Recently my attention was directed to a video on Facebook called Black + Pride. It caught my attention specifically considering religion in our community has become my personal trending topic through writing, social media, and conversation. Once i finished watching Black + Pride, I realized it was essential for me to speak to the person that directed and/or produced this video. I found him. Mario Nichols aka ‘Or Just Marii agreed to a brief phone interview with me to discuss not only this video, but his vision and drive for the future.
We discussed the logic behind creating Black + Pride. Marii vividly tells me the background of how, while living in Jackson, MS, he and a few friends were confronted by another group of young men about their sexuality. Without going into detail and non accusatory, Mario mentioned that he was not familiar with discrimination in that manner, at least not outright and open. His church background never included finger pointing and stares from members of the congregation. He, as a young black male, was not accustomed to judgement; and that is how it should be. Bigotry is often camouflaged by the machismo complex or rationalized by religious rhetoric. In my sentiment, Black + Pride gives us viewers a visual from a gay black male’s perspective . I will let the video speak for itself. Take a look.
The conversation on the creative aspect on this video was heartwarming. Mario is a diligent, innovative and creatively gifted individual that cares deeply for his community and his craft. He titles himself creative director because he is just that. Nichols handles editing, sound creation, and production. He discussed his love for Beyonce and how she has inspired him. Mario also mentioned Beyonce’s Lemonade and how a possible comparison to her work wouldn’t bother him one bit. ‘She is my inspiration and I still stand on my personal creativity without relying on my idol or copying her’. Marii also produced a video entitled ‘Black Boys aren’t Pretty: The Prologue’ (follow the link)
We continued to chat about the level of patience necessary to work for what you believe in; the endurance and dedication needed to consistently push; and saving money for equipment needed to produce high quality product. As i mentioned earlier, Marii is a one man show in terms of creating the video, but he gives credit to those people closest to him that assisted with acting/modeling (Unique Chanell Milyan), production, make up (Ashaki Dale of Painted Pretty) and the necessary for things to run smoothly. A few photos from the shoot that I personal enjoyed…….
To learn a more about Mario Nichols visit his photography and graphics website Your Friend, The Lens
Marii is also visible on Instagram as MariiTheLion & YourFriendTheLens
YouTube Channel : Marii Nichols
Contact Mario Nichols via Social Media or email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org