In an effort to not “disrespect” or “bring shame” to HBCUs, students and alumni often stay quiet about the long draining and sometimes ridiculous experiences they have when dealing with their schools’ financial aid departments. There’s been this myth, that if students talk about the way HBCUs handle their financial aid processes, that will bring negative press to their respective universities. But what if it was delivered in a funny and satirical manner? What if, we let people in on the inside joke that are our HBCU financial aid woes? Tevin Scott, has done just that with his new short film The “Real HU”.
A series of tweets with the hashtag #TakebackHU, as well as other protests and campaigns inspired Tevin to create a film that delves into what a lot of students go through at the beginning of each semester, and that’s getting cleared for school.
The “Real HU” dropped on May 22nd and received thousands of views in its first week. Tevin is really excited about the positive feedback. “While I was writing I had in my mind that it was supposed to be controversial, I thought we were going to get back lash for it”
The 23 minute short follows Reggie Jordan, A senior at Howard University on a quest figure out how to pay off his $4,000 fine so that he can register for classes.
Reggie, played by Howard University student Marcus Livingston Jr., Thinks of everything from A to Z to come up with the money. From robbing the A building, to becoming a campus weed man, it gets hectic in the mind of Reggie as we watch him brainstorm.
Marcus, or Reggie, or whatever you’d like to call him once you watch the movie, says that he hopes the film sparks conversation with both HBCU and PWI students alike, to show that all students face problems when it comes to their schools.
“I just want people to look past the comedy and understand the deeper message of the project. This controversial project is a discussion that has been prolonged for far too long. HBCUs and many other institutions across the nation have all experienced something similar to the trials of Reggie Jordan, and no more students deserve to be robbed of an education because of a problem we all have to help solve.”
Both Livingston and Scott have worked together on various projects, but Marcus says this one was different. Noting that in previous projects, their formula has been to go with the funniest shots and to go from there. This time around Livingston states, “We were so patient with every single shot.” Livingston is extremely grateful that Tevin trusted him with the vision for the character.
Giving his character Reggie, fuel from his own life, Marcus was able to empathize the character, and his go get it mentality. Livingston originally denied acceptance to Howard University, was determined that he would turn then no into a yes. Marcus stepped out on faith to audition for the theater program even though he wasn’t admitted into Howard as a student. Not promised anything before his audition, but still given a chance to go for a spot, Livingston was accepted into the program.
A faculty member then helped to pull some strings which assisted in Marcus receiving an institutional acceptance. “Reggie has some similar characteristics as myself and my personal life as I have been through many obstacles to get the things I want most in life…
My tenacious personality helped with me getting in character and it worked out perfectly in the end.”
Scott says that there’s still work to be done on The “Real HU” to get it film festival ready, but the objective is to have it seen everywhere. The Real HU is definitely a film worth watching, not only for the sake of laughing until you cry, but to see that all students everywhere face problems within our institutions that need to tackled.
“Being fortunate enough to tell Reggie’s story, I took away a number of things. After living through Reggie, I immediately understood how crucial controversy can be. This film can easily disturb some higher ups at institutions but as I said before, this is something that should have been addressed years ago. We’re at a point where people outside of the HBCU community are beginning to attach stigmas and discredit the worth of these phenomenal institutions. So let’s stop now, take a couple steps back, and clean up what we missed in the past before it’s too late,” says Livingston.