Hey y’all, my name is Tiani. I’m from all over the world, spending summers with family in Georgia or Louisiana, so I like to Louisiana and be the modern day Princess Tiana. I’m a lover of art, food, travel, and finding the beauty within my daily life. My parents served over 20+ years in the United States Air Force, molding me culturally and supporting my passions of storytelling through world exploration. After serving over 6 years as an Early Childhood Educator, the COVID-19 pandemic inspired me to reconnect with my passions and change career fields. I’m currently a senior at Kennesaw State University working towards my B.S. in Media & Entertainment. I stopped letting fear control my life and am slowly working towards eventually owning my own production company to help change the world and shine a light on the underdogs like myself.
Everything holds a lot more value to me because of our life in the military. Pay wasn’t that great for my parents and we lived reasonably while blessed to have a few luxuries. For example, we didn’t always have cable, even while living in the U.S., but we did have power, a VHS/DVD player, and a box of movies. I’m not sure what lifestyle people think of when they hear military, but it wasn’t that. We didn’t have the rapid movement of content like we do now, so we were limited with what was new or popular in the U.S. while overseas. We relied heavily on video rental stores, or having the latest movies mailed to you if you didn’t mind the wait or fees. I also relied heavily on libraries like Matilda because it seemed like another world of it’s own, I was The Pagemaster. The arts is something that’s always been a passion of mine and it was further fueled by the experiences I encountered like going on field trips in Germany, historical field trips in Maryland, and attending a summer camp focused on The Renaissance. That solidified for me the field I knew I wanted to be in I just didn’t know how, but that’s the beauty of the journey.
I’m extremely thankful I’ve been able to really explore the world and learn the way I have because it’s shaped who I am. As an early childhood educator, it confirmed for me that we need to keep our creativity alive inside until we take our final rest. We expect children to remain childlike, yet allow ourselves to stop nurturing that part of ourselves. I encourage everyone to give yourself permission to create and imagine, you’d be surprised what new worlds you tap into.
As I continue to grow, I plan to support, encourage, and be an example to anyone who wants to explore whatever their calling is. Just a few reminders that I will ALWAYS be respectful, supportive, and objective with the content I produce. I ask that the same is reciprocated, and let’s have a great time together. Content included, but not limited to:
- Reviews (food, travel, podcast, literature, etc.)
- Places to visit
- Feature/Interactive Articles
- & more.
Media & Entertainment degree?
Media & Entertainment degree prepares individuals for careers in the digital media industry. I’ve gained insights and skills needed to provide video production, screenwriting, film, photography, filmmaking, documentary filmmaking, writing, and much more.
The goal is to start and own a production company where we help tell stories within the community through various multimodal components. Until that happens, I’m working my way towards becoming a Creative Director, Screenwriter, Photographer, and whatever else i’m interested in. For one of my courses, our assignment was to make an Adobe presentation supported by research to discuss what my dream role is, the history, statistics and more. Feel free to check it out: Creative Director/Producer.
What I really appreciate are the new ways of learning I’ve gained from taking certain classes. For instance, I pay attention now to the power of The Gaze after writing about the male gaze vs. female gaze throughout the media.
I also appreciated topics we covered in one of my film classes, like the use of propaganda and its prominence during the war time periods. I did a presentation on World War II documentaries and found a lot of great information that’s increased my interest into the world of military. I learned a lot of great information that I wished I’d gotten a chance to learn while in government schools.
Welcome To My World
Growing up all over the world, I’ve been extremely fortunate in being exposed to the world of the arts in various contexts. I have a deep passion for all things art and I can’t say if I have a bigger preference for one more than the others. Television was my first love and my family always called me a “TV baby” since I was always in front of one. My parents had a very different set of rules in their home as far as the content my sister and I were allowed to consume.
My mom didn’t like vulgar, extremely secular music so we listened to a lot of gospel, jazz, and R&B. With films, we only watched PG or G, with the exceptional PG-13 if we watched with her or got approval until we got older. Television was a lot easier because I was obsessed with classics on Disney channel, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and MTV. One of our family time movies was Center Stage.
My dad was the opposite! He’s more into the arts and taught me all I know with my eclectic tastes. Music ranges from Led Zeppelin to Prince, 112, The Jackson 5/The Jacksons, Boyz II Men, Aretha Franklin, and more. Our movies ranged from The Godfather to Star Wars, Dream Girls, Boogie Nights, and more. With television, we bonded over WWE, Smackdown, ESPN, West Wing, Roots, Good Times, and more classics. We’ve been passing down this knowledge to my younger sister and I have to say, big sister is impressed. My older sister has eclectic taste as well and introduced me to a lot of Indie Urban artists.
Because my parents served over 20+ years in the military, we weren’t always able to have access to a lot of content due to streaming, WI-FI, Internet and more not being created or just emerging. That’s what I love about the arts, there’s an endless amount artistic materials that you continuously stumble upon. You may not like everything, but there’s something out there for everyone. If there isn’t, then it might be you or someone else brave enough to create it. I truly believe creativity lives inside all of us, it just displays differently. We need imagination and creativity to survive the continuously evolving lives we live. As an early childhood educator, it confirmed for me that we need to keep our creativity alive inside until we take our final rest. We expect children to remain childlike, yet allow ourselves to stop nurturing that part of ourselves. I encourage everyone to give yourself permission to create and imagine, you’d be surprised what new worlds you tap into.
