director and writer with over 15 years ofprofessional experience working in media and theater production inHollywood and abroad. Born in Harlem, Nabila earned her Bachelors degree in Education and Media Studies from University of California, Berkeley and her MFA in Film/Television Production from University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts.
Nabila has created multiple films and theater projects and hasperformed all over the world including in India, Cuba, Sub-SaharanAfrica, Paris, Brazil, Mexico, Barbados and Jamaica. She has wonvarious awards for her films at The New York Film Festival, TorontoFilm Festival, Slam Dance and The Pan African Film Festival. Sherecently was awarded Best TV Pilot by the Caucus of Producers,Directors and Writers for her role as Director on TV Pilot "InBrotherhood". In 2014, Nabila produced and directed her firstNollywood film entitled Ase to great success. In 2016 and 2017 Nabilawas producer/director for CNN Nigeria based documentary seriesAfrican Voices and Africa Marketplace. While in Nigeria, Nabilaproduced and directed several independent films and documentaries. She has also directed Nigerian commercials for Google, Uber andCoca-Cola. Her original short film, Nkiruka, has been featured inseveral film festivals.
Connor is an award-winning cinematographerwho has served as director of photography on 40 short films including Changing the Tide andThe Script. He has also worked on manycommercials and documentaries including theaward-winning Indigo and Iris. In New Zealand,he has told unique stories through UNICEF,Inspiring Stories, and Film for Change. Connorhas a passion for visual storytelling and makingbeautiful images come to life.
Founder of Emancipation Avenue, Karega is amusic producer, poet and hip-hop artist that hasdeveloped quite a unique style. He studied SocialJustice at Marygrove College and draws from awide range of influences, from hip-hop, to jazz,to gospel and funk. He has produced albums and a short film score. From down home blues to hotbuttered Soul, Karega makes music that is bothtimeless and cinematic.
Tai is a high-in-demand professional dancer andchoreographer, who expresses his exuberantspirit and love of God through innovativemovement. Born in Manhattan, Tai played thelead dancer in John Legend’s A Good Night, andhas choreographed his own dance showcase,Shadows of the Mind. He has been featured inVoyageLA Magazine and is one to reckon with.
Kimmie is a life-long dancer, choreographer,singer and educator. A devout Christian, she iscurrently developing a television network inconjunction with The Sound and is ExecutiveProducer of Christian webseries, Church Girls.Kimmie also serves as a tenured educator at aprivate school, holding her Masters inEducation. She brings her joyful spirit wherevershe goes and is especially thrilled to directcasting!
Andrew Allan James is a screenwriter, dancer,and actor. He graduated from StanfordUniversity with a Bachelors in Economics. Then, he pursued a career in commercial dance,performing alongside Alicia Keys, DeborahCox, and Dawn Richard. He has performed as aseries regular in Issa Rae's webseries, AwkwardBlack Girl. Andrew's first TV pilot, which heco-wrote, has secured a comic book deal.
Hailing from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Dedrick Bonner is now a Los Angeles artist who has made a career out of being the industry’s “Go To" man for all things musical. Dedrick started out as a solo performer, but soon realized that behind the scenes is where he thrived, and thus quickly made the transition. With that transition, he has acted as vocal coach/back-ground vocalist to artists such as Beyonce, BTS, the late Natalie Cole, Dolly Parton, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Ryan Gosling and Kristen Chenoweth. He has also acted as Musical Director for many projects including The Preachers on Fox 11 alongside Bill Geddie. Additionally, Proctor & Gamble's 2019 Superbowl Ad, and Old Navy’s 2018 holiday Ad.
Native of Miami, Wilkie Ferguson studied music and mathematics at Morehouse College, and majored in classical piano performance at Eastman School of Music. He served as Assistant Director at the Boy's Choir of Harlem. As a performer, he was a part of the original Broadway casts of Tony Award winning The Gershwins, Porgy and Bess, Motown the Musical, and Wonderland. He has toured with In the Heights; Hairspray; and Dreamgirls. As a composer/arranger, his work can be heard in Parrotheads, and his original musical, Take On Me, featuring big band arrangements of 80s pop hits.
Simone is a senior at Savannah College of Arts & Design in Atlanta, G. She is currently in the post-production phase of her senior thesis, Nothing Left to Give. Although her main passion is editing, Simone has discovered her underlying passion and talent in producing. After graduating, she plans on moving to Los Angeles to further pursue editing in producing in Hollywood.
Reverend Dr. Donald Lamb is a licensed pastor, counselor, author and businessman. He currently serves as the pastor over the jail ministry at Jesus
Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Before that, he directed the men's ministry at The Rock Church in Anaheim. As a motivator, speaker and teacher, Dr.
Lamb, changes lives by counseling people of all walks of life – from pastors to convicts to CEOs. He is also the founder of emerging virtual church,
Hallelujah, I Have a Testimony!
REVEREND DR. DONALD LAMB
SHELLEY BURKE, RN
Shelley is a registered nurse and professor of nursing at Cal State Fullerton and UCI for 7 years. A Guyanese native, she has always loved caring For those who are sick. She served as a nurse educator at CHOC Hospital and as President of the Orange County Society of Pediatric Nurses. Shelley holds her Masters of Science in nursing education and is currently pursuing her Doctorate (pHD) in nursing education. A born-again Christian, her faith is the very core to her life.
Pastor Brian and Pastor Danielle are lead pastors of The Sound, a Foursquare church that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of gifts, perspectives, and voices within the Body of Christ. They strive for unity with their motto "Many Voices, One Call". The Sound serves a multicultural community by equipping its members to fulfill God’s
unique calling on their life. In addition to ministry, Pastor Brian is a professional animator who has worked for Nickelodeon, and Pastor Danielle is a screenwriter. The Sound is committed to using media as part of its ministry. They acquired a new building in the heart of Santa Ana where they are constructing a film and music studio. Moreover, they successfully launched a Start-ups Discipleships program to encourage faith-based entrepreneurship.
The Sound amplifies Christ through its commitment to diversity. In conjunction with Deborah Jane, they launched a
Racial Reconciliation Roundtable YouTube Series to bridge diverse people and perspectives together.
PASTORS BRIAN HENEY & PASTOR DANIELLE HENEY
Santa Ana BLACK HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The SABHS mission is to collect, preserve and present art, artifacts and recorded materials that reflect the history and culture of African Americans in Santa Ana and Orange County.
Co-Producer & Marketing
India is a marketing and brand management professional and founder of Beam Creative Agency, which provides marketing consulting and execution, talent management, and multimedia production services. She has served as Director of Marketing for New Arab Media. India received her Bachelors in African and African-American Studies from Stanford University and her Masters in Leadership at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business