Golden Standard Award: Kema Charles
The Phoenix Suns honored Kema Charles for her work in the Phoenix Community with the Golden Standard Award as the Suns tipped-off against the Rockets. The Golden Standard Award recognizes African Americans in the Phoenix community during MLK Day and Black History month. The Suns are celebrating individuals such as Charles who are promoting equality and excellence during our Phoenix Suns home games.
WHAT IS LIGHTS, CAMERA, DISCOVER?
“We're an after-school, weekend and summer workshop teaching kids teamwork by using their creativity. We teach them filmmaking, acting, animation, screen writing, all of those good creative things.
AS THE FOUNDER, WHERE DID THIS CONCEPT COME FROM?
"I used to work in a film school in LA and I did a program in Nigeria and seeing how it impacted the students there, I wanted to do it locally. I wanted to do it with inner city kids and underserved kids because the way we teach them, that's like a $4,000 program that they wouldn't be able to participate in because the parents can't afford it. So, we decided to try it as a nonprofit so that anyone can come and figure out that there are other things to do in life."
WITH THESE OPPORTUNITIES THAT YOU GIVE THESE KIDS, HOW ARE YOU HOPING TO INSPIRE THEM?
"I'm trying to help inspire them to know that there are other career paths. They're like, 'I've got be an athlete. I've got to be a doctor. I've got to be a teacher.' But no. When they see films thy see an actor or a camera, but there's so many more jobs and that's what we teach them. We show them costuming, how to do makeup, we do props, we do the writing and everything. Even just the sound with holding the microphone. Just showing them other possible steps they can take in life."
WHAT IS THE 'WE DID THAT' PROGRAM?
“About my senior year in high school, I got really involved in black history. Seeing things that I didn't realize were part of black history really inspired me. So, I decided a couple of years ago, we need to start doing a Black History Month program. That's why it's called 'We Did That' because we did this. We did that. You would never know. This year, my six-year-old nephew, he came home and was like, 'All I know about black history is Martin Luther King and the lady that wouldn't get off the bus.' So, the past three days I've been teaching him. I really love showing the new generation that there's so much more than not getting off the seat.”
WHY IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY?
"Because that's how I was raised. My mom was the Girl Scout leader. Everybody knew her after school because she did all of those things. I feel that in order for you to be the person you're supposed to be, you have to give back no matter who you are. So, it's just the way my parents raised me and it's just what I know I need to do. Giving back just makes me feel that I'm doing what I should be doing.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HONORED BY THE SUNS?
“I am truly grateful and humbled that I was even thought of. I'm thankful. It feels good to be recognized. It's just nice to see your work be recognized when you don't even think about it."
The Phoenix Suns are looking to recognize African Americans in the Phoenix community during Black History Month by awarding them with the Golden Standard Award. During this period we will celebrate those who are promoting equality and excellence throughout the valley. Golden Standard Award winner will receive:
- 1 VIP suite night for 16 guests
- Pregame on-court recognition as a Golden Standard Award winner
- Promotional recognition within the Phoenix Suns website
Submit entries for the Golden Standard Award HERE: Suns.com/BHM