Nicci Gilbert-Daniels new short film ‘Social Conflict’ is a must see.
The R&B girl group Brownstone member, Nicci Gilbert-Daniels talks to Clark Atlanta University’s Radio Programming & Production I Fundamentals of Radio class led by Professor Brian Hightower. She talked about her new heart tugging short film ‘Social Conflict’, her experiences in the music and entertainment industry and lastly, investing in yourself to propel your dreams.
Gilbert-Daniels opened a dialogue with CAU students while dropping valuable life gems, saying, “If you’re doing it for the money you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.” She adds, “After 25 years in this industry I am here to tell you it is not about who’s the most attractive, who has the most opportunities, it’s not even about who is the smartest and most prepared it’s about who is not ever going to give up.”
CAU Panther Newspaper discussed with Gilbert-Daniels about her new film ‘Social Conflict’, her new single “I’m Not Giving Up” and From the Bottom Up showcasing on BET Her. Students are welcomed to reach out to Gilbert-Daniels via mass media arts Professor Brian Hightower.
Nailah Heard: Tell us about the new short film Social Conflict?
Nicci Gilbert-Daniels: Social Conflict was such a labor of love for me because I am so closely connected to the [story]. We filmed it at my old high school. The story itself is about a group of students at a high school who [must] attend school [although] teachers can carry guns. I play a character name Charmayne Davis who is named after my sister Charmayne “Maxee” Maxwell and is a teacher and set to become a principal. My character is an educator, her son is smart, and she didn’t know that there were some tragic things going on in her son’s life that led him to make a terrible decision and kill a teacher. Social Conflict addresses in 29 minutes so many impactful social issues. We address bullying, mental health, sexual assault, gun violence, gender bias and sexual discrimination. The reason I am so proud of the film is because it is loosely based on a true story as it relates to my life. It’s based on so many people’s stories and so many kids who have been negatively impacted by school shootings. I wanted to create something that would not just be a short film but would also be a backdoor pilot for a series. I think that if we can watch TV every day and see people throw drinks and flip tables then we can watch kids, faculty members and communities who are trying to rise above adversity. I’m hoping that national platforms and linear platforms see the value and the truth in these stories.
NH: You recently released a single titled, “I’m Not Giving Up” what inspired the track?
NGD: The song was written by a group called The Trackheads out in LA. I heard the song about two years ago and the song was so timely. But I wasn’t really focused on doing music, so I didn’t want to do a disservice and just throw a record out there and not have any follow through on it. So, I said [to myself], “Hold on to it and if it’s there when I come back then it’s meant to be.” I started writing this film and I started listening to music as I was writing. This song lyrically fit so perfectly because there is a scene in the movie where a character said, “You are not going to give up on me are you?” and I said, “No, I’m not giving up no way.” I think this needs to be a mantra for the entire world. So many people are giving up and a song that allows you to repeat that line throughout the hook is worth singing and deserves for me to bust my butt to try to get it out to the people. I know when I hear music that inspires me it changes my life in a positive way, even if in the smallest way it changes my life.
NH: What sparked the transition from being an actress to going behind the lens and telling your own story?
NGD: When I was on tour with Tyler Perry doing Meet the Browns for a year and I saw how successful he was becoming in the space of plays. I decided to dibble and dabble in little roles here and guest appearances on Martin and doing guest appearances on shows. I was a theatre major in college, so I have always been one who has been interested in the [acting space]. But when I started to physically manifest these ideas for shows it was sparked by my experiences with Tyler [Perry]. Here is a man who was sleeping in his car and he went from hustling and trying to make shows happen, to selling out arenas and theatres night after night and making people laugh and positively impacted lives through what he has written. I’d have to say that’s [who] sparked it, Tyler Perry.
NH: Tell us more about the show that you executive produced, From the Bottom Up on BET Her? What propelled you to produce this show?
NGD: From the Bottom Up was the title of the first Brownstone album which is 25 years-old January 10th, 2019. It’s always been an on-going theme in my life and my career. I am from Detroit which used to be considered one of the most dangerous cities in America; it’s one of the cities that is hit with the most poverty and one of the worst educational systems. So, from me to go from that to being discovered by Michael Jackson to doing all these great things and then to once again find myself at rock bottom. Then when I went into this stark place in my career which was also one of the most valuable and meaningful moments of my career. Rather than pretend, fake the funk and keep up appearances I’d embraced the bottom. I embraced that this is where I needed to lay my foundation again and start to rebuild. I went and found other women who like me had been at the top of their game who had experienced success, wealth and popularity and all those wonderful things that we think we want in our lives, but then hit rock bottom. I thought what an awesome way to change the narrative to reclaim the narrative and to embrace the struggle rather than running away from it. It just happened to be the title of the first album and it happened to have such a good ring to it because of the title of the show and what I was trying to set out to do with the show was to help people raise up from the bottom.