*DISCLAIMER: The Following Conversation Has Been Slightly Modified To Increase Readability*
Actress. Writer. Producer. Director. Model. 24-year-old Los Angeles native, Christina Cooper is a jack of all trades. Copper has written, produced, directed and starred in two films, Loyalty and South Central Love, a daytime drama series, Blue Laces, and a documentary, If I Don’t Make It Home under her production company, Christina Cooper productions. Her first short film, Loyalty, can be viewed on Amazon Prime while South Central Love is slated for release this summer. She had been named a Forbes 30 under 30 nominee which makes her the youngest African American director on the nominee list from the Crenshaw District. Christina also produces and hosts her own televised talk show, “The Christina Cooper Show” which can be seen on channel 99 on AT&T Uverse cable. If her face looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen her in the Netflix original series, Dear White People as “Miko” and “Crystal” in Never Heard the movie alongside Karrueche Tran and Romeo Miller.
Cooper is quite busy these days as she anxiously and excitedly prepares for the release of her first feature film. As busy as she gets, she always makes sure to emphasize how important it is for her to use her films to address issues within the community and inspire the youth.
What’s the inspiration behind South Central Love the movie? You filmed Loyalty first and then decided to expand it to a feature film, correct?
Correct! I kind of changed a bit of things around & developed the storyline a lot more. Started with 6 characters now we have 30 more!
Don’t let other people’s doubt affect the way you dream and pursue.
Can you tell us a little about the film? A quick synopsis?
In the unforgiving streets of Los Angeles, we meet a couple who comes from two different worlds. But through their trials and tribulations, they realize their broken families assist in bringing them closer together. Throughout the movie, characters learn to trust their intuition in their own love and life story, especially Davonte. Many don’t see his strength but he refuses to fall victim to the streets. This film was created to encourage love within our city streets and to put an end to gang and gun violence. This is not your regular love story. South Central Love. The type of love money can’t buy.
About how long did it take for you to write South Central Love and how long did it take to film?
Due to so much being on my plate, I wrote this movie in about a week which honestly isn’t enough time to develop a script but it happened! There also were revisions along the way!
What do you think viewers will take after watching South Central Love?
The effects of gun violence and how learning forgiveness can end that vicious cycle.
You began modeling initially which led to acting. Acting eventually led to wanting to work behind the camera. Out of all three, which do you find the most fulfilling and why?
I definitely have a passion for film. To be able to tell the stories I want to tell and to be able to use my visions to influence inspiration within my generation beats any Photoshoot or catwalk I’ve stepped on!
Your work spreads light on the issues that transpire within the Los Angeles community. What exact message are you trying to transmit and how important is it for you that your community receives it (your message)?
My main message is to put an end to the violence within our communities and to show the youth that their dreams are attainable no matter where or what they come from. Money does not define you or your future. Your work ethic and faith do.
You eventually have to write it down & go out there & get it done.
You involve a lot of upcoming artists and actors in your projects. Something similar to Tyler Perry and Issa Rae as they utilize a lot of online talent for their projects. Why do you think it’s so important to involve those new faces for your projects?
I am also one of them. I know how hard it can be so as I try to open doors for myself, I’d love to bring my community and the go-getters with me. It’s important to give these people opportunities that are maybe not within reach. Creating your own content equals creating your own opportunities. I hope the people on my cast & crew go on to create their own film & tv shows one day. One of us wins, we all win!
What’s next for you and Christina Cooper Productions?
We are in pre-production for a few projects and will be back on set for my tv talk show later this year as well as our Blue Laces series. “South Central Love” is running for an Academy Award nomination so hopefully we get that! But either way, we are breaking barriers & ready for what’s next!
What advice would you give any hopeful future filmmakers?
Believe in yourself. Don’t let other people’s doubt affect the way you dream and pursue. Just do it. You can’t sit around & plan for years. You eventually have to write it down & go out there & get it done. Research & utilize the internet for the questions you have. There are resources all around us. Find a team that believes in you, and keep creating. Submit to festivals, network & PROMOTE! Don’t be afraid to utilize Instagram either. But the main thing, believe in yourself & remember fear is an illusion.