Many Florida A&M alumni seem to be making their mark in Hollywood.
There’s Will Packer, producer of the movie “Ride Along;” Kelsey Scott, the leading lady in the Golden Globe-winning film “12 Years a Slave;” and Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Disney’s first black princess in “The Princess and the Frog,” just to name a few.
FAMU alumus Jaduan Sweets is following in their footsteps. The former broadcast journalism student from Murfreesboro, Tenn., is producing a short film called “Chain Music.”
Sweets began his college career in 2007 and graduated in 2012. He was a Courtney Sims Visionary award recipient, which is a journalism award based on good merit. It is allotted to five students of high achievement in producing, videography, sports, reporting, and print at FAMU.
Sweets also won a first place Associated Press award for videography for a documentary he and FAMU alumna, Kristen Holloway, produced called “Burden of the Banner.” It was based on homeless veterans in North Florida.
“I admire his work ethic and the fact that we’re able to accomplish a lot and optimize the resources around us. He makes the work ethic seem effortless,” said Sherwood Brown, the music producer for “Chain Music.“
Brown said it doesn’t seem like work when they’re working on the documentary. He said although they have been working for hours, it feels as though they’ve only been working for 30 to 40 minutes.
“It’s not like a regular nine to five job,” Brown said.
“Chain Music” is about the idea of a 1981 William Lynch coming up with a new tool to oppress the minds of the masses to gain revenue. This new tool is Hip Hop.
Sweets is using the documentary to convey a message of the victim mentality some African-Americans hold and to empower them. He wants them to rise above the mindset that keeps them in mental bondage and persevere.
“The reason why I’m coming up with this movie is because [it] correlates a lot with what I see — my life pretty much,” said Sweets, who grew up in Chicago and witnessed many people with different mindsets that couldn’t be overcome.
He said the victim mentality is everywhere.
“I lived in Tennessee as well and it’s there,” Sweets said. “I came to Florida and it’s here. I want people to be aware of how things can work. For example, slavery. The whole concept behind it and how they came up with it. You know a lot people don’t even know anything about the William Lynch letter.”
According to the Indiana University-Puredue University Indianapolis, William Lynch was a plantation owner who delivered a speech in Virginia to inform other slave owners how to control their slaves. Various documents state the term “lynching” derived from his name.
However, the method William Lynch used and promoted to control slaves was to turn them against each other by exploiting differences like age and skin color.
Sweets said he is striving not solely focus the film on black race, displaying equal representation.
To bring the film to life, Sweets is looking for extraordinary talent, he said. He will be holding a casting call Saturday at the Character Center on 129 Century Park Drive from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sweets is looking for actors, graphic designers, PR representatives, costume designers and more.
“This is the goal I wrote down initially,” Sweets said. “It’s to give those who have talent on campus or in Tallahassee an opportunity to display what they have.”
He also plans to obtain a license for his production company, No Rules production. The short film will be produced by Playground production, which is owned by Christopher Martin from the former rap group Kid ‘n Play. The film is projected to run 15 to 20 minutes and will premiere at the IMAX Theater in Tallahassee later this spring.