A Few Influences:
Keenan Ivory Wayans is my favorite producers ever, his works were some of the few I actually owned and NEVER let anyone borrow. I love how he involved his family in the business while also pushing them to be their most uniquely creative selves. In Living Color is what introduced me to comedy and finding my favorite actors that would later come across my screen in box office hits. My mom and I share a bond over I’m Gonna Git You Sucka , which surprised me growing up. I love his siblings individually and think they’re brilliant, but Keenan’s vision expanded beyonds heights that gave our community hope.Read more: About Me
I love a great balance of academy award motion pictures and films that are simple feel good pieces. I love seeing creativity on every level so that helps me to appreciate someone’s craft instead of judging so harshly. Living the lifestyle we did plays a huge role in my tastes since options were limited overseas before wi-fi.
In Portugal (’00-’02) I constantly watched movies like Glitter, The Pest, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Center Stage, Kingdom Come, Ferngully, The Color Purple, The Nutty Professor, Big Momma’s House, and various Disney classics nonstop with my family. Living in Germany (’05-’07) I watched Juwanna Mann, Norbit, Roll Bounce, Memoirs of a Geisha, Night At The Museum, The Road To El Dorado, Titanic, and Soul Plane nonstop.
While we were stateside, I watched various types of great movies that were hated by other movie fans, but went gold in my house. I love watching Scary Movie & 2, Dude, Where’s My Car?, Marci X, The Animal, Hot Chick, Jason’s Lyric, Gone With The Wind, Vampire In Brooklyn, Don’t Look Under The Bed, and many more classics. I love watching films of all kinds, but I’m a true lover of horror/thriller, or supernatural genre. I don’t believe in genres too much because I believe movies have multiple layers that can be received based on the viewers interpretation. I do appreciate the creative aspect of horror without being too gory. Jordan Peele has obviously become a fast favorite of mine as he thinks way outside the box, but still keeps it thrilling.
I’ve always been a lover of literature and how I’m able to transport into another word based on my imagination from what I’m reading. Literature is what fuels my passions of being a cinematographer because there’s so many ways you can tell a story with a big imagination.
My favorite author ever is Beverly Jenkins, an author who is leading the charge for multicultural romance; I own and re-read all her books faithfully. I stumbled across her book Indigo at my Big Mama’s house where you either read a book or found something constructive to do besides watch TV. Representation matters and the way Ms. Jenkins is able to bring true historical information into a strong black love story is a true art form. I feel transported into every element of the story through her words while also imagining my own unique touches to what the fashion would look like, scenery, and more. One of my biggest wishes is to bring her stories to the screen because we finally need African American Historical Romance.
A few of my other favorite pieces of literature are The Water Is Wide, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys , I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, The Color Purple, Charlotte’s Web, The Outsiders, To Kill A Mockingbird, Macbeth, Gone With The Wind, and more.
Music is another medium of escape from the world that allows me to be imaginative. I mostly love to listen to music for the lyrics, and if accompanied by a great beat, it becomes part of my lifetime playlist. I’m a creature of habit with what type of music I like and this year I’m challenging myself to venture out my comfort zone a bit more. I love all types of music so it depends on what mood I’m in to determine what my exact favorite is, I do tend to listen to more songs from the Motown sound era. I’ve been musically influenced my whole life, as well as playing the flute in middle school for a brief moment and killing it, with my dad played trumpet in high school and college. I can go from listening to Tchaikovsky, to Q.U.E.E.N, Michael Jackson, J.Cole, The Temptations, New Edition, Musiq Soulchild, Kirk Franklin, to Beyoncé, Usher, and Migos all in one sitting. Obviously that was a little sneak preview, but like I said, I go based on how I’m feeling. I love music videos as well to help see the artists creativity flourish or do my own creative directing on ways I’d present the song. I’d love to be a creative director for these reasons, because a song really can help transport you into another world, so putting the right pieces together is another true gift of artistry.
I plan to become more involved in the world of theater in whatever capacity I can because theater is the foundation of acting in my opinion. I acted in a lot of productions growing up because I thought my mom knew I was obsessed with theater without realizing she was trying to ways for me to safe for a few hours while she worked. I’m thankful for those times because I gave my all no matter what role I had, like being a mouse in Cinderella, or Baloo in the Jungle Book. Growing up in the choir also played a huge role in my love for theater because I always looked at it like I was performing for God, which made me pour into my talents even harder. I first discovered musicals in the library after watching Little Shop of Horrors and was forever changed. I went on to love the original Hairspray, but the remake was absolutely phenomenal, solidifying my intense passion for theater’s intensity. My mom knows I love theater and has surprised me to see The Color Purple and The Lion King, so her sitting through that knowing she’s not as interested really means the world to me. My dream is to make it to Broadway to see as many shows as I can, as well as The Rockettes, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake.
In the times we didn’t have cable I didn’t realize we were without because of the programs that captivated me. While living in Portugal (’00-02) I was introduced to Batman with Adam West and falling in love with Eartha Kitt. We’d also have access to great shows like Taina, City Guys, or travel shows that taught us more about the history and culture of Portugal. Living stateside I enjoyed the top shows that were popular during whichever period like That’s So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, Sister Sister, Roots, Good Times, Emeril Live, Everyday Italian, RAW–Smackdown!, and more. I didn’t get into TV shows that much until I got older, I always preferred the other mediums until the most recent years as screenwriting has changed a lot. Again, I’d love to create a great show like Issa Rae or Shonda Rhimes, but through my own creativity; I admire how they tell stories.
Listen To Podcast (coming soon)