What would the world be without the talented people who tell the stories of so many through the artistic medium of film; documentaries and movies? Hoppy Hopkinson is such a creative who started as a Computer Engineer, and then later transitioned to Directing, and spent his life traveling the world in search of profound stories to bring to life on screen. Hoppy has worked with some of the most respected actors in Hollywood, such as Susan Sarandon, Al Sapienza, Constance Wu and Jimmy Jean-louis to name a few. We have recently been introduced to Hoppy and it is incredibly refreshing to meet a true filmmaker with genuine purpose and motivation to tell the stories of people in need through his production company – Planet Whoa Media. Read on to be inspired by this BLK BOSS.
You were in a corporate setting before getting into multimedia, how did this transition occur?
The question is not easy to answer. Many of us search for years looking for meaning. We attempt to grow and change as we head in the direction, we see our life taking us.
At an early age I noticed my passion was traveling and experiencing the world from the eyes of locals, but even more important was telling their stories. I have traveled to over 150 cities and 40+ countries in the world.
How important is a good team to the success of your projects and business?
I established my production company Planet Whoa Media to showcase diverse stories, provide real impetus for change, and represent inspiring communities around the world. My company is supported by amazing people that I have the opportunity to be working with every day. “No man is an island, entire of itself” we are all piece of the world. Case and point my righthand woman, producer Daphne Magna, is a biracial, multicultural powerhouse who travels extensively and has a deep understanding of the biases and privileges on both sides of racism and human rights issues.
What would your dream project look like?
Traveling and telling your story!! It’s my passion. More than anything, I enjoy seeing talented people do what they do well. Directing is about collaboration—the production, the costuming, the script, the actors. I love it. It brings me joy. I’m blessed to be able to be a storyteller. I want to be the Obama of my time when I grow up!
What is the biggest joy in being a BLK BOSS?
First, I’m a human being. I love my work but directing is what I do; it’s not my identity. I’m just an ordinary person who has an extraordinary job. For me, I believe my calling is to help people, and I happen to be able to help them tell their stories. I do my best directing when I’m learning something new from my subjects and sharing it with others.
I learned to write down my daily experiences in a series of soul-searching letters to myself. They were characterized by strength, faith, and determination, and provided my inspiration for many years.
Who is Hoppy?
A Computer Engineer, Director, Producer, storyteller and student of life.
My mother encouraged me to follow my dreams and respect and love everyone – part of my Christian upbringing. My parents were very strict about education. Their strictness was beneficial in my education and sports allowing me to represent my country at a junior level in tennis, and greatly shaped the person I am today. After I graduated from school with a degree in Engineering, I started my career at a few of Canada’s top firms. Deloitte Consulting, Mount Sinai hospital, Compaq Canada, HP Canada, IBM Canada, Toronto Pearson Airport, University Health Network, Infrastructure Ontario just to name a few.
How do you choose your media projects?
My focus is on empowering people of color, creating change, telling stories, and removing anti- black systemic barriers that are negatively affecting the lives of people of color around the world.
I believe having positive people in my inner circle builds positive attributes in my projects so I am thoughtful about who I work with and the values that we build our stories on.
Absolutely not!! Moving from corporate to media was one of my biggest successes, as it got me over the things that have tried to destroy me in this life, the rat race, stepping on toes to be successful, wearing the monkey suit every day, caring too much about money and not spending enough time with family -just burn out, working for the MAN. Those are my biggest successes. It has nothing to do with work because it’s not.
You walk into a room and you are noticed, how do you use this to your advantage?
By listening to someone’s heartbeat and using it to create a positive outcome. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Bible, Luke 12:34) I get to build relationships that may be hard for others. I guess people are curious about me, I can be loud and funny.
What keeps you going?
I read Maya Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. It transformed my outlook. I had never before read a book that validated my own existence. Now I want to own everything that I produce. Ownership is key. I want to turn on the TV/social media and see more people of color and get positive reinforcement.