The first thing that would strike anyone about Kelly Jackson is his youth. In talking to Kelly, you are left with an impression of a very youthful kind of vibrancy. It expresses itself in how he talks and in his art as well. This is probably what makes him a good director.
Despite his youth, he is clearly a very pensive young man. He thinks carefully before he speaks. He also speaks as a very well-informed person.
I met Kelly while perusing through one a the Facebook pages for black people in Thailand. This particular page is called Cameroonians in Thailand.
Kelly Jackson grew up in the southwest part of Cameroon. In his own words, he comes from a very ‘hard’ background in his city which is just outside of Douala. Kelly is one of 8 children. He has lived in Bangkok, Thailand for about 3 years now. What brought him to Thailand was what has brought many people to Thailand and out of their home countries, for that matter. For many people, there is more opportunity abroad than at home.
With that said, I gathered that Kelly Jackson is, by nature a very adventurous person. it was actually this sense of adventure that prompted him to leave Cameroon in the first place.
It was refreshing to hear him make a contrast between southwest Cameroon and Thailand in general. In Bangkok, Kelly encountered a kind of freedom that was absent from life in Cameroon. He finds his surroundings to be a lot safer. He is impressed by the convenience of getting nearly any item one could imagine. The direction he is now taking, I am proud to write, is one that seeks to create a voice for Africans inside of his community through film.
He told me about media images of Africans that he has come across there in Thailand. Unfortunately, there are almost always negative stereotypes. His work seeks to offer alternative images.
It also seeks to cast a more positive and better-informed light on people and situations in Thailand. His films can be viewed on his site.We both agreed that this is a problem globally and in America also, most media images of black Americans are negative ones.
It compelled me to reiterate a point from an earlier interview. For us, as members of the African diaspora, if we want our story to be told correctly, we have to tell it ourselves.
Kelly Jackson stressed a very important point to me. Like anyone in his position, he needs funding. He is looking for that now. His projects create greater exposure for Africans living in Thailand.
The information he presents is crucial for understanding the situations facing many black people living in Asia. It is also crucial in understanding global politics. Lastly, it is crucial that accurate information be handed down to the future. His projects, naturally, require money to be produced. I hope you enjoy the interview and his films.