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Filmmaker & Actress Christina Cooper Aims to Inspire Younger Generation With L.A.-Based Film
By Simone Grant, Contributing Writer
Published April 5, 2018

Model, actress and filmmaker, Christina Cooper

You may recognize 23-year-old model and actress Christina Cooper from her role as “Miko,” a very sarcastic, yet opinionated college student who does hair in the Netflix original hit series, “Dear White People,” but now the on-screen talent has produced, written, directed, and starred in her first film “Loyalty.”

The short film, “Loyalty,” takes place in South Central Los Angeles, commonly known as the “hood,” and follows Davonte, played by Jamal R. Henderson, a young Black man with dreams to finish college. However, Davonte is easily influenced by his up-to-no-good best friend, Rex, played by Chris Massey. “I wanted to show that not every young African American male that lives in South Central is a bad person, sometimes it’s just a bad influence,” Cooper stated.

The main character and protagonist, Davonte’s dreams to finish college are negatively scrutinized by someone he considered to be a friend. The film shows how the people around you can have a negative impact on your life. Inspired by true events, Christina wanted to write a story that can inspire younger generations in South L.A. “I’ve seen so many crazy things and some of my friends weren’t making the best decisions so I said I wanted to start inspiring people and show that you can come from nothing and do positive things with your life,” she added. She wants people to know that no matter where you come from, your dreams are attainable. Her hope is to inspire youth and teach them that the choices you make in life can be detrimental to your future. The film ends with Davonte discovering what “loyalty” is to him.

Christina had many hats to wear the day of filming. Not only does Christina serve as writer and producer, but also director and cast member. She plays “Bria,” Davonte’s girlfriend. Davonte soon finds out that it isn’t his so-called friend who has his back, but Bria. “It’s kind of like basically nothing in these streets is safely and securely yours; you can get robbed or neglected or betrayed, but true love never fades,” said Christina.

At the end of the film, there are interviews with young men that live in South L.A, as well as gang members. Christina mentions specifically an 18-year-old male from a street gang that stood out to her. He said retrospectively that he regretted joining a gang. Situations such as these is what Christina wants to bring awareness to. “You can go to school, you can become a doctor, you can become an entrepreneur, you can become an actress or a model; you can do creative things with your life,” she asserted.

“Loyalty” was written on New Year’s Day and filmed three days later. Christina understands how rigorous it is to be a filmmaker, but is wholeheartedly dedicated to creating content to change the world. “I want to be the female John Singleton,” Christina emphasized. The devoted filmmaker uses the money she earns from whatever she books to invest in her projects. “We filmed ‘Loyalty’ in literally one day with $600 in my pocket and a vision to uplift the youth in South Central Los Angeles,” stated Cooper.

Christina didn’t grow up wanting to be a filmmaker. She started off modeling and has since graced the runway for New York and Milan fashion week and walked for Cesar Galindo, Project Runway, Roberto Cavalli, Desantis Milano, and more. She credits being in front of the camera as inspiration. This fueled her curiosity to know what transpires behind the scenes.

“Loyalty” has already been selected for two film festivals. Christina said she is waiting to hear what award the film won. Christina plans to get the film funded to do a feature film or a TV series if all goes well.

When Cooper isn’t writing and producing her own content, she is building her acting resume. She will play “Nina,” in the 90’s-based TV pilot, “The Lovers Lyfe,” produced and created by Nina Brooks and written by Cambreisha Montgomery.

“Loyalty,” which is slated for release at the end of April, was co-directed by Steven Alan Davis and stars Jamal R. Henderson, Chris Massey, Christina Cooper, Viandra Dunn, Dawn Raven, Byron Haskins, Carlene Corsey, Stephanie Tejada, and Kyle Lewis. It will be screened at Downtown Independent movie theater in Downtown Los Angeles in May for a week, if not longer, and open to the public.

More information on “Loyalty” can be found on social media by visiting Instagram @loyaltyfilm. Christina can also be found on Instagram @thechristinacooper.

Categories: Entertainment | Movies | News (Entertainment)
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