Black Woman Filmmaker Defies Stereotypes

Writer/Director Najaa Young Goes Hard In Bold New Indie Film Blood First
Poster for Blood First
Poster for Blood First
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Urban Film
Black Women In Film


Los Angeles - California - US

LOS ANGELES - Feb. 13, 2014 - PRLog -- Growing up with three younger brothers in Cleveland, OH writer/director Najaa Young found herself constantly thrust into impromptu Kung Fu fights, rap battles and arm wrestling contests. “Growing up with three brothers was challenging… there I was very girly, somewhat bashful and very bookish with three, loud, boisterous brothers. Our parents had their hands full trying to find things for us to do as a family.” One way Najaa’s parents found to connect the family was thru film. “We watched movies like Rambo, Rocky, Legend and Breakin’ along with documentaries. My dad took us to see the fun stuff and our mom insisted on the social and historical films like Eyes on the Prize and Chaka Zulu." She laughs, "There weren’t many romantic comedies being shown in our household. “ It’s these experiences that inspired Najaa to become the eclectic filmmaker that she is today.

This year NaRa Films, which Najaa co-founded with business partner Rasheed Jihad, will be releasing two films, the documentary American Africans and the action filled drama Blood First, which they co-produced with O.Y.’s Spotlite Entertainment. Blood First is about two brothers from a tough neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA, who grow up to follow their father’s footsteps into a dangerous life of crime, violence and imprisonment. “One could look at the film like it’s a typical urban drama but it isn’t. The film weaves the past with the present and shows how adults, specifically parents, influence young men to become gangsters by perpetuating negative ideas of what manhood is.” When asked if she will continue to do urban themed films which are often criticized for perpetuating violence in inner city communities Najaa responded, “I am going to continue to do films that interest me. My documentary American Africans is about African Americans reclaiming their African spirituality and identity and couldn’t be more different than Blood First. But, I am proud of Blood First  because it isn't perpetuating violence, it is illustrating and critiquing it. It's gritty and raw like the environment it portrays.“ Blood First also boasts a powerful soundtrack by multiplatinum music producer Drumma Boy and original music by Project Pat, Big KRIT, Turk (of the Hot Boyz), 8 Ball, MJG, Akil Esoon and Emanuel “Manny” DeAnda (former lead singer of Pretty Ricky). As for what’s next for writer/director Najaa Young she says she’s developing a science fiction/fantasy television series about the after life and a film about a diamond heist that is set in Namibia and the United States.

Blood First ( is R Rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and it, along with American Africans, will be released in the summer of 2014. View the trailer for Blood First here:

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Tags:Indie Film, Urban Film, Cleveland, Black Women In Film, Pittsburgh
Industry:Entertainment, Movies
Location:Los Angeles - California - United States
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