B.K. Fulton with Ebony Flake, Randall Hazard, Brian Smalls
(Co-founders, Media Mentors, Inc.). Photos courtesy of Media Mentors.
“Own your narrative.”
Each month we highlight a community program that aligns with the values of SoulVision Magazine. We believe engaging with one’s community is critical to fostering positive change in the world.
Brayden Smalls, Brielle Smalls – students at Media Mentors.
Media Mentors was co-founded by Brian Smalls, Ebony Flake, and Randall Hazard to address the need for youth (ages 10 through college) to develop the skills needed to succeed in media while developing confidence in their creativity. The organization operates out of the Hampton Roads area (the “757”). “We strive to teach youth the tools of media arts,” Brian Smalls says. “This means film production, social media content creation, and other tech-related skills.” Media Mentors partners with the local Chamber of Commerce and small businesses in the community to teach and promote entrepreneurship to participating students.
Building on the phrase, “Own Your Narrative,” Media Mentors’ goal is to encourage students to use the talent they have developed and start their own businesses. “The soul of Media Mentors rests in our quest to show the endless possibilities that come from young people utilizing their creativity and mastering digital communication,” co-founder Randall Hazard says. Randall describes media production as a dialogue between a group of people. Media Mentors wants its students to be an essential part of that conversation. “Wherever their passions lie, be it in social justice endeavors or just telling good, relevant stories, Media Mentors provides them the know-how,” Randall says. Students will walk away with an understanding of how to create, monetize and distribute their narratives to the world.
Rashawn Smith, a student at Media Mentors, working the camera.
Media Mentors plans to continue their partnership with companies and organizations that are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of media leaders and entrepreneurs. The Media Mentors team also is looking to work with local colleges and universities to create a pipeline for future creatives. Soulidifly Productions plans to provide hands-on experience as well. The Media Mentors team believes the next generation of creatives have plenty of potential to do great things with their talents. “We have our eyes on the prize as we work towards the future,” Randall says. “We will mold and shape the next generation of media talent. They will learn to tell our stories and lift our communities with the powerful truths of our complete narrative.”
To find out how you can support Media Mentors, follow them on Facebook and check out their latest program — Sign Me Up Now! — a digital clearinghouse created to channel energy in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death (see signmeupnow.org).