Film Pioneer, Samuel Young, Releases Films That Help Us Tap Into Black History
Can you tell the readers and I a little about yourself?
My name is Samuel Young and I’m 56 years young I like to think. I say that because I’m somewhat of a health fanatic and am somewhat obsessed with slowing the aging process. I think it’s very important to take advantage of the wisdom that you have acquired over your lifetime by being healthy and vibrant. I was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1962 and have lived in California and now in Atlanta. I have four children ranging in age from 31 to 15.
Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations and how did they impact your life?
I’ve had many. Of course my parents who are still living and married for over 60 years. My father taught me my work ethic. I came from a family of brick masons so I learned what hard work was early in life. I also came from a family of teachers and have taught in public schools and coached.
I would like to think I got my good heart from my mother. She is a selfless person. My uncle Fred Davis was my sports hero growing up as well as many other men and women in the community that helped inspire me.
Later on I learned more about my heritage through Dr. John Hendrix Clarke and of course Malcolm X, who I really fell in love with while in the Military. I later joined the Nation of Islam under Minister Farrakhan and worked for over 10 years. Before that, I was always active in the church and in the community in Tupelo.
How did you find yourself in the midst of creating a documentary?
I literally grew up on the campus of George Washington Carver High School in Tupelo. Our house was the only house on Carver Street, less than 50 feet from the gates. This was before integration of schools in Mississippi. As I said my uncle Fred Davis and my Aunt lived in the same duplex we did. Fred is a Carver and Alcorn State Legend so I got a good taste of what life was about before integration and it stuck with me to this day. People always have told me I write well and that I should do a book about it.
When did you realize you had a passion for films and history?
Film was never really anything I ever considered in my life. Never really a big movie buff. I was mostly into sports. My cousin, Arthur Jafa, sort of got the whole ball rolling as far as my thinking I may be able to do a movie. He is currently one of the most sought after Artist out there in Film, visual and pretty much anything. He’s a genius in my opinion. The world is just now finding that out but we’ve pretty much known it every since he was born.
He chose me as a cast member in his documentary, “Dreams Are Colder Than Death” and it’s pretty much opened up a new world for me. People always told me I write well and should write a book about my experiences and that is also on the horizon but for now I want to take advantage of that resource I have in my cousin. I probably would never be able to afford anyone close to his level to spearhead the project.
Can you tell us the subject or reason behind creating this new documentary Before Their Time the Movie?
Integration was good for blacks in many ways but it also left our community void of a lot of things. Mississippi and the South is the birthplace of many things, especially music. Our communities were breeding grounds for these great Artists. Also, many sports legends went on to become famous after getting their start in places like George Washington Carver High School. However, there were just as many who never became famous.
The first few years of my life, I actually experienced this era and I want to get the word out to young people about this era and also honor those from that era who are still living and give them something to go to the movies for. I believe that’s one of the things that’s missing in the lives of young Black People. That sense of ownership that was pretty much destroyed with integration.
How did you come about such an awesome storyline with great history and culture?
As I said, I lived it for the first few years of my life but also my Father and other men in my community are great story tellers and that was and still is one of my favorite things to do, listen to the elders tell stories. So the storyline comes from stories.
How many stories will share the spotlight of this film?
Three main stories. Music legends, sports legends and The School as the center of the community. Within each of these there will be various individual subplots or stories.
So I hear your project is in the beginning and it sounds like a valiant cause and great project, so much do you need to complete?
It is at the beginning but hopefully it will not be long before we actually start filming. It’s somewhat determined by my cousins schedule which is very busy right now but I’m patient. Of course, money is always a factor as well. I am currently looking for investors to share in the profits but it will get done with or without investors. I want to give anyone who wants to the opportunity to invest. For as little as a thousand dollars and person can join our team and potentially return many times that amount.
What great advice and words of wisdom can you share with us millennials?
My advise would be dream big and attempt the unthinkable while you are young because it’s much harder to pull off once you get up in age. Tomorrow is not promised. With the internet, all things are possible just put together a good plan, work it and stay patient and persistent. P.S send pictures or yourself, pictures of some of the people, and some scenery shots.