Some people may know Ypsilanti, Michigan for being a college town. In the early to mid-2000’s one man changed that by showing the world what the streets of Ypsi were like with his DVD series, “Live From The Block”. Flip Willson, The man behind the camera, has since achieved some wonderful things. Thissomebull.com recently spoke to Flip to get a quick history lesson on who he is, as well as seeing what he has planned.
TSB: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Flip Willson: Flip Willson, the man behind the camera. Director, editor, and content creator for FWGFX.
TSB: Talk to us about growing up in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Flip Willson: Growing up in Ypsilanti was like growing up in any other projects in America. It was designed to keep young Black men under exposed. The area lacked resources, full of gangs, as well as being very violent. It really felt like I was trapped. However, the living conditions motivated me to seek other experiences outside of the walls the system had in place. In the end it turned out to be a blessing.
TSB: What made you initially pick up the camera?
Flip Willson: It was actually from a broken heart. On my birthday in 1993 the Gus Macker basketball tournament in my city was cancelled by violence due to the gangs. The tournament was the only thing I had to display my talent in front of a large crowds at the time. When they left my love for basketball left and I needed something to replace it. The camera became my new obsession from that point on.
TSB: Talk to me about the success you had releasing and selling DVD’s?
Flip Willson: I was able to obtain national distribution at the time I had all the major record stores like Sam Goody, Best Buy, and more. I sold hundreds of thousands of DVDS and gained notoriety throughout the country. I became a staple in the urban community that provided artist alike a platform for them to express themselves at a time when there wasn’t one.
TSB: You’ve worked on several news stations, tell me about that journey.
Flip Willson: It took a lot of focus and determination. As a result, I had a chance to work for CBS, NBC, and ABC throughout my career in television. All I can say is I believe the more experiences you have in life the better off you will be.
TSB: Working at the news station led to Emmy nominations, tell us about that feeling.
Flip Willson: It was the best feeling in the world to see my family proud. It was also the first time I bought a tuxedo lol. Until I was nominated for my first Emmy, I had no idea the levels of success I could reach. It honestly built my confidence at the same time showed me my worth.
TSB: What do you have planned for the future?
Flip Willson: I want to continue building my motion graphics company FWGFX. We currently provide artist with creative content for social media platforms. I eventually want it to become a major record label that focuses on artist development as well as build artist into a brand.
TSB: Thank you for talking with us, do you have any contact information you can provide?
Flip Willson: Phone: (734) 833-1879
Conversation Conducted By: S.L Jackson (www.1sljackson.com Santoine@thissomebull.com)