The “BE” Project

The Print & Broadcast campaign for “BE”; The Neighborhood Health Action Centers in Central Harlem, East Harlem, Tremont and Brownsville have everything you and your family needs to stay healthy!

When I was delivered the casting details, the NYCDOHMH was very clear they would like to focus on casting people from the following neighborhoods (and corresponding zip codes). Manhattan: Central Harlem, East Harlem  Bronx: Mott Haven, Hunts Point, High Bridge, Morrissania, Crotona, Tremont  Brooklyn: Bed Stuy, Bushwick, East New York, Brownsville.

So, we needed folks over 60, African American/Hispanic men over 60 who are Korean or Vietnam Veterans, B-Boys & Girls, Kids, West African young men, a young pregnant Latina with a toddler and Middle Eastern family with a kid under 12.

A challenge for sure, especially given I have to consider WHERE they live!

I actually live in the Central Harlem zip code in a housing complex built in the late 50’s/early 60’s. One of many complexes in the neighborhood that were marketed/advertised at that time to middle class African Americans living in the south- offering them better opportunities in the north. The average age of my neighbor is 70, and so many men here are Vietnam Vets. I hung fliers in all the laundry rooms AND even though many folks here don’t know my name, at the bottom of the flier I put: “Desiree aka the White Lady with the Little White Fluffy Dog”. BINGO, I got calls & emails!

The NYCDOHMH also likes me to reach out to Community Based Organizations; I made an amazing connection with Bronxworks!

They have programs for seniors, young moms, etc. They have centers in all the neighborhoods in the South Bronx where these health centers will be operating. Between the workers, volunteers and participants of Bronxworks programs we had a great showing!

I also hit up every livery cab driver I rode with up in my neighborhood since the majority are West African, but the language barrier was tougher than I thought.

It was a successful shoot; we experienced the wonderful farmers market at the beautiful Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx. Joyce Kilmer wrote the very famous poem “Trees” with the line:  “I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree.”  Good stuff in the Bronx! Our second location was East Harlem.

Photographer: (stills) James Weber    Director of Photography (video) Larry Baglio  Wardrobe: Mindy Saad  Hair/MakeUp/Grooming: Mahfud Ibrahim  Crew: Duck Feeney, Sebastain Beckmann & Rico Elvina  Casting Crew: Justin Wilson, Drew Tobia & Jesus Baez

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