Why make a film set in Compton? So much family history makes Compton home for last 62 years. The handsome man in the left corner is my grandfather William Theodore Gray. He moved my maternal family to Compton from Tuskegee University in 1953, chosing Compton for the same reasons most people did at that time... it's afordability and central location. He was a graduate student at USC where he studied Education.
William T Gray is noted as the first African American to run for office in Compton. He didn't win but he sure pissed off the status quo by even running. This newspaper clipping talks about how a rival paper ran a smear campaign against him, highlighting the fact that he was a NAACP member.
In his later years he ran an at risk youth program teaching the kids how to remodel homes for Great Western Bank. Damn now that I think about that.... the bank was getting cheap remodeling. Geez I know the students got paid and learned a "trade" but wow Great Western got over.
My paternal family came to Compton in 1954 from Blythe Ca. While in Compton Arvel Chappell Sr. started a formica business called "Arben" where he made formica office, bathroom and kitchen cabinets. While both of my parents grew up in Compton they didn't notice each other until at Compton High School in the late 60's.
A few years after graduating. Pop went off to Vietnam to fight in the war. He was in the Airforce as a radar specialist.
The city is like an additional family member for myself and the rest of my family. Everyone of us has a personal memory with it. Loving it.. Hating it.. But always returning to it as a haven. This is why I set my film here because I couldn't think of another place. I was taught so many life lessons here in Compton and it's my go to whenever I need to rebalance. It's the same for everyone in my family so I couldn't imagine making a coming of age film anywhere else.
This posts only scratches the surface.... 4 more days till I post the trailer. Thanks for reading.