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She left Birmingham for the entertainment industry and now wants to make sure no one else needs to

This is the opinion section.

She is still that little girl on the couch. On the sofa at the waist end. Christena Hatcher was an only child. Leonard, her father, and an entrepreneur are committed to building a legacy for his family at his car service center. And now it’s been open for over 40 years. Her mother, corporate accountant Patricia, was polished at the push of her button.

Christena spent a lot of time on the couch. She has a lot of time to look at the world. A world that transcends her family and the people around her. Beyond her street. Beyond the waist end. Beyond Birmingham.

A world full of beauty and beasts, a small mermaid. A fantastic world full of colors.

A world full of culture and tradition. A family celebrating a holiday, a family of two parents like Cosby. “I know it’s controversial now, but it was a black family unit,” she recalls now (Christina’s parents divorced when her daughter was young). The couple loved each other and did things together. “

A world where young women, young black women and girlfriends live together and aspire. “A black career woman goes through different stages of her life,” she says. “I have different personalities and styles and work together.”

The world over there. Spain. Jamaica. Beyond. “I sat on the couch and traveled to all these tropical places,” says Hatcher. “It only brightened me.”

She is still the girl sitting on the couch at the age of 37 today.Only now, her sofa teeth world. Hatcher chased her world that fixed her. She entered the entertainment industry shortly after graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in criminal justice, and she was committed to becoming an entertainment lawyer. Something she didn’t think was possible in her hometown.

“Unfortunately, at the time, I hadn’t seen a way to pursue business opportunities in entertainment within Birmingham,” she says. “So I felt:” Let’s try my luck with it at one of the entertainment meccas. “I moved to LA for $ 300 in my name. I don’t recommend it. But sometimes you have to step into faith, and to me it was such a blessing and it was rewarded. “

Not exactly what she originally planned. After enduring more fruitless interviews than she remembers (“70+” is her best guess), Hatcher finds himself interviewing at Warner Bros for an executive assistant position. (“I didn’t know what I was doing”). “It happened that the hiring director was a black woman,” she recalls. “I saw myself in her. It clicked for me. I said,” I actually shaped and curated what these companies look like from people’s point of view, and my You can have the opportunity to give people access to the opportunity. ” It changed everything for me. “

I changed my plan. But it’s not the purpose. It changed course, avoiding Hatcher from becoming an entertainment lawyer, and ignited a journey after being promoted to become Netflix’s Talent Acquisition and People Strategist and Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Advocate. She returns to Birmingham this week (not living, much to the disappointment of Leonard and Patricia) to make sure that other young people in her hometown are eager to sit on their couch and join the entertainment arena. You don’t have to leave Birmingham to do so.

“What if they didn’t have to leave?” Hatcher asks. “What if they could stay in the city and pursue a career?”

Hatcher, senior vice president of television production and development for Endeavor Content, a global film and television company, and Eric Pertila, an industry colleague, are designed to expose local youth to entertainment industry opportunities this week. A three-day event brought Hollywood to the city. The focus is on comics and movies.

In collaboration with Birmingham-based non-profit organization The Flourish Alabama, a storytelling education at AG Gaston this afternoon (Thursday 4:45 pm to 6:45 pm) involving young artists of southern colours. Hold a meeting. Boys and Girls Club. The event will feature hip-hop artist and writer Seven Rich, musician Derrick Lily, artist poet Sean Judah, and writer Tania de Sean.

On Saturday, Oscar and Emmy Award-winning comedy and filmmaker Trabon Free, Marvel Toy Designer David Bonner, Marvel Black Panther Comic Editor Chris Robinson, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Comic Illustrator Tony Washington, Composer (“Judah and Black Messiah”), rapper, producer and musical artist Quelle Chris will focus on the entire Community Day (10 am-9:30pm) at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

From northern New York, Pertilla said: ) Those who are usually excluded from the endless creative career opportunities that exist in the entertainment industry. “

“You can start painting and realize that it’s a career. Ultimately, you can work for Marvel, Tapas Media, or one of these major companies, and then build your career,” Hatcher said. say.

Hollywood comic books and entertainment tycoons have arrived in Birmingham to expose the industry to young people.

Perilla calls his vision Create Hubs. It is an anchor that allows young people to develop their creative passion. “Supporting the growth of this next-generation leader intersects what I do from a recruitment perspective,” says Hatcher.

The collaboration in Birmingham began when Hatcher told Perilla that it was the perfect idea for her hometown. She called her father, who contacted Lisa Cooper, a director of the Birmingham Executive Resource Center. Her father immediately contacted Executive Director Bob Dickerson. Hatcher was surprised that the city she left behind was suddenly moving at the speed of light towards new ideas.

The speed of light that guarantees Hatcher and Peltila that one weekend in Birmingham can be more than a wonder.

“That’s normal, isn’t it?” Hatcher asks. “Someone from Hollywood or any of these industries does not provide the infrastructure to come in, hold a big flashy event, and then leave to support what they are doing in the long run. , That’s sad. It’s cheap, it’s stale. “

“We want to ensure sustainability, emphasize the curriculum, get feedback from educators and expand the work of organizations doing great work across the city of Birmingham,” Hatcher continued. increase.

And family. Hatcher and Leonard took several years to repair their relationship after his only daughter went west. It broke his heart, he told her. He missed her.

“Our relationship was probably tense for the first two years,” says Hatcher. “When I told him clearly why I couldn’t do that in Alabama, he didn’t understand how I would build a career in this area. Once he started seeing my progress, we would Much better. There are moments of discomfort you push through for greater benefit. “

Beyond the thriving Alabama, Hatcher screams at Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaboration, which has worked with young people in the city in the field of arts, including Ramsey High School. She noticed that some groups didn’t even know what similar groups were doing,

“They are doing poetry workshops, but recently released a music video to teach students the process,” she said. “They have done a great job in the creative realm of the city.

“We’re talking to some of the community leaders, but they haven’t heard of The Flourish, so I’m from here, but yeah, we’re two from Los Angeles, Birmingham. We talk to our community and connect community leaders who don’t necessarily know each other. That’s what we’re here for. We want to make connections between people who are already doing great work. “

Ultimately, CreateHub may be based on Birmingham, Peltila, and Hatcher tips.

“I’m still a kid to be honest in my heart,” says Hatcher. “That’s why the entertainment industry sympathizes with me and feels that’s what I’m looking for.”[ResonateswithmesomuchandwhyIfeellikethat’swhatI’mcalledtodo] [resonateswithmesomuchandwhyIfeellikethat’swhatI’mcalledtodo”

Called by Get used toTo see myself in her, for other Birmingham kids.

“It’s very friendly,” she says. “If you don’t have to pay, I love this piece. Literally, it just helps early career talents pursue their dreams and enter the entertainment industry.”

Wherever their couch sits.

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Roy S. Johnson is a finalist in the 2021 Pulitzer Prize commentary award and won the 2021 Edward R. Morrow Award for his podcast “Injustice” co-sponsored by John Archibald.His column is with The Birmingham News, And Huntsville Times, mobile press registration.To reach him with rjohnson@al.comFollow him in on Instagram @roysj..