Author: Joycelynn Okezie
CAQ recently caught up with Blue Collar Hustle’s writer and executive producer Alonge Hawes. In this exclusive interview, we discussed Afro-American culture, broke down the state of the film industry in Atlanta, and the humble beginnings of the forthcoming web series “Blue Collar Hustle.”
The title for “Blue Collar Hustle” came to Alonge 11 years ago as a working teenager working his first job. When he took the Marta transit late at night he would listen to Nas, Common, or Jay-Z.
“I always thought if I was a rapper that a dope album title would be “Blue Collar Hustle” and it would a concept album about how the different transit stops represented different portions of my journey, of course I never became a rapper but the title still relates to the journey the characters are going through in the series.”
Blue Collar Hustle is a series that is based on true events and autobiographical in nature. When Alonge worked as a Manager at Best Buy, he met Quentin Williams, a rising in Atlanta artist. Quentin gave him a rough demo of his album one and being blown away by the quality. Alonge and another co-worker, Roberto Cruz, agreed that this Quentin was destined for more than a retail sales job, and made it their mission to help him release his album. “The series is directly based upon that premise. Helping a friend present his vision and talent to the world.”
Being that the series is based in the budding city of Atlanta, we wanted to dig deeper and find out Alonge stance with the climate of creatives:
When asked how the city could help aspiring creatives, he responded;
It’s not really up to the City, it is up to all of us as the creatives who represent the city. And the answer is by uniting and coming together for a common goal. Blue Collar Hustle would be nothing without the team of talent who came together to help make it a reality. We have a phenomenally talented director, Mr. Geoffrey Henderson, who I swear makes magic with a camera! We also have some incredibly talented individuals who donated time and merchandise all in the name of creative unity. Shamara Sawyer, who runs Queen Boss clothing line provided shirts for our actresses. Latrele Lamar, who also runs a self-named clothing line; provided outfits for the entire cast. Everyone from graphic artists to location providers was a talented individual from Atlanta who dedicated themselves to their role. Find something you are 110% dedicated to and give your all to it, others will be drawn to you by virtue of hard work and determination.
“I feel as if the film industry in Atlanta is just now coming into its own. For years it was just Tyler Perry, but there is and has always been an undercurrent of talented young black creatives with stories to tell. Recently, Donald Glover and a screenwriter by the name of Nakia Stephens have kind of begun opening the floodgates for diverse, intelligent stories centered on the African American experience. The film industry in Atlanta will only continue getting better as authentic black stories are being told by the authentic black populace who has lived and thrived here for decades.”
Alonge raves, “The cast and crew are a multi-talented ensemble I have been blessed to work with. Quentin “Que-Brick” Willaims, who both stars and provides the series soundtrack. Howard Woodburn, who acts as well as provides our official logo through his Howeird Works design company. Roberto Cruz, who acts as well as works promotion through our social media. Shani Hawes, my sister who acts as well as provides script supervision. Tijuana Agnew, who acts as wells as does multiple behind the scenes work. I already mentioned the gifted Geoffrey Henderson, whose company, Geoffrey’s Planet LLC. Is producing the series.”
Alonge Hawes stated that his purpose of the series is to show that young black people are smarter, harder working, and more intuitive than what mainstream media suggests.His purpose is to tell a story that the 18-year-old black kid working three jobs to put himself through college can relate to, telling a story that the 26-year-old black father waking up at 5:00 am to catch the 6:25am Marta bus to work can relate to, telling a story that the 24-year-old black actress who keeps being rejected for roles because she’s “Too Dark-Skinned” can relate to.
“My purpose is to be in league with those who are rewriting the black American story.” – Alonge Hawes
Alonge is inspired by current TV shows; “Survivor’s Remorse”, “Atlanta”, and “Insecure.” The shows “Almost 30” by Matthew Cherry, “Cream x Coffee” by Nakia Stephens, and “Black Boots” by Geno Brooks are on his list for Web Series. He agreed these shows showcased the everyday lives of the common black populace with a mixture of humor and intelligence. African-American director’s Spike Lee and Ryan Coogler are his cinematic heroes. Alonge hopes viewers of “Blue Collar Hustle” will grasp that each of the characters experiencing and feeling something real and unique to the African-American reality.