Atlanta is steadily on the rise as becoming the hub for all things film and entertainment. Critically acclaimed movies and shows such as Black Panther and the FX series show, “Atlanta,” helped draw in business, movie directors, actors, and creatives.
Companies such as Seed & Spark is no exception. Founded by Emily Best, Seed & Spark hosted a workshop Saturday, Oct.20 at the Plaza Theatre to discuss diversity, inclusion and the growing independent film scene in Atlanta.
“Seed & Spark is a creative marketplace where creators can build sustainable careers. We’ve combined the audience building power of crowdfunding for filmmakers,” Best said. “We’re the number one crowdfunding platform in the world for movies and shows, and we’re also a subscription streaming platform for audiences.”
In attendance for the workshop was actress and writer, Erika Alexander.
She is best known for her role as Maxine Shaw on the show “Living Single” and now CW’s “Black Lightning.”
During the workshop, Alexander discussed the impact her character Maxine Shaw played in the lives for people of color and television comedy.
“It was very important. There’s going to be a study on it called the Maxine Shaw effect because after 25 years, this year being the 25th year, people who have been influenced are now in some degree of success in their forties and fifties,” Alexander said.
Alexander adds that the character also influenced viewers of the show to go into politics, leadership or executive positions.
“The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is going to do the research. We have anecdotal evidence, and now we’re going to have the analysis, and they’re calling it the Maxine Shaw effect,” Alexander said.
In addition to the impact Maxine Shaw has had for “Living Single” fans, Alexander discusses why it is vital for the film industry to grow with diversity and inclusion.
“If it’s hijacked by one sort of main white male patriarchy, then no matter how good the intentions may be, you’re getting just one point of view of one perspective,” Alexander said.
Alexander mentions while Black people are the sons and daughters of slaves, the minds of people of color could not be taken.
“They could take our time from us; they could take our bodies from us, they couldn’t take our minds. So we built culture, and so we’re culture makers,” Alexander said.
In addition to the growth of inclusion and diversity in the film industry, the Me Too movement continues to rise with victims of sexual assault speaking out.
“Women have been discovering themselves for a long time. With the miseducation of America around a female president or female candidates, a lot of the women were disappointed and in rage, and they set it off,” Alexander said.
Be sure to check out Alexander on the show “Black Lighting” Tuesdays at 9 p.m.