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Life & Work with Uncle Curt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Uncle Curt.

Hi Uncle Curt, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
There’s a lot in my life that has brought me to this point in my career & I feel that I’m nowhere near close to where I want to be.

I’m grateful for everything good & bad in my journey through life, although I’ve never always been proud to be me. Ask anyone who has ever met me why I’d feel that way; & they would probably think you’re talking about two different people. Ask anyone who knows me; & they’ll know exactly what I mean.

Growing up the way, I did have a major influence on my work & how I express my art. Living in poverty will put a person in “survival mode”, but as a kid, I didn’t know there was another option, it was just called “life”.
As early as the age of 4-5 watching my pops struggle with the bills & addiction, crying out to us not to be like him. I knew I had to be strong. Having an older brother, a year older than me we spent most of our time together alone while Pop was outside hustling to keep it together.

Just me and big bro. The Asian kids with the white dad & black mom got bided on but never backed down from anybody. Never answered the door for police when they came looking for pops. Who always answered the phone when bill collectors called to tell them they have the wrong number. Nights alone in the house imagining what food tastes like & making drawings and lists of things we going to buy when we get rich. Sitting in the living room looking forward to school breakfast & Lunch.

Counting the days down until it was Wednesday, we never looked forward to going to church but only loved it because we got to spend time with Grandma and we knew we were going to Burger King. A lot of times this is the typical kids’ life growing up in a poor community, & I know at a young age I had already seen what most adults only see in crime movies & TV shows. And the craziest part about all of this, it was all normal to me at the time.

Throughout years after, growing up having to pretend like you’re not poor, constantly defending yourself to eventually feeling like you have to commit crimes to eat getting caught stealing to eventually feeling like no one wants you cause you and your brother do nothing but fight at every family members house you had to live with to then fight other people at school while wondering if pops are alive because by 9 years old he had been on the run so long he deferred to dropping us off at the corner store down the street from the church where grandma worked & only thing he could say to us was that he knows we were men & he will one day return to get us as he guzzled a pint of e&j with tears pouring down his face fading into a memory of.

At this point, it has been a couple of years and I and big bro are living in non-profit boys home for troubled kids that were to our understanding a weekend birthday party at a campground for one of the childhood friends from the church which turned out to be some of the best times but also some of the saddest times as a kid I had to go through By the time, my dad had gotten his life together the Justis boys were all the way transitioned From survival mode into living as survivors. As time went on, I didn’t listen to anyone or even look at my pops as my father even though I loved him unconditionally I never gave him the same respect. I still respected and stood up for him, because I truly knew what he was going through, but the innocent kid that once defended his father turned into a 2.0 version.

After years of causing trouble and the paradigm of thinking being a career criminal was my best chance of having respect & being wealthy. I got into a bit of trouble and had to sit down for a couple of years just to realize that I’ve become exactly what my loved ones told me not to be. Exactly like what my pops were crying and begging me not to turn into. For me, this is all I felt I was worthy of. Fast forward ten years of moving around trying to figure out who I am as a man. Not understanding financial literacy & and continuously hitting rock bottom & feeling like I constantly have to reset & recreate myself as a person. I was back in Maryland no job and back doing what I knew best & I was at a friend’s studio when I met an artist now friend named B-Jay Banks who is from Uptown Dc asked me what do I do. I asked him what do you mean.

He said he sees me in the studios a lot & wondered what I do. He said You look like you shoot videos. I never shot a video nor did I ever think I was capable but I would occasionally make diff edits for friends that did music or clothing brands but never to the public. I never even used a camera before and the editing was all done on apps on my iPhone 8. He was amazed at my edit and eventually kept pushing me to get a camera. So, I decided that on my 30th birthday I’m going get a camera and start a new chapter.

I did no research and purchase the cheapest camera I could find on Facebook and at the time it was a canon t2i the first 6 months I spent learning and focused on the camera settings. Taking photos and editing them on my phone to eventually borrow a camera from a friend and at this point, I’m just learning true editing software. Everyone I met told me I should shoot music videos but I wanted to do documentary-style vlogs, just like the ones I used to grow up watching like smack DVD & the come-up DVD.

