Directing duo Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah became fast friends when they met at MTV and later business partners, co-founding Creative Control, a production and talent development company. ‘Coodie & Chike’ made their directorial debut with Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” video in late 2003. Since, they’ve worked with John Legend, Gil Scott Heron, Erykah Badu and many more.
Coodie, a prodigy of Chicago’s South Side, remembers a childhood when he couldn’t go anywhere because there were gangs, the Mickey Cobras and the Black Stone Rangers, and White racists at every corner. Chike, a native of New Orleans, moved to New York after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to start a career in motion design and graphics.
In late 2012, ESPN 30 for 30 Series debuted their documentary Benji, which recalls the tragic act of violence against a talented basketball player, Ben Wilson, who was senselessly murdered in 1984 at age 17 on the streets of South Side, Chicago.
Coodie & Chike share their perspective….
Why is the documentary Benji important for the time we live in?
Chike: Professionally, we have elevated from the ranks of only producing music videos and progressed to feature films. We need to ask executive producers and directors in Hollywood to look at our projects we created and how well we’ve executed them. We are showing you we are capable of producing feature films and executing at a high level. We are going to do it regardless of whether there’s and investment in it and we are going to keep doing it until we do it ourselves. We just want people to see the potential that we have to actually reach our goals of doing feature films.
As creators and critical thinkers, what would you like to ask of the community so we can evolve as one human race?
Coodie: I am asking the community to think before you move and think before you act.
Chike: I am asking the community to pull together, look around each other and help each other out. I think the most important thing a community can do is realize that there’s strength in numbers and figure out a way to come together and help each other out so that everybody can be on top.
Watch an interview with Coodie and Chike here.