Reported by Mr. Ink

On a cloudy Thursday evening in mid-June, I found myself heading to the Jackie Gleason as a new media rep for Bossy Magazine at this year Real To Reel sponsored by Gentleman Jack Daniels Whiskey. A far cry from the network mixers and fashion shows I’m used to. And I was ecstatic
Walking up to the event my camera couldn’t stay in my pocket. Step for step throughout the event I was in awe of how much of “our people” amongst others came out to support this effort to highlight African American filmmakers in this local South Florida community. The entry line filed back into the entrance gate at one point. Red carpet pics with excited audience members & some of the actors from the feature films of the evening make for a more magical evening as the sun continues its descent behind the rain clouds that covered the horizon.

As we walk into the showroom, the band is keeping spirits active with their soulful notes. We’re in still in the cocktail hour so roaming privileges are still in effect. As I make my way around the room, the ambiance is electric almost.
There’s an abundance of libations with a fresh faces, outfits, smell, sense walking into the building at a noticeable rate. I grab my first cup of the night from one of three minibars set up throughout the event & begin to soak it all in some more. The VIP room has a virtual reality station I said to myself in an impressionable shock. Some of the event’s patrons were seen having so much fun walking through whatever world was behind those strapped on goggles I believe were provided by Samsung.
The positivity flowed. Everyone was smiling every conversation was of progressive activity within our community. I couldn’t get enough of the network of people out so many different avenues of life in South Florida.

They begin to show the winning feature films. The room is very much fixated on the screen. Almost at a silent standstill in order to fully inhale the ideals being presented fluidly by the actors on screen. The first feature was very much comical but very insightful. They say you decide what you’re going to do with a romantic interest within the first ten seconds. This guy went through a lifetime in that few seconds on screen. The storyline was a bit chopped maybe it was the second cup of jack that inhibited my understanding of the script/timeline but the driving concept invokes a message of the aforementioned ideas on deciding what type of man/woman you choose to have in your life. And I always tell the ladies “Life’s all about decisions”. Same can go for the fellas. In all honesty, although very comical/entertaining at moments, the productions “point delivery” was aloof in by the time the credits rolled.

Then the drums rolled and finally, we got to see SoulFire. This short film was intense. The actors delivered in every scene. I believed in all the emotions they played out on the screen. Had there been two hours of it, we would’ve cried a river no doubt. Without giving too much of the story away for those who haven’t seen it, just hold onto your loved ones. It is definitely a relatable picture especially for the families of armed forces that have given their loved ones in defense of this country & its interests. Janlatae Mullins won the competition with her film “Soul Fire” and received a $10,000 cash award.
And the evenings not done yet because once the panel is off stage & a short intermission, they announce the coup degra. Ladies & gentlemen Mr. Omari Hardwick aka Ghost of the hit series Power. As he’s walking on stage I pull out my phone because Chevys voice is in my head all night saying “Get as much footage as you can”. I want to make a good impression. I got ten seconds of video of him walking/waving his way onto the stage and black goes my screen. Needless to say, I was livid.

Ignoring all the fandom screaming & “I love you” echoing throughout the first ten mins I sat at esteemed attention as “ghost/host” spoke on his many experiences as an African American actor. explaining how standing firm may feel like a feared hindrance, it can stand to be the pivot that the career of an African American in said industry. I’m about a week and some change removed from the event but I can still feel being glued to my seat soaking in all the gems dropping on stage.

“Knowledge of Self” was a core subject being projected by Mr. Hardwick. These subjects deserve undivided attention. Being an actor one portrays so many different people with so many different characteristics. His latest and seemingly most pinnacle role as Ghost on the hit tv series power is proof of his pov. The “consumer” takes in what they are immediately given as such from whatever media outlet you individually subscribe to.
They then, once assimilated to a character, project the fandom onto the public figure at all times. Then even when dealing within yourself as the actor if you don’t know yourself you will be consumed by such characters. Hardwick has played various roles with both similarities & differences. The steadfastness to understand that “Knowledge Of Self” plays a role in all we do as African Americans in today’s society. That was just one of the many jewels dropped throughout the evening.My first day as a media reporter-blogger person was amazing & coming to an end. As we are leaving the building I see our main attraction entering his vehicle for departure. I pass him but I can’t shake one thought. So I go back to shake his hand one more time & say out proper goodbyes. I don’t want to hold him up. So I tell him ” I too have taken on the moniker of Ghost within my own network in South Florida.”The inevitable response is ‘Why?’ Looking him eye to eye with a locked firm respectful grip I hit him with ‘I walk through walls’…..& I walked away. He gave me a shocked look while I was doing my 180. He said ‘Be Careful with those Walls my man’. Funny guy. Cool guy. Smart Guy.
And that was REAL TO REEL A NIGHT TO ENJOY & CELEBRATE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VOICE IN HOLLYWOOD THE FILM INDUSTRY. THANK YOU