Now is the time to be a Black filmmaker. People want to see Black stories on television whether it is a Black love story or the story of an unapologetic Black woman.
Jazmin Jenay, 24, is a Florida A&M University alumna and a Black filmmaker who does it all: screenwriting, directing and acting. For Jenay, being a filmmaker today means reflection.
“It means being able to reflect and reminisce on my own life experiences. While making visuals that other people can relate to,” Jenay said.
Jenay discovered her passion at an early age through seeing a young KeKe Palmer on her television screen.
Jenay said, “Seeing that type of imagery on the screen was very vital for me and that’s when I decided I wanted to do film.”
Identifying her passion at a young age, Jenay dove right into what she wanted to do. It started with applying for casting calls online. By doing this she recognized that casting was a part of the filmmaking process and she was able to learn through it.
“It taught me about the perseverance you have to have as an actor because I was applying from that time in fourth grade to when I turned 18. I never got an email back that wasn’t a scam until I was 18,” she said.
Jenay described her observations and lessons on set as an extra as her “film school.” She got her first production job on the set of, “David Makes Man” soon after.
Her experience on the set of “David Makes Man” was where she came up with the idea for her brand, blkflmmkr.
“Working on set was a very fast-paced environment and I didn’t know how to express my life’s dream in such a short matter,” Jenay said.
The inspiration for her clothing brand came through an interaction with the director of “David Makes Man,” who noticed her FAMU tee. Jenay figured that since he could read that on a shirt, he would also read “written and directed by” to know that her goal was to be a writer and director without having to verbally express it.
In February of 2021, Jenay’s “blkflmmkr” brand made an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” with the help of Joi Childs, Amazon Studios’ social marketing manager. Childs tweeted in response to blkflmmkr’s appearance, “They ask me what I do and who I do it for. The answer will always be: for Black women.”
Jenay wants to focus on creating, “dope films in every genre.” Her first short film was heavy, due to its focus on 2020. It focuses on police brutality, depression and more.
Beats by Dre posted her first short film, “Sounds of war.” Beats by Dre said, “Triple-threat [Jazmin Jenay] wrote, directed, and starred in her new film ‘Sounds of War.’ Tap in to see how she was able to visually capture how it feels to be a Black woman in 2020.”
Jenay’s goal for blkflmmkr is to become an internationally known Black film resource space. She also wants it to grow into a “real” fashion line.
As a final add-on, Jenay wants to give back to elementary programs or create a film school at FAMU called, “The Blkflmmker School of Cinematic Arts.”