I had reached out to an artist named JUANHUNNIT. A year prior to me getting a camera, I became a fan of his music by it popping up on my YouTube app. From the moment I heard the 50s in da coupe, I was hooked. For a solid year, all you heard was Juan in the DMV area which is right down 95 from Baltimore but is a completely different world but still the same. By the time, I had reached out his “breakout local buzz” seemed to have faded and I knew I could make a sweet vlog for him just as I have for the homies Banks Dell and the homie Les.
From the day I finished the “JUANHUNNITWorld vlog” he had been on me about starting to direct music videos.

Once again, a person has seen something in me that I didn’t know & even though I didn’t think I’d be any good at it, it was worth a try. I was working a full-time job, remodeling my successful girlfriends’ studio, & shooting as many music videos with the local artists from the laurel area and locked in with another one of my favorite Artists DonMigo who I felt should be way further along in his career & at the time I didn’t realize how hard it truly was to be an artist.

As time went on and I invested in my equipment, long hours of trial and error. Self-teaching & sleepless nights I had linked with one of the DMVs legendary producer Cheecho who if anyone in the past ten years knows anyone who has a cheecho beat they definitely have to be next up to make it out! We shot several legendary projects and have a lot more on the way, & he actually introduced me to Baltimore artist Big6ixx who has a buzz in the city for his music & we worked together on several projects which started my outlet in Baltimore. Working with other Baltimore artists ASAP Ant/YG Addie & WoeDee.

I don’t usually publicly do any posting of achievements even though in the short period of time the relationships, the places I’ve been able to go, the legendary art I’ve directed & the with legendary artists that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I still felt empty. We don’t realize the true meaning of art until we truly put ourselves in the persons’ shoes that is expressing it. My whole life I’ve been trying to figure out who I am. Living a life of depression disguised as happiness. Ashamed of being me, led me to become a very angry & ungrateful person.

Until 5 months ago, I realized that I am worthy of success & the things I do are actually substantial & there are people every day not only wishing to be in my position but just not too long ago I didn’t think I’d even be capable of being in the position that I am in today.
With all that being said, I’ve always had a love for creating and I’ve always been very good at making something out of nothing. I feel it’s because of how I grew up what I’ve seen and constantly living in survival mode. There’s a lot of lost youth out there who the media news only shows the negative that they do, while major platforms speak against it & never do anything to help change it.

I’ve since learned to not be ashamed of how I grew up but to embrace it because I’ve been on both sides & have seen that no matter where you are from or what you have done everyone can relate to each other & there could be world peace as long as they could be strong enough & open-minded to not Pre judge & do everything with zero intention. I’ve since created a brand called “FlowersNSht”. Creating content and merchandise focused toward a healthy lifestyle hoping to Bridge the gap between people of all walks of life merely off the one thing everyone has in common no matter who you are and that is the personal struggle with one’s emotions & self-worth.

With percentages of sales going to communities that actually need help in a very transparent way to ensure the money is utilized properly.
Creating workshops to teach financial literacy, mental health, trade skills, natural supplements, healthy eating gives kids the knowledge and confidence in knowing that you can literally do anything you can imagine in your mind. Looking to also help adults who struggle with confidence based on subconscious conditions & getting to understand it’s never too late to truly be who you want to be.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I didn’t know these were follow-up questions I had made a whole novel in the previous slide.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Cinematography & Photography Specialize in “Run & Gun” directed music videos with a cinematic approach to express true artists’ feelings. I feel what sets me apart from others is my work ethic and intention to wanna see people win.

I’m most proud of the people I get the opportunity to work with. Because I’m able to see them grow toward their goals and It keeps me accountable to not give up on mine.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
Getting my first real pair of Nikes. I remember them they were green/black/white ACG it was a good time in life because I finally saw my pops proud of himself.

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