Jul 11, 2017

Words and Photos: Sammy Cuevas | @coolcave
Director: Sheena Carter

An Interview

The nearby Anacostia River provides a merciful breeze on this warm summer day, I find myself gazing towards the water and quickly regain focus as I exit the forth floor terrace and into the tranquil lounge. Sheena Carter is seen pondering over an extended desk as she carefully takes notes on her task-heavy notebook. As someone who has thrived for years in the film and television industry, Sheena is pretty familiar with making on-the–spot decisions. Whether that was working with esteemed writers and producers, during her time at BET Networks, or crafting together informative pieces at boutique agencies; her goal has always been to create engaging and impactful content. Today, we meet as she works on her own passion project “Watching the Storm”. This documentary spotlights a horologist in the city of Baltimore, as he implements an educational program designed to challenge the youth and better the community.

Can you pinpoint a specific moment in where your goal of becoming a Director was conceived?

I’ve naturally been a producer at heart and I labeled myself that at a very young age. Whether it was arts and crafts or a science project, being creative was essential. Growing up I was a latchkey kid and when returning home from school the TV was the only thing I had to keep me company. Also, my mother did a great job in making sure I was enrolled in extra curricular activities. I think that combination of being involved in after school projects and engulfing myself in television content, helped groom me for my current role.

What has been the biggest challenge in obtaining your goals and what fuels you to continue the journey?

To be honest, most challenges that I can recollect have been racially driven. Although I grew up without my father, my mother did a great job making sure I had a good upbringing. She worked hard to make sure I was nurtured. Naturally, personal goals always seemed attainable. Being a black woman in America has its challenges but it also really pushes me to create quality content.

Hopefully the work can motivate a young woman out there without a sense of confidence. I see my little cousin struggling with insecurities and not feeling comfortable going on vacation and being under the sun. I want people who have a complex or are going through some struggle to look at the work we create and become inspired.

What message do you believe is most important when considering your legacy?

I want to be remembered for my integrity and quality of work. My loyalty to preserving black culture and black people in a beautiful way is very important to me. I want people to know that everything that I have done has always been purpose filled. It was something that God placed in my heart and I was following every single step of the way. When I think back to my wedding, every single detail was intentional. I wanted people to touch and smell the experience. That energy and love is an extension of the message I want to put out.

Can you list the key characteristics needed for professional and/or personal development?

Personal and professional growth goes hand and hand. If you are pursuing what you are passionate about, I feel that character is key. You must have the drive, will, and personality. Being focused and resilient is also necessary. A lot of people think you can do everything by yourself but you must be willing to listen and collaborate with others. Working together always presents results.

How do you define success?

Success for me is defined by making God and my mom proud. Knowing they can they both smile and be proud of me at the end of the day.

Why is paying attention to details so vital?

You can tell a lot about a person’s personality and who they by paying attention to the details. The details let me know everything about a person. The details matter because they tell me who you are and what you value.