Two men from two different parts of the United States, cross paths and create eye opening content; they’re names are Justin D. Jenkins, and Garrick Wade. With Justin being a New York native and Garrick being raised in Houston, the two had one of many commonalities, storytelling. Together, the two created their own platform, after years of trying to get their foot in the door, Cre8tiveTribe Media. So far, they’ve been successful, recently winning the 2019 AT&T Create-A-Thon short film competition for their short film “Ghosted.” Both are believers in “it takes a village to create a good project.” Check out their interview below as they talk about their influences, the black narrative, their current projects and much more.
DELUX: What inspired you and Garrick to create Cre8tive Tribe Media and how did you meet?
Justin: I “Insta-stalked” Garrick when he was deep in creating a television pilot. I was frustrated with the lack of opportunities for someone just starting out. We scheduled a meeting and the rest is history. For me, Cre8tiveTribe Media was birthed out of a necessity to see stories across all media, with people who look like me.
Garrick: I believe in working with people that are passionate about working with me and consistent. Justin was both. When he joined me on this journey it just felt right for us to create a place of our own, a place where we are the only ones that have to say yes to us.
DELUX: Did you two have any influences growing up such as directors, writers, actors, etc?
Justin – Growing up, I never really thought about all the components of a film. I knew the big names, but I would just either like a film or not. It was not until I got older that I realized how many important parts there are to putting together a project. So going back, of course, Spike Lee, John Singleton, and the Wayans family inspired me; also Martin Scorsese, he’s a genius!
Garrick- I went to Washington Prep High in Los Angeles during my freshman year. I ended up being chosen for a high school musical called Ephrain’s Song and the writer/director was a man named Mark E. Swinton. I remembered thinking he was such a big deal, and he was. He gave us all tough love, but it was because he wanted us to take our art seriously. He inspired me so much. Aside from him, I was a huge fan of John Singleton and F. Gary Gray.
DELUX: I was definitely a John Singleton and Wayans fan, still am! What kinds of stories do you all enjoy writing about and bringing to life?
Justin: I am a huge sci-fi fan. I love writing thrillers and compelling dramas. I tried my hands with some light comedy with our short film Ghosted, which paid off. All around I want to all types of genres but keep my storytelling style.
Garrick: Same, I love thrilling stories, love stories told from a different perspective, I love intense drama as you can see with Remembering Wednesday, and I love a little supernatural plot.
DELUX: Do you feel, as a black company, it is important to tell stories that can change the narrative and look of how others view black people and their experiences?
Justin: Of course! Unfortunately, we have gone decades being underrepresented, and when we had some spotlight, a lot of the time is pushed a certain stereotype. Any black business, regardless of what it is, has a responsibility to our community.
Garrick: I believe Justin said this before, but there’s no one way to be BLACK. Representation is about showing all of who we were, the culture as a whole, and the subcultures that exist within the black community. It is our responsibility to create stories and characters that will have an array of emotions on our audience.
DELUX: I 100% agree. So, how do you pick people to be part of your team/company? Do they have to have a certain level of expertise or just a different perspective that they can bring to the forefront?
Justin: Just connect with us, without ego. We are all trying to create our own lane.
Garrick: Be passionate about what you do, be passionate about working with us, and leave all egos at the door. We want to work with people that we can learn from and that can also learn from us. We all are trying to make it in this industry.
DELUX: What was the inspiration behind Remembering Wednesday and Ghosted?
Justin: In 2017, Garrick and I had a call to discuss getting to work. It had already been years of trying to get our foot in the door. We decided to do it ourselves. That’s how Remembering Wednesday came about. For Ghosted, I had just read an article about New York City being the “Ghosting” capital of the world, and I thought, “Man these people may need a support group to get through this,” It was a joke that people seemed to like.
Garrick: We saw the direction that everything was going with new media and we knew that we needed to get to work ASAP. Remembering Wednesday was a story that we allowed to write itself. We have a very nontraditional way of collaborating as co-writers. I remember some episodes I would write and he would send the script back to me with all of these edits and changes. Then, there were times I did the same to him. We were a mess! LOL, but it showed us that we can work with each other and work through our differences. Ghosted was brilliantly written by Justin and an official, accredited, director debut for myself. It was a project where we both trusted each other to just do what we do best and it worked out.
DELUX: After winning the 2019 AT&T Create-a-Thon short film competition and being featured in “Rolling Out”, has the company received a lot of attention and even sponsors?
Justin: Attention has been growing. I think this generation needs to see this huge announcement happen before actually paying attention, but I am happy with what we are authentically building
Garrick: Yes, people have reached out about working with us. Our following is growing organically. People love the content we post on our Instagram – @Cre8tiveTribe. Our followers are very engaging, but we need them to hit that follow! But honestly, for myself, I just love to create. If it takes a life of its own, then I will follow it.
DELUX: Do you feel like your headquarters will stay in New York or are you willing to branch out to other states?
Justin: We are in New York City, for now, but we believe in the power of collaboration – so we welcome creatives to reach out.
Garrick: NYC will always be the main base for us. We have strong connections in other cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas, so if we get a project in those places, we have a team already waiting. Most recently we have connected with an amazing crew in Capetown, South Africa, so I am really excited about that.
DELUX: That’s exciting! What mission and goals does your company like to live by in order to remain grounded and humble?
Justin: Believing in the integrity of the project. When everyone on board believes that, ego is left at the door.
Garrick: I feel like we have said EGO a million times in this interview, but it’s the truth. Don’t bring it to us! We believe in collaboration without ego. Every project is like a baby. We have to birth that baby, nurture it in a positive and progressive environment, so that it may go on and be successful. It takes a village to raise a child, so if you’re a part of our village, our tribe, then we work together for the good of the project. That’s how we remain grounded and humble.
Check out their website and all that they do here –> https://www.cre8tivetribemedia.com/ AND make sure you follow them on Instagram @Cre8tiveTribe