‘Flat Broke TV’ offers locals a voice

“Flat Broke TV” is a locally produced TV program that airs midnight Sunday on UPN. Created by Willie Johnson, a 28-year-old graduate of Tallahassee Community College, who goes by the name Willie Hustle, and M-Beezy, a 26-year-old figure in the Tallahassee mix tape community, the program showcases local music artists and entrepreneurs.

“‘Flat Broke’ is giving local people the chance to be on TV. There’s so many rappers and independent businesses out there (who) don’t get exposure. We trying to show these people that somebody cares about what they doing,” Johnson said.

Johnson who grew up in Deerfield with rapper Total Kaos, was introduced to M-Beezy by Total Kaos, when he moved to Tallahassee.

Johnson received an associate degree from TCC in digital media and film production. Afterward he and M-Beezy decided to start the show.

“With his popularity and my skills we thought it would be perfect,” Johnson said. He said the show provides the community with a voice and is his way of giving back to area neighborhoods.

“People go out and shoot a video for a few thousand dollars and don’t got anywhere to take it. We’re an outlet now,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he has taken the show out of town on occasion, but enjoys his celebrity status in the Tallahassee area as he gets free merchandise and meals by his recognition.

“People give me free clothes to wear and they be like ‘Just wear it on the show’. They know the community is our viewers,” he said.

Students think the show could be better.

Shakinnya Jones, a 19-year-old general studies sophomore from Palm Beach, said, “The show could improve. You can tell it’s homemade. It looks very bootleg.”

The label is also involved with other forms of entertainment.

Johnson is rapping up production on his film “Chain Reaction,” which he describes as urban action.

He began filming in Nov. 2004 with ‘Flat Broke’ cameraman Shaun Tagert. Johnson said he wrote, directed, produced, edited and co-filmed the entire production.

The film will feature Miami resident Rick Ross, who has appeared in Trick Daddy’s videos, and local rappers M-Beezy, Total Kaos, Sho Nuff and Mr. Bones. He said he used performers with a local fan base so the community would support the film.

“If everybody comes together and pitches in they time, we can get it done,” Johnson said of the movie.

Johnson said Professor George Fernandez, who instructed him at TCC, had read through his script and helped him tighten it up.

“He gave me a lot of motivation,” Johnson said. He said before he began work on his film, Fernandez took him on the set of a movie to help him understand how it worked.

“I went back to my friends and said ‘We can do this,” Johnson said.

He said the film offers relationship problems, drug use, backstabbing as and plenty of action. Total Kaos handled the music for the film, and the soundtrack will double as the new Total Kaos album.

Johnson said he wants to do a film for the ladies for his next movie.

Johnson said the show will keep its current format for about the next six months, after which he is considering changing it to a reality show or a fictional story-based format.

“We like to keep people guessing,” he said.

Quentin Daniels, a 21-year-old public relations senior from Jacksonville, said, “It’s pretty cool. I see them at The Moon on Wednesday night. I’ve been on camera doing shout-outs.”

Johnson said he’s in talks with FAMU TV about the possibility of airing reruns.

People who are interested in advertisements or getting “shout-outs” on the air can e-mail Flat Broke TV at flatbroke@nettally.com.

Contact Mackenzie Turberville at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com