Prime recently caught up with Blue Collar Hustle’s writer and executive producer Alonge Hawes. In this exclusive interview we discussed; African-American culture, film, and what inspires him as a writer.
Peep the interview below and be on the lookout for when Blue Collar Hustle debuts next month.
Hey Alonge Hawes, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the creator, writer, executive producer and co-star of the upcoming web series Blue Collar Hustle. I enjoy doing and participating in anything that is both creative and somehow productive to the black community.
When did you know you wanted to write and produce?
In some shape, form, or fashion my entire life. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Short stories, poems, ETC. I even used to ghostwrite other kids book reports in school for money. I just loved reading and writing, the money was a bonus!
What was the first writing material you worked on?
The first serious writing material I ever worked on was probably a short story called The Wielder that I wrote in High School which won a competition. It was meant to serve as the prelude to an epic High Fantasy series that actually starred people of color. I’m still proud of that story.
What is the experience working on Blue Collar Hustle?
It is illuminating, exhausting, invigorating, and every bit of worth it. The writing and conceptualization of Blue Collar Hustle represents my life’s work up to this point, and I am truly blessed to be able to share my vision and message with the wider world.
Okay, your the creator, writer, and executive produce of the series. So you wear many different hats. What is your duty? And what is your role with the series?
As the Creator, it is up to me to come up with three dimensional and interesting characters and place them within an intriguing story. As the writer it is my responsibility to then flesh out the story-line. Incorporate the scripts into a larger narrative, and make sure that narrative reaches its logical conclusion. As the executive producer it is up to me to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. That the cast has an understanding of their characters. That the director comprehends the vision of a scene or episode. That our social media platforms have fresh content to entice our audience. I make sure at the end of the day that the shows goes on.
What inspired you to create Blue Collar Hustle?
Many things. First off my friend Quentin Williams put out an album earlier last year titled A Souldier Story. I was so impressed by that album that I wanted to help him in any way I could. So his album acts as the soundtrack to the series and every episode title is a direct reference to a song on the album. Secondly I wanted to construct a story that spoke to the black experience. And not the black experience that the mainstream media wants to continually perpetrate. I wanted to show us as intelligent, upwardly mobile, and very much aware of our status within this country. I’m tired of seeing every black male as a drug dealer down on his luck. Or every black woman as a hyper-sexualized ratchet with no sense of dignity. I want to tell the REAL story. OUR story.
The film industry is getting better as authentic black stories are being told by black people. What is the purpose of Blue Collar Hustle? What impact do you think it will on the black community and the black film industry?
I wouldn’t give the film industry too much credit just yet. Having four great black television shows on air isn’t enough for me to stand up and sing Hallelujah. I want to see multiple black and diverse television and film projects on my screen year round. I want to see more black writers in prominent positions. I want to see black producers given the shot that they deserve. I want to see REAL change in every facet of the industry.
What does Blue Collar Hustle means to you?
Blue Collar Hustle means the 18 year old black kid working two jobs to put himself through college. Blue Collar Hustle means the mother staying up late to help her children with their homework so they have better opportunities through education. Blue Collar Hustle means that 25 year old black father who gets up at 5am every morning to catch that 5:44am bus to work. Blue Collar Hustle means the eternal struggle of black people long since dead and not yet born who will continue to fight for equality.
Tell us a little bit about the cast and crew. How did you select who will play what part?
They literally came from Heaven. We have the greatest and most multi-talented cast I have ever seen. Quentin Williams, who acts and provides music. Shani Hawes, who is my sister and has been professionally acting since the age of 11. Roberto Cruz, who acts as well as produces. Howard Woodburn, who acts as well as provides our series logo through his design studio. Tijuana Agnew, who acts and provides behind the scenes work. And last but not least, our director Geoffrey Henderson who brings the vision to life with a touch of magic.
Any long-term goals you have in the film industry?
I definitely have a long term goal in mind, but for right now I just want to have been able to say that I helped create something as worthwhile as it was entertaining. And that I did the African American community proud.
Atlanta, Insecure, and Survivor’s Remorse for television. Those are pretty much the only shows on television worth watching. For the web there’s Tough Love, Almost 30, and a series called Black Boots by Geno Brooks that is absolutely amazing.
Where can people find your website and how can they support you?
We are on several social media platforms. Our instagram and twitter is bch_webseries. We are also on facebook (Blue Collar Hustle)
Our website is http://www.geoffreysplanet.com/Blue_Collar_Hustle_Home.html and we also have our official YouTube channel up, which as of right now hosts 10 promotional tags and teasers
Just to wrap up, do you have any last thoughts or shout outs?
February 12th episode 1 premieres on YouTube!