Today we’d like to introduce you to Aminah Salaam.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
My first year of College, I had no idea what I wanted to focus on. I just knew that I wanted to be at Howard University for its rich legacy. I studied communications because I had a strong love for it, but wasn’t sure how I was going to choose a specific career or make a difference. However, with deep thought and just taking a few days to think about my passions, Filmmaking repeatedly surfaced. It came in connection with my love for sound and how I watched Music Videos. I remembered how from Elementary School I had a composition notebook full of my favorite directors. I would watch this art form and pay attention to the different shots, compositions and colors but was moreso fixated on each visual representation being the most accurate depiction of the words and sounds expressed by the artists. I had directed shows, written multiple screenplays and was even picked most likely to be a Film Critic in Middle School. After Howard, instead of going the traditional route of working directly at a production company, I had this innovative idea of creating a visual presence for a popular radio station at the turn of social media. Therefore right after college, I was running my own department at a Multi-Million Dollar company teaching current employees marketable skills in production. I then went on to create my own Video Production company, Abstrak Vision, in addition to working in Education being an advocate for young people of color.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
The first moment my daughter gazed into my eyes upon entering this world was lowkey threatening, but I had no choice but to be ready. She gave me the opportunity to love someone unconditionally without ridicule. She also pushed me to make sure that I was establishing the most stable environment for her as well. I wanted to make sure she saw me by her side as she experienced life. Therefore, for years, if I was not working part time, I relied on public assistance while I worked on growing my Business. She then cheered by my side as I pursued getting my Masters, and then pivoted into becoming a full time Teacher. As you can imagine, these commitments took more time away from my creativity which often made me feel conflicted and anxious. That was until I pushed myself to write my own feature length movie, shot it and premiered it to a sold out audience. Of course needing to be financially secure is top priority for a family, but how can I teach my daughter to reach for the stars if I never attempted to do so myself. As a Creative Entrepreneur, your social life becomes a blur for a while and Media Production is a male dominated field. Therefore, as a Woman, I look like a martian when I say “I’ve been sitting in the dark writing a script for days”. So just make sure to find friends and a spouse who understand how you are wired.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
One of my most favorite humans has to be the late and great Cicely Tyson who said “my art had to both mirror the times and propel them forward” and I too share these sentiments wholeheartedly. A silver lining to having anxiety, is that my body quickly reacts to whatever is not sitting right with my spirit. Therefore a few years back I learned that I am most fulfilled when I am able to merge my creativity with giving back. Whatever I do, it has to be meaningful. Therefore that is the foundation of how Abstrak Vision is structured. Our three main objectives are to:
1. Assist others in having a creative idea produced into a finished product
2. Teach Black and Latino youth Marketable skills in addition to exposing them to Careers in Media and
3. provide a safe space for Black Creatives to receive the mental support needed as they dive deep into forming works of art that the rest of the world benefits from.
The most recent endeavor that I am proud of is our Non-Profit, The Possibilities Tour Inc, which is a traveling citywide career day that was curated in the height of the Pandemic. The first event was held in New York City in 2020 with many of the guest speakers working in media, including Allan Houston (CEO and former NBA Player, NY Knicks), DJ Reborn (Tour DJ for Ms. Lauryn Hill), Jon Gray (Ghetto Gastro Global) and more. Next stop is Philly then Ghana Africa.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
The best piece of advice that I can give is to trust the journey. Everything in our lives is already designed, so we just have to move with gratitude and simply do the best that we can. It is ok to not have all of the answers but as long as you believe in yourself and put in the actual work without purposely hurting others, you will receive exactly what you deserve in the best way. Most importantly, with the purest intentions, stop and give yourself flowers often.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success means being at a place where you feel most comfortable and fulfilled. It means freedom, alignment and sharing your gifts with others.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is continuing to travel and supporting BIPOC Youth, Teens and Young Adults all over the world to sustain a growth mindset that will continue to shatter glass ceilings with The Possibilities Tour. I want participants to continue using their art to make a living while also making a change for the better. We are constantly working to get participants the resources that they deserve, so donate if you can. I look forward to you all seeing my artistic growth with upcoming Films that are in the works, on screen and through your favorite streaming services. Our most current Documentary “Swimming Against the Current” has already gotten buzz in the Film Festival Circuit and I look forward to the subjects in the Film, getting the recognition that they deserve. We will be doing events creating safe spaces for Artists of color soon, but what it most exciting is that Abstrak Vision’s 15 year anniversary is coming up in December. We have come a long way and I am truly grateful for this journey. Stay tuned because we definitely have to celebrate and you are all invited!
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Check out our Website www.abstrakvision.com . We would also love for you to follow us on instagram @abstrakvision and/or linkedin to stay informed about our events, screenings and any other updates. If you have a school or organization that you would like for us to bring our services to or have a creative idea that you need help with bringing to life, please reach out to us at email@example.com. Much Love! ~Aminah