filmmaker: Monique Younger

I tell stories. I watch people. I root for the underdog. I am the underdog. Born and bred in the borough of Queens, NY – the suburb where Prince Hakeem traveled to find his queen, where Run DMC rocked the block, where LL Cool J couldn’t survive without his radio, led by the people’s instinctive travels and paths of rhythm, in the city that never sleeps – that New York. A place that demanded, that like a rose from concrete, I rise up to build something from nothing. To take random thoughts, random images and weave the common thread. My films weave the common thread.

‘It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! magazine, then I went and enrolled at Howard University.’ – Puffy

At Howard the threads of my experiences spread wide like the spider, taking class under Haile Gerima, sitting at the feet of Maya Angelou, interning for Def Jam, hanging out with Marlon Wayans, pledging Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, picking up my first video camera, volunteering at WHBC, planning THE Howard University Homecoming – all on the way to my B.A. in radio/television/film.

Landing a coveted position in the highly competitive CBS Page program. I was groomed to speech the audiences at shows including “Late Night with David Letterman,” and the “Geraldo Rivera Show”. Producers at “48 Hours” and “CBS Sunday Morning News” taught me the value of research and sculpting of story. From there, I worked my way into a dream job as a production assistant at Classic Sports Network/ESPN, where I not only produced, wrote and researched classic college football and basketball games, but also produced every segment of the network’s daily, “This Day in Classic Sports.”

Known as the little girl with the big camera (per the announcers at Harlem’s famed Rucker Park), I became a regular at shooting street basketball games (before And1™ was even a thing!). Before long, I was shooting interviews and performances with the likes of platinum R&B songstress Alicia Keys, recording artists Redman, Method Man, DMX and Bilal, as well as late famed Civil Rights attorney Johnny Cochran.

Trusty camera in hand, I toured the States with the celebrated UniverSoul Circus and abroad to Italy to film legendary jazz drummer Max Roach receive a doctorate degree. Through my travels, I served as camera operator on TLC’s “The Messengers” and writer and camera operator on Civil Rights documentary “Passing the Torch”. I’ve edited projects airing on BET, MTV, TLC, All Access and local cable as well as video promotional material for Vibe, Capitol, Universal and J Records. I also produced and edited the behind the scenes DVD for Pastor Troy’s “Riding Big” video for his 2004 Universal Records album By Any Means Necessary

A testament to God, hard work, dedication and talent, I brought home an Atlanta Hip Hop Film Festival Award and an award from London’s prestigious BFM international media group for my documentary feature “Finally Sayin’ What I Really Mean…” Programmed at film festivals across the globe from London to Liverpool and Jamaica to San Francisco, the feature garnered rave reviews for compelling substance and edgy style.

 

“In the end, it’s all about getting out my point of view – which is undeniably what I always want to do.”

Learning other aspects of the film industry have led me to an alternate career as a costumer on such shows as “The Vampire Diaries” and “One Missed Call,” cult classic feature films “Stomp the Yard,” “ATL”, “Road Trip 2,” “The Crazies” and Ashton Kutcher’s “Five Killers”, where I was Katherine Heigl’s personal dresser. From there, I’ve graduated to Costume Supervisor where I’ve led the Costume dept. on tv shows, “Drop Dead Diva”, “Let’s Stay Together”, “The Game” and “Zoe Ever After” and films like “Barbershop 3” featuring Ice Cube.

In 2008, I established Atlanta-based, boutique multi-media company Nadiri Creative Media, LLC as a means to inspire audiences with award-winning film, web and documentary productions.

“My goal is to leave my mark on this industry, and hopefully inspire other young people of color to do the same. I continue to weave the common thread.”