Malcolm Mays is a multi-talented 22 year old from South Central Los Angeles who embodies the spirit of the Elite man. He holds many titles, with varied roles including filmmaker, writer, director, producer, and actor.
As a young African American male from South Central LA, he faced notable hardship throughout his coming of age, living in a predominantly Blood neighborhood although his uncle was the founder and creator of Crips.
Mays describes himself as a “Renaissance man at heart,” and cites his frustration with the world around him and his experiences as a primary source of inspiration for his films–particularly his first project, which he described as, “an outlet to express discontent with the situation of [his] people.” Throughout his adolescence the young filmmaker experienced firsthand the social ills of those living within low socioeconomic areas.
Living in a predominantly Blood neighborhood with an uncle who founded the Crips–along with his other experiences– has given Malcolm Mays a unique vision and approach to film making. He states that his uncle, “raised him over the phone,” when his father wasn’t around, and despite his ties to a rival gang through his uncle, he also found another male role model in T Rogers, the leader of Bloods in his neighborhood.
His films express the world through his eyes, encompassing issues including, “Social strife, gentrification, and tensions between African Americans and Latinos competing for survival in some of the nations toughest areas. Latinos moving into black neighborhoods
In this interview, we explore Malcolm Mays as an individual and filmmaker, delve into the inspiration behind his films, gather his thoughts on his collaborative projects with renowned filmmakers, and hear a rather moving retelling of the struggles talented urban children face in seeking an escape from their surroundings.