Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This Brown Bettie Brings It On!
By Peppur Chambers

Morenike Efuntade Evans
Black Pearl Filmworks
TV Producer. Indie Film Director. Writer

Up until May 2006, Morenike was known as Morenike Efuntade; that all changed when she met her current husband, Bensford Evans, while on a shoot for BETJ in Turks & Caicos.

She was producing a music special for BETJ but in the end, she found herself producing a romantic spark in Mr. Evans that lead to a surprising proposal two years after their first meeting. Since then, Mr. and Mrs. Evans have relocated to Los Angeles where Morenike continues to create stories through her production company, Black Pearl Filmworks (www.blackpearlfilmworks.com).

Over a meal of a gourmet cheeseburger and lobster ravioli accompanied by a glass of Pinot Blanc (ok, two) at Morels, a French steakhouse and bistro located in LA's The Grove, Mrs. Evans revealed some choice things about herself that solidified why she truly is a Brown Bettie.

What makes you a Lady?
My spirit, smile, sassy walk and the way my pinky goes up when I’m enjoying a glass of wine.

What, if anything, makes your husband a Bad Boy?
Bensford is secretive and full of surprises. He believes everything is always revealed; you just have to wait for it. He’s usually saying this when I’m freaking out.

Has being a Good Girl helped our hurt you?
It has hindered me as it relates to other women. I wish I’d been the bitch when they were being bad to me instead of me always taking the high road. However, it helps more than not. By being a good person, I’ve learned how to maneuver through dealing with situations. I’ve not felt like I’ve cheated myself.

When the news of Hurricane Katrina broke, Morenike found herself far from being a Good Girl and moreso the Angry Black Woman. While watching the early footage of the catastrophe before any sort of help had gotten to the survivors, she, like most, was horrified. However, her rage became directed to the journalists covering the tragedy. Every story was mired in negativity in how people were suffering because they were Black. Certainly this was evident, but Morenike felt that they were missing the real story – that these American’s were suffering because they didn’t have food or help. At 4am, she crafted a heated call-to-action that she then forwarded to every website, email and blog that she could find to blast the media for their negligence. She said that like wildfire, she received rapid responses to her letter from outlets such as AllHipHop.com and the general public asking if they could post her letter on their websites and she swears that overnight the coverage changed to a plead of “Where is the help?!” Still, Morenike was not satisfied. Living in DC at the time, she organized her own six-person march on Capitol Hill protesting the situation. Amidst honking and cheering from onlookers and passers-by, Morenike remembers screaming passionately (with her 68-year-old mother by her side) knowing that she felt good about what she was doing and soooo far from being lady-like.

Do you consider yourself a renegade?
[Yes.] My mother is on record for having started a discrimination suit in the late ‘60s against the Associated Press. The suit changed the way women were treated in newsrooms. My mother was also a close friend of Rosa Parks. I’m definitely my mother’s daughter. I’ll never sell myself out, even if it means removing my self from the situation. This can bite me in the ass sometimes, especially in work situations because I’ve learned I don’t do office politics well. I’m learning to choose my battles.

What keeps you motivated?
My vision and my passion. I created my own company, Black Pearl Filmworks, because I have so many stories to tell--I still feel like there's a void when it comes to stories from an african-american woman's perspective. Also, my dreams. I now go at them 100% because there’s always a risk of becoming complacent and tricking myself into thinking that what I’m doing is enough.

Motivating words?
Never ask yourself if you are asking for too much – You’re Not! Whether you are 22 or 45, don’t settle for anything. Finding my husband made me know it was ok for me to have the dream of the perfect person. It’s about the right timing and the right person…he’s exactly what I dreamed of. Don’t change for whatever you want because you can get it!

Contact Morenike Efuntade Evans at blackpearlfilmworks@verizon.net or at her blog http://www.blackpearlfilmworks.blogspot.com/

No comments: