Friday, August 03, 2007

Our Stories Films Tracey Edmonds Takes The heat

Our Stories Films,' Tracey E. Edmonds Responds to the Critics

Tracey E. Edmonds is hardly just another pretty face in Hollywood. She's an entertainment power player with major successes in music, television, and film. And now as President and Chief Operating Officer of Our Stories Film, the only African-American owned studio in Hollywood, she is undoubtedly one of the few HWIC's (Head Woman In Charge) in town. So with a resume of full of executive credits and profitable titles, what more does the former psychobiology major have to prove in Hollywood? To many in the industry, a lot.

It's a perfect example of "to whom much is given much is expected". And expectations were high as the only "African-American owned studio with greenlight authority", says Chairman, Bob Johnson, released its first film. But when the studio's, Who's Your Caddy?, premiered last week with quite a buzz, criticism arose in the press and blogsphere before the popcorn could become stale.

In an interview conducted with several entertainment reporters, Edmonds responded confidently to serious questions about Who's Your Caddy's brand of comedy and Our Stories Films' vision.

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Human flaws make great comic fodder, but certain societal flaws are not so funny. For instance, in the film when a white teenager greeted his father with "wassup nigger" after partying with his new black friends, I didn't laugh. I cringed. So when the subject of using the N-word was discussed during the interview, I asked Edmonds about this particular scene.

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Obviously, Tracey Edmonds is prepared to take the heat needed to do business in Hollywood. And as any African-American celebrity or studio executive knows, with the job comes a welcomed responsibility or unwelcomed burden of always representing "your people". Our Stories Films has established itself to do just that, according to Edmonds. However, the release of Who's Your Caddy as its first film, has many questioning whose story is the studio really trying to tell or sell. Box office returns show not as many as expected want the answer.

You only get once chance to make a first impression and Our Stories may have missed the mark this time, but I'm hopeful the next project will be better. In the meantime, I'm also hoping to see a young African-American woman succeed as a major mover and shaker in the business of show, as it's called. But more importantly, I want to see Our Stories Film succeed in providing new opportunities for African-Americans not just in front of the camera, but also behind it as directors, producers, and screenwriters. Otherwise, our stories run the risk of becoming their stories packaged as our stories for a profit.

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