Create for Passion, Not for the Likes: Meet Justin & Garrick
What are black stories?
Are they centered around the influence of the Black Church, lies, deceit, a dash of betrayal, and love? Hello Tyler Perry. Failure and eventual triumph? Are black stories formulaic?
Simple answer: no.
“I’ve always been attracted to thrillers,” Justin Jenkins, writer and co-creator of drama web-series Remembering Wednesday, said. “We do not find people that look like us that love thrillers and this is the reason why Jordan Peele is hitting it, because obviously there is an audience thirsty for it.”
Justin and Garrick Wade are storytellers but the title of “storyteller” is far too simple. In sitting down with the creative duo at BK9 one evening, the passion and New York hustle is felt crackling in the air surrounding the table.
Joined together by the ever-present Instagram, a call for screenwriters led Justin to his now partner in creative crime, Garrick Wade. "I reached out on the whim, like hey, you're looking for writers. I never wrote a script before but I knew I was interested in it. We met up one day, had a conversation about it, and just wrote a couple of episodes of then-project, Empire City,'“ Justin said.
They cannot lose because they lift each other up to keep going despite numbers and likes not immediately popping off into the millions. The love of their work isn’t about the instant gratification, rather, feeding an audience with a story and cast that represents them.
“Having primarily an African American following is like, okay, we’re not getting the views that we want, support that we really want, and we had to just be okay with knowing we’re happy with this product,” Garrick explained.
“I think knowing who we are as storytellers helps. We know this is a great project and we also know the type of stories people are telling,” Justin added. “In any field, when you do something different it does stand out, even if it doesn’t have that audience right away, as a creative fulfilling your passion you’re happy.”
Remembering Wednesday is a 9-episode, thriller web-series following six estranged friends reuniting for the memorial of a mutual friend, Jonathan. As you’re watching the 9-episode series you are drawn by the realness of the characters, questioning your own choices, and creating your own perfect ending - cus, what happened to Jonathan?
Directed by Jahmar Hill, Garrick and Justin’s baby came to life due to the hard work of a strong crew. However, this strong crew wouldn’t have had a baby to nurture had it not been for Justin’s positive attitude and Garrick’s willingness to lift his pen back up.
“I was very discouraged on going forward with Empire City, as well as what my future as a writer was going to be just because of how things went down,” Garrick said. “Justin was really that inspiration and motivation that pushed me.”
At the end of 2017, Garrick and Justin quit the numbers game and focused on quality - not the over saturation that is social media.
This new focus led to creation of Cre8Tive Tribe Media, a collection of like-minded, creative spirits fueling their purpose with the flames of their passion. “We look to building a relationship and want to create a culture within our production company where people could feel like they’re family,” Garrick said.
Creatives need a family. Cre8Tive Tribe Media is that family. So for this family, the next step is puling out the pen once again for another series and tapping into other genres like sci-fi featuring black and brown voices.
“The characters can thrive and does not have to be oppressed all the time, you just have to know your history,” Justin said.
“We need more platforms that are willing to tell the independent writers and creators stories and let us be heard,” Garrick added.