Wait a second! Before you read this, have you read ‘Mr. Grace and Mrs. Grace’?
Myles and Maria made it to the office around ten thirty. On their way, the couple stopped at a local bakery, grabbing goodies for the rest of the people in the office before heading in.
As they made their way to Myles’s office, the pair passed out muffins and Nutella-filled croissants.
“Your coffee monsieur! Black, just the way you like it.” Myles said, as he walked into his office and presented Donte, his best friend and business partner, with his coffee.
Donte smiled brightly, pulling off his headphones as he rose up from his seat.
“Is that coffee from Ty’s?” Donte gasped, pointing at the cup.
Myles nodded, causing Donte to smile widely before throwing his arms around Myles.
“Best business partner ever!” He said, hugging Myles tightly.
Donte and Myles had been best friends since college. Other than Maria, and Myles’s family, Donte was the only other person that believed Myles when he said he wanted to start a production company. Port Prince Media, Myles’s production company, was a play on the name Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
Myles started the company back in middle school, but other than a few poorly made five-minute films, Port Prince Media didn’t actually become anything until college.
During freshman year, Myles met Donte during a pickup game at the YMCA. The pair bonded over being first generation Haitian-Americans and their love of Kompa music and ragging on Haitian films. Oftentimes the pair would cut glass and spend their entire day listening to Sweet Micky, Black Parents, and other Haitian artists, or watching Haitian films.
Eventually, the pair began making their own films. They started off by trying to improve the films they’d been watching but once their friends became part of the projects, the men decided to forgo the desire of making Haitian films and focused their attention on more Americanized genres instead. By their sophomore years of college, Myles and Donte were spending so much of their time working on their company that they were barely even going to class.
A month into their second year of college, Myles, Donte, and a few other friends were put on academic probation. For Myles and Donte’s friends, the letter was a wake-up call, causing the four other men to bury themselves in their books for fear of losing their scholarships and their dorms, which were their only place to stay.
As for Myles and Donte, they tried, they tried to get serious about their school work, but writing scripts kept them up all hours of the night, and filming took up much of their days. Eventually, the pair came to the realization that they couldn’t keep on the way they were going. Neither man was sleeping or eating properly, their personal lives and films were beginning to suffer, and something had to give.
“I feel like we’ve hit a ceiling, like we’ve gotten all we’re gonna get out of this schooling shit, and we kinda just need to go out on our own.” Donte said to Myles one night.
Donte was the braver of the two; he did a lot of the shit Myles only ever thought about doing.
Myles dropped his head back and looked up at the ceiling. For the past month and a half, he’d been thinking about it; school was slowly becoming an obstacle on Myles’ path, but he couldn’t just drop out. Johnny and Rose had busted their asses to live in the best neighborhoods so that Myles and his siblings could go to the best schools and get into the best colleges. And now here Myles was, attending NYU, a school he’d worked so hard to get into, and he was thinking about throwing all that away.
“My mom and dad would kill me.” Myles said, turning his attention back to Donte.
Donte sucked his teeth.
“Nigga you haven’t been to class in almost a month, and you’re failing everything! They’re already planning your funeral.” Donte laughed.
But Donte understood where Myles was coming from. Both of their parents had worked their asses off to come to America and give their children better lives. The men had heard the stories of their parents fleeing Haiti, leaving behind everything and everyone they’d ever known. Donte and Myles understood the sacrifices their parents made, and that only made them want to chase their dreams even more. Port Prince Production was about Myles and Donte preserving and promoting their culture.
Other than the corner store bootlegs, Donte and Myles rarely ever saw themselves in the media. And whenever the media did talk about Haiti or Haitians, it was the same sad story of poor, black naked people in huts, and the men knew that wasn’t anything close to what Haiti was actually like.
So that week, the men spent all their time thinking of what they were going to tell their parents. Donte was a bit more nervous than Myles. While Myles knew Rose and Johnny wouldn’t be happy about Myles flunking out, Myles knew that they’d support him like they always did.
Galdine, Donte’s mother, on the other hand, was more of a hard ass. Myles remembered Donte telling him stories about how Galdine whooped Donte’s ass because Donte took the wrong bus home from school and was thirty minutes late coming home.
As a single mom, Galdine busted her ass to keep Donte out of trouble. Up until he moved out and went to college, the big three, ‘lekòl, legliz, et lakay’ were the only three places Donte ever went. If it wasn’t his own house, church, school, or the store, so technically four places, then Donte wasn’t going. Sleepovers? For what, Donte had his own bed, the mall? They didn’t have money for that, and on and on. Donte had to beg his mother before Galdine eased up and started letting him go out with Myles and his friends.
The first time Myles went over to Donte’s to pick him up, Myles made sure to go in and say hi. Myles got to talking with Galdine, and when she found out his parents were also from Haiti, Myles introduced them, and Rose and Johnny assured Galdine that their son was a good kid.
But when Myles and Donte told their parents they were dropping out of college to start their production company, they were split. Johnny thought it was a great idea, he’d always been a fan of the two men’s films and supported them whole heartily. Whereas Rose was on the fence about it and Galdine absolutely hated the idea. She told Donte and Myles that they were insane, that they were throwing all their hard work away. Galdine was so pissed she didn’t speak to Rose, Johnny, or either of the boys for weeks. Eventually, when she saw that Donte wasn’t going to go back to school, she gave him four years. In four years if filmmaking didn’t amount to anything, she was making him go back, and she’d be picking his major this time.
It only took two and a half years for the Port Prince YouTube channel to take off, and soon Myles and Donte were hiring actors and being mentored by other filmmakers further along in their careers.
The days of busting their asses in Myles’s basement, making films and learning about the business side of filmmaking, felt miles away from where Myles, Donte, and the company were today.
Sitting down at his computer, Myles opened up his inbox, and began making his way through emails. While Myles wasn’t and hadn’t ever been the biggest fan of the admin side of running a production company, phone calls, meetings, and emails were how they kept the lights on and were able to keep making their films.
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