Thursday, January 6, 2011

Devil In New Dress Video, Through Yonie's Eyes

So like many of you all out there I am a huge fan of Kanye's latest project "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy".   There is of course a few songs that I i leave on repeat, one of them happens to be "Devil In A New Dress". This song has a few meanings, to me at the core i think of Ye being with a woman that he knew was trouble. But against his better judgement he cosigns with the sexual appeal and confidence she exhibits, come to find out she proves to him exactly what he suspected and he is back to square one. 

Now the video was produced by an up and comer in the new generation of producers, not Kanye. Even though I imagine that he would love the direction it went in. The colossal mind that created this epic visual  is Yonie, He reps the West Coast and i got a chance to talk to him on how he came up with the concept for the video and how he knows the knockout that stars in it (Helen). . .

Hows life?
Life is beautiful. I'm blessed to be able to be pursuing my dreams. Although I'm still a ways away from achieving my many objectives, the difficult journey will only make the accomplishments that much more fulfilling.  

Where are you from?
Born and raised in Seattle, WA but I'm a 1st generation Ethiopian-American. 

What exactly do you do?
I'm an actor/writer/producer/director/editor and spoken word poet. I like to be in control of the projects I work on so I think that's why I tend to always want to familiarize myself with the various facets of the entertainment business.

How long has this been your passion?
Since as long as I can remember I've aspired to act and entertain for a living. Growing up, I always pictured myself eventually working in TV/Film.  After moving to LA in 2005 and being able to witness first hand the number of people that attempt and fail to make it in Hollywood, I realized that the only way I would succeed would be by taking matters into my own hands by creating and executing my own projects completely independent. 

How did you get into casting?
I signed up to be an extra in a music video when I first got to LA. Once I got to set I started shaking hands and asking questions. I found out who was in charge and said I'd work for free. A month later, as a casting director, I put myself in the first video that I had an actual cameo in 112's "WHAT IF"

What inspired you into doing your own thing?
I've always been the type to go after what I want despite nay-sayers. The entertainment industry was no different. It's very difficult to break into the industry as an actor or director or producer. But I'm too impatient to be patient. The thought of success inspired me to do my own thing.

Was this your first music video?
This was the first video I ever created, wrote, directed, produced and edited. But I used to cast music videos for all the major pop artists (50 Cent, Destiny's Child, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, T.I., etc) so I gained a lot of experience from working on  video sets.

How did the idea for the video come about?
I've been a fan of Kanye since his first album. When I heard the song DEVIL IN A NEW DRESS, like many others, I thought it was dope. For the past year I have been honing my editing and directing skills. 2 weeks ago I just randomly thought "I wanna shoot something tomorrow." So I called Helen (the lead) and while talking to her about shooting a video the idea just came to me. I didn't write out the treatment nor did I create a shot list. I shot the video literally a day after conception. 

Who did the casting?
I did the casting myself. 

Who was the lead in the video?
The lead is a childhood friend of mine, Helen "Honeydip" Gedlu.  She's a professional dancer who's been on world tours with Chris Brown and Mariah Carey to name a few. Very talented.

We shot the whole thing in 14 hours in Downtown Seattle.

Will there be more from kanye's album?
Maybe. I have so many ideas so it just depends on what I'm inspired to do when the time comes.

What other projects do you have right now?
I have a movie I'm finishing up production on called AN ETHIOPIAN LOVE. We shot in LA, Seattle and Ethiopia. It's a romantic comedy starring myself and Helen. I'm also directing, producing  and editing. Very independent but you won't be able to tell that once you watch it.  I also have another movie I'm a producer on called THE HEART SPECIALIST coming out Jan. 14th in theaters nationwide.

What should people expect from you in 2011?
Early 2011 - THE HEART SPECIALIST starring Zoe Saldana (AVATAR), Brian White (STOMP THE YARD), Wood Harris (THE WIRE), the singer Mya and more. Jan. 14th nationwide.

Summer 2011 - AN ETHIOPIAN LOVE starring myself and Helen "Honeydip" Gedlu.

Fall 2011 - SUNSET BLVD tv series. You can watch the trailer at

And throughout the year, music videos, comedy sketches, short films.

Where can people check you out?

Are you on twitter?
yep. @yonie916

What do you hope to have accomplished in the next 5 years?
I'll have movies, tv shows and an album under my belt. I'll be a unique international media mogul by fusing the hidden gems of Africa (what they DON'T show you on TV) with mainstream pop culture.

DEVIL from on Vimeo.

Shout out to Yonie for giving me a minute to do the interview and keep doing your thing. Being Ethiopian myself I am proud to see my people working hard to make an impact in todays media. Right on my brotha !!

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