Andrea Lashon Walker has earned a Master of Science degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University, and a creative writing background specializing in Arts & Entertainment fiction writing, interviewing, script writing, and film production. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts with a focus in Radio/TV/Film, with a minor in History from Clark Atlanta University. Andrea has over 10 years of experience working in social service positions to compliment her constant involvement in community service. Andrea debuted as a playwright when her project, “To Tell the truth” was selected in the 2011 NAACP theatre festival. She has written and worked on several independent shorts and feature films including winner of the 2014 film, Son Shine which won as the San Francisco festival selection and also for the best actor award in the Underground film festival.
Young Urban Voices Magazine chats with Walker about the books she’s written and her upcoming projects.
Young Urban Voices Magazine: How did your brand Create Noise come about?
Andrea Walker: The create noise brand was started because I wanted to bring diversity to entertainment and use this brand to allow young adults to illustrate their talents in all genres of the arts. In music, miming, drawing, journaling, through dance, music and performing arts. We are working to bring the arts back to public schools and bring diversity to entertainment.
I wanted to encourage young people to read and to also make it fun. I am the oldest of three, raised by a single mother and I felt I didn’t see a lot of positive images that utilize people of color in their material. I created a company that had a strong goal to encourage and motivate diverse characters and tackle social issues at the same time.
YUV: What made you start writing children’s books?
AW: I write books for everyone but I have a special interest in writing for children because they are so interesting and so loving and their minds inspire me. While raising my babies I realized how creative I had to become regarding how I educate them, how I read to them and the energy I have when I work with them and that developed my love for writing for children even more.
YUV: What inspired the story, “Mama, Who’s Jesus?”
AW: The first project, “Mom, who is Jesus?” was inspired by my first-born son Justin. He was intrigued by the lessons that were instructed in children’s church during bible study. I found so much entertainment in the questions that he asked that I really wanted to share them.
YUV: Can you tell us about the new book coming to publication next year?
AW: The new book coming to publication is called, “Never too young to dream” and this book is for a much older audience. This is the story of a young girl named Jordan who comes from a middle class household but they lose everything and they are forced to live in the housing projects during her senior year of high school. Jordan is very talented but she is not aware of her true value. Jordan can draw and she takes all the chaos in the world and she sketches it. She allows fear to limit her gifts from being shared. As Jordan deals with the social aspects of her situation she also finds the nature of self-confidence and faith as she aims for the next journey in her future.
YUV: Briefly, explain your previous projects, “To Tell The Truth,” and “Son Shine.”
AW: To Tell the Truth is a drama and it is also my first play that I have ever written. It was selected for the NAACP theatre play festival and it was produced on stage at the LA theatre in downtown Los Angeles. This production led to being offered an opportunity for me to participate in the Robey theatre playwriting workshop and I was also selected to receive the Robey theatre Scholarship.
To tell the truth is about a nurse practitioner, Doris who is very good at her job but things take a big turn when she gets a little too personal as she cares for one of her clients.
The project Son Shine is a short film written by a friend Katrelle Kindred a USC graduate student who wrote and directed the film for her graduate thesis. This is a dated film about the 1992 riots in Los Angeles in a story that is told through the eyes of a 12 year-old child. I was the script supervisor and apart of the production of the project.
YUV: Where do you see yourself in the next ten or fifteen years?
AW: In the next ten or fifteen years I see my company being a major competitor in the literary world. My goal is o use Create Noise as a tool to allow others to use their voice by way of visual and the performing arts, with theatre arts play productions and 4-5 book series published that cater to children and young adults.
YUV: Do you feel there is a big emphasis on child literacy being held in America?
AW: There is not enough emphasis on child literacy being held in America. There are certain cultural norms such as literacy that plague African Americans far more than any other group in America. This has added to a structured system of despotism. There has been a recent breakdown in education. This system is referred to as “being in compliance,” which canceled reading intervention for a class called ELD which is equivalent to ESL classes for second language learners. Along with elective courses these necessary classes were eliminated and speech and drama were among them.
ELD is a sheltered English class that allows 140 minutes of English instead of 50 minutes so they have more time to practice reading and writing. The majority of these students are natives of the U.S. which should put them at an equal status to second language English learners but there are no programs to recognize these students. Although this new program is being afforded necessary and continued attention there has been no discussion of any particular consideration or subversive activity towards participants who meet the requirements of being in need of remedial reading resources. We now have a new curriculum that is known as “core curriculum” which targets public schools and is set to cater to the students who are in a great need of nurturing and the attention necessary to guide them to the next step in their lives. The gift of literacy is a great issue and must be tackled to broaden a broken education system.
YUV: Have you ever considered being a teacher?
AW: I have considered being a teacher and working with teens. I feel this group is often misunderstood and they don’t get sufficient life skills, business preparation and career readiness and goal setting tools to prepare them to be as great as they can be. I would like to teach business ethics and leadership courses to students ages 15 and up.
YUV: What other projects are you working on?
AW: Other projects include: A book titled, “Love, Dad” is about a father name Tim Stewart and this story is a collection of letters between him and his daughter. He is imprisoned and the distance between them forces him to look closer at himself as well as attempt to connect with his daughter who he has left behind. This story is about dealing with deep family wounds and exploring the unbreakable love between a little girl and her father.
I am also working on a feature film, “The Denise Berry story” about a Los Angeles woman who was driving and she took the time to flag down the police and inform them that she was being followed. Once this happened the man following her shot her as she provided a distraction for her 12 year-old son to get away. This is a true story but this film will allow you to see a glimpse in the life of this single mother and whom she was prior to this horrific incident that caused her to perish too soon.
Here’s a link for her vigil after the event: http://ktla.com/2015/04/03/woman-shot-dead-in-front-of-son-12-after-laughing-at-shooter-to-be-honored-at-vigil/
YUV: Where can people reach you or your books?
AW: People can purchase the book on Amazon, http://www.barnesandnoble.com or at indiebooks.com. They may also reach me online: www.createnoise.org -the site will be up by December 10th. I have the following social media links:
Goodreads: Andrea L Walker