Examiner.com's DC Celebrity column has been on tippy-toes awaiting an opportunity to meet with Mr. Janks Mortan of IYAGO Entertainment! We caught up with Janks during an excellent premier of his documentary, "Hoodwinked: A Doculogue By Janks Morton" at Howard University's Cramton Auditorium. After the "Hoodwinked" premier, DC Celebrity spoke with Janks about his film, family, and future intentions. The film is an awesome recap of previously discussed topics and new controversial perspectives (please see the post-show interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1_pXV3tG_E).
As a sought after teacher, lecturer, and motivational speaker, Janks has served as a panelist and keynote speaker at colleges, universities, prisons, conferences, and centers around the globe. My exposure to Janks expands more than fifteen years. He and I connected inside the world of music production while managing R&B/pop music groups. I needed music production and studio work; he provided professional support and much voluntary censure! Needless to say, I appreciated creative input and eventually became a friend of Janks and the IYAGO camp. I've shared this part of his history only to frame my perspective of the man that I knew personally and professionally. As with most of Janks' friends/associates, I found him intriguing, smart, and mission-beaming due to the spot-on nature of his subjects. So, it is no wonder that our brother found time to birth six excellent documentaries and three books of unprecedented and explosive material (Janks' products available on www.amazon.com, www.whatblackmenthink.com and www.janksmorton.com).
His first documentary film, "What Black Men Think" forced the conscious public to pause, stop, and wonder where this guy came from! Mainstream media also wondered who was behind the "new" insightful message. Interesting enough, Janks produced, directed, and maintained a narrator role in the documentary. "What Black Men Think" challenged all thinkers to re-examine assumptions, re-master programming, and gain proper perception. He argues that the omnipresent mainstream media has something to gain from exploiting black people particularly black men when it disproportionally courts stories of desperation and self-hate. To prove on short-order that this pervasive media influence has met its objective, Janks' started the conversation on the streets of American by asking, "Are there more black men in jail or college?" Nearly all of the random participants yelled...."yes". As you'd guess by the context of this article - the answer is an astounding "NO"! When the statistics are broken down in an appropriate demographically context, we see a more realistic picture. Not only are more black men from ages 18-24 in college but the ratio is astounding 1 prisoner to ever 1.7 student (2010). Armed with this delineated statistic, we breathe a sigh of relief. At the least, those exposed to this information may benefit from examining current belief systems. Janks' belief system has demonstrated a love for his community which translates into film making. "What Black Men Think" is a relentless pursuit to expose the TRUTH.
Janks' sophmore film titled, "Men To Boys: 101 Things Every Boy Of Color Should Know was done with the feel of a PhD specificity (based upon the book "101 Things Every Boy of Color Should Know" by Darnell Shields). In this film, he presents a more holistic approach to re-counting much of the damage done to his community at the hands of media indoctrination. Janks reveals consequences of high out-of-wedlock births and 50%+ divorce rates within the black community and how it shapes the moral perspective within the psyche. This was brought to the table to give us a new way of "seeing" the repercussions of familial influence on our communities as well.
One of my most revered books by Janks is titled "Why He Hates You". In an autobiographic approach, Janks investigates his own upbringing and brings us into a unabridged account of how the maternal influence on his rearing led to a dysfunctional young adulthood. He reveals much about his family life and this forces the reader to consequently dig into their own "stuff" while reading about his "stuff". The healing that can take place after reading this book is priceless.
Six explosive films and three books later, Janks has stirred both a shuffle of uncomfortable acknowledgement of some truths and a Hallelujah-relief among many of us. The common theme billowing from his work shakes down to only one verb and one noun. That word is LOVE. When you care this much about the condition of vast human deficiency and you actually try to move the proverbial rock - you are on the scene for a PURPOSE. I cannot express on paper how much gratitude should be felt for the contributions brought forth by this person of spiritual connection. Blessed with prolific expression, impeccable timing, and courage only found in the likes of Milik El-Shabazz, Medgar Edgars, and Cornel West, Janks puts magnification in the face of the issue. After being exposed to and investigating his work, you will no longer skate the issue but will have new lenses that allow you to think differently about who you are.
What Black Men Think (film)
Men To Boys (film)
Guilty Until Proven Innocent (film)
Dear Daddy (film)
Why He Hates You (book)
We Need to Talk (film)
Black People Don't Read (book)
Teach Me How To Love (book)