We had an opportunity to speak with Director Mykell Barlow on his latest project “Huru.” Check out the interview below.
Hi, Mykell! 2017 is shaping up to be a defining year for you. We’re excited to learn about your new short, “Hụrụ .” What inspired the film?
Thank you! Hụrụ is very special to me because there is so much going on in our country politically and racially and I needed to find ways to creatively express myself. I don’t like arguing or debating with people on social media because no one is ever really listening. Hụrụ is my way of artistically expressing my thoughts and feelings. My hope is that it might cause people to view a potentially different perspective from an empathetic lens.
After two years of DNA tests and researching my ancestry, I was able to trace my African lineage, in part, to the Igbo people. The Igbo people can be found in many parts of Africa with huge populations in Nigeria and The Congo. During the Atlantic Slave Trade ma, y Igbo people were taken from the Nigeria/Congo area to Virginia where my ancestors can be first traced back to in America. I am still learning a lot about the Igbo people and hope to travel to Nigeria someday soon to gain firsthand knowledge of their modern culture and practices.
What is the message of the film?
Hụrụ is the Igbo word for FOUND. The message of this film is self – discovery. Figuring out who you, where you come from and finding strength and self-worth in that. There is something powerful in realizing that you are not a lonely atom floating through life but a link in a long chain of men and women who fought, survived, and thrived on the same earth you currently walk. As an African American, it is especially life altering to discover that you possess within yourself the strength of generations of people who survived and endured despite oppressive and horrible conditions. Not only that, to know that my people reach beyond the blight of slavery to a people with language and culture and tradition…it’s a beautiful discovery.
Why should people watch “Huru?”
It is my hope to always inspire empathy for my fellow man. This film is meant to give a true and artistic voice to my thoughts about where we are as a culture politically and racially. The director, Justin Patten, captured beautiful images that speak volumes to the thoughts in my head. Instead of talking about Charlottesville or Black Lives Matter or our current presidential administration, I choose to express the things I see and feel underneath all of the symptoms, effects, and distractions. It is my belief, that any race, religion, or sexual orientation can see themselves in the face of this film.
We are starting to submit this film to a few film festivals. Hopefully, we will hear some good news from them soon. Ultimately, my goal is to get the message of this film out en masse.
Thank you for chatting with us about “Huru.” Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for talking with me about Hụrụ. We have a few more projects coming up, including season 2 of our webseries 202. I look forward to what the future will bring and hope to share more great content with you guys soon.