Written by G Streat
There’s a lot of talk about storytelling nowadays. Hit up your favorite search engine and you’ll find a plethora of articles, videos and classes from so-called experts peddling their methodology to capture the hearts and minds of the masses. Adept storytellers have a way of suddenly seizing our imaginations, drawing us into their world. The artful use the tone, rhythm and emphasis, suspending our inner cynics while careful stirring the emotions they choose to solicit. Nothing is by accident. Every syllable is a means to an end.
The story of Devin “Egypt” Robinson has just begun. His namesake, the ancient land of Kemet commonly known by its Greek moniker, is a story in itself.
“The story behind Egypt comes from when I was getting my awakening as it pertains to learning about my culture and myself,” says Egypt.
There are varying accounts regarding the origin of the term “Middle East”. A product of colonization, western nations invented so-called “Middle East” to extend their influence. Egypt, like many who understand the subtle yet effective methods of colonization, is having none of it.
“Egypt’s not in the Middle East, that’s not even it’s real name. Egypt is in Africa, it’s where black people are.”
We all know this, just like we know the pirate known as Christopher Columbus didn’t discover a damn thing. Devin couldn’t and wouldn’t let this disrespect to Kemet stand. Adopting the name “Egypt” affords him the opportunity to educate anyone who asks about the origin of his name.
“I want to influence the world like the great African empire Egypt influenced the entire western civilization. So I always have that ready, it’s always in my pocket ready to flip out when people ask me that.”
In a nutshell, that’s Egypt. His ability coupled with his willingness to endure and his devotion to his craft makes this up-and-coming filmmaker one to check for.
Kemet left a legacy of mythic proportions. Egypt intends to follow suit.
“In five to ten years I want to be the first filmmaker to take over Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood.”
To some, ambitions of those proportions may seem unreasonable. To Egypt, those aspirations are just next steps in his journey. He had it rough in his younger days. Instead of being stopped by his past, Egypt uses the difficulty he faced as a child to propel him forward.
“After my mom passed away and my dad abandoned me, the biggest thing was to not let my sister down because she was the one who took over the reins and I didn’t want to let her down. I didn’t want to ever have her regret investing her life and sacrificing her youth to take care of me because I amounted to nothing.”
The meteoric success of Marvel’s Black Panther has disrupted the narrative that stories featuring actresses and actors of the diaspora don’t sell. Even before the world flooded theatres to support this latest and greatest showing of black excellence, Egypt has been on a mission to produce epic films of this magnitude.
“You can look at Lord of The Rings and you don’t even notice that there were literally no black people in the entire story. But I’m black, I watched it. A bunch of my black friends watched it. We all watched it and we didn’t even think about it.”
“You didn’t feel like white people were trying to make a revolutionary point when you watched Lord of The Rings…you were just happy that X, Y and Z happened, right? That’s what I want in my films. [I want] people to be excited that it’s just a great film. So what it was all black people! So what?!”
Exuding enthusiasm and conviction, Egypt’s films to be are his pride and joy. As he speaks, it’s so easy to step into his world. One where the conversation about an all black cast and crew is mute, just as it is now for the myriad of Caucasian dominated films devoid of one black or brown face.
“I want to be the person that does that. I want to be the person that creates that narrative and makes billions of dollars doing it and I [want to] inspire millions of filmmakers to do the same thing.”
We’re here for it.
The idea of black empowerment is often scary to our counterparts. Perhaps they think black empowerment equals the exclusion of everyone else. How ironic. That isn’t Egypt’s agenda though. He’s a true humanist at heart. His vision of the film industry is indeed inclusive.
“Even white directors and producers, I want them to cast all black people in their films for everybody, not just a Black Panther film.”
That would be something.
In 2017, Egypt’s grind took him to Amman, Jordan. With his all of belongings lost by the airline he traveled with, Egypt took the stage in the same clothes he flew in. Unfazed, he stepped up and handled business. Having done this thing worldwide in Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Doha, Barbados, Joburg, delivering a phenomenal speech at his TEDx Talk was just another day in the life.
For Egypt, his adventure in Jordan was about “taking advantage of an opportunity and risking the known.”
In addition to TEDx, Egypt has been featured on MTV, at the world-famous Apollo Theatre and National Public Radio. Egypt’s passion for HIV education also led to a partnership with BET.
“Google me, google my name and the word HIV, a lot stuff is gonna pop up.” When the man gets focused and takes aim, it’s over. Unhappy with the lack of impactful HIV education, Egypt did what he always does, create.
“I started seeing an epidemic. No one’s seeing this. I’m gonna do something about it.”
Providing HIV education resources at his high school in South Florida, creating a national conference called Aids Awareness Poets Week and the Aids Games eventually led to Egypt’s collaboration with BET. The resulting show, “Pos or Not”, rekindled a much needed conversation around HIV.
“It flips the script on what we perceive to be reality.”
Never one to bite his tongue, Egypt dropped a gem we all would do well to be mindful of, especially in today’s political climate.
“What I’m saying is common sense. And when saying common sense becomes revolutionary then there’s a problem.”
True story Egypt, true story.
It stands to reason that an adept filmmaker’s account of his own story would be unforgettable. Egypt did not disappoint. Brazen in his approach, visionary with his goals, disinterested in the status quo and unapologetically black, Devin “Egypt” Robinson is unstoppable.
“Nobody knows what you didn’t do. Nobody knows what you tried to do.”
Can’t argue with that.
Nobody can predict the future. But, with his current trajectory, it doesn’t look like obscurity is in the cards for Devin “Egypt” Robinson.
We’re betting on that.
To view more of Egypt's work, visit his website www.WebsiteOfEgypt.com