Interview with July 2020 Diversity Winner - Kayona Ebony Brown

July 04, 2020

Interview with July 2020 Diversity Winner - Kayona Ebony Brown

How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place?

I feel like I’ve been writing forever. A grade school teacher gave us an option for recess: either we could go out and play or we could stay in and listen to him read Edgar Allen Poe stories. I would stay in, and before long, I was writing my own stories. By 4th grade, you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t on the same level as Poe lol!

 

I never stopped writing. Even as my dream expanded into acting and directing, and even when my career and life evolved and brought new and exciting experiences, I was still always writing. So I guess I’ve accepted it as more of a calling than just something I want to do, and maybe what I have to say is something that someone somewhere needs to hear.


What genre do you prefer to write in? What draws you to that genre?

I tend to focus on female-driven drama and dramedy with existential undertones that put unusual or unexpected women at the center. Now, with this intent, there can be a lot of range. For example, I have a feature that puts a WNBA star at the center but focuses on mental health, while I also have a 60-minute pilot that puts the literal grim reaper (who appears as a millennial Black woman) at the center, while focusing on the fragility of the life-death continuum.

I believe good storytelling doesn’t come from having answers, but from asking questions. These stories all come from a personal place that started with questions that are crafted for commercial digestibility. I want women to find and maybe even lose themselves in my stories.


Tell us three things you're currently digging.

In TV, I’m literally worshipping Ramy and Vida. I look at what Ramy Youssef and Tanya Saracho were able to do with those shows and how they’re so personal yet artistic and relatable. I dream of doing that with my Of Music and Men project. With books, I’m re-visiting the Tao Te Ching, one of my favorites to always come back to for some perspective about how to navigate (or not navigate) life. And I listen to way too many podcasts: most of the screenwriting ones, and then Guys We F*cked, School of Greatness, and Beautiful Anonymous, just to name a few others. Food? I know it’s too hot for it right now but I make the best oatmeal.


What interested you about the Roadmap Diversity Initiative?

Being in DC is great, but not being in LA has its drawbacks. I do as much as I can where I am but there’s always the feeling that I’m not where the real action is. But that’s okay because it pushes me to work harder. I was drawn to the Roadmap program because I saw it as a way to access more of the insider information that I need in order to be successful in this business--whether I eventually end up in LA or not.


Also, part of the goal of the Initiative is to highlight marginalized voices. I have a collection of work that I truly believe in and a distinctive voice that I know can stand out because it offers a necessary perspective. Sometimes we just need a little bit of help to get to that next step toward where we want to be. Roadmap Writers has a lot to offer.


Where can we find you? (social media)

My website is kayonaebonybrown.com. I’m on IG @kayonaebonybrown and on Twitter @iamkayona

 





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