Growing up, I was exposed to the nerd culture and the comic book universe through my brother. We would watch the X-men cartoon on saturday mornings while enjoying a big bowl of cereal. Later on I began to discover other cartoons such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh. My dad would travel to Japan for work a few times out the year and when he came home, he would always gift me holographic pokemon cards that he picked up while traveling. I actually still have them to this day. I was always fascinated by the stories, the visuals, the action, but I think the thing that really caught my attention about comic books, was the underlying theme of the underdog fighting through adversity and coming out on top.
When I was growing up, geek culture wasn’t seen as cool, especially if you were a black kid. It’s funny though because the people that made comments were the same people who loved Dragonballz so it was kinda of contradictory. As I finished middle school and transitioned into my teen years, I really didn’t talk about comicbooks or anything, and just focused on basketball, which was another passion of mine at the time.
If you ask anybody I know, they’ll tell you I was always on my phone or another electronic device. I always got “You need to get off that phone and pay attention” or “You’re addicted to that phone”. I was always interested in devices and the latest tech. I kept up with the latest news and new all the tips and tricks to all my devices. I was so fascinated in how tech was evolving and changing.
When I graduated high-school, I got a scholarship to play basketball at small christian school in Waxahachie. Yeah, I didn’t know where Waxahachie was when I first heard the name either. Its like on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas. I only went there to play basketball, but the environment wasn’t really for me. I love Jesus by the way. I ended up transferring to Texas State University. Go bobcats. Once I transferred, I decided to just focus on school and chill with the basketball. I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do professionally, but at the time it really wasn’t a concern because I was just happy to be out of the strict environment that I was in. It felt like I was starting my first semester of college all over again but in a good way. My grades wouldn’t agree with that.
My Sophomore year of school is when I actually started to focus on what I was wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to do something with digital media, because I had a knack for it and I enjoyed it. This was around the time social media influencers really started to emerge and blow up. I signed up for a class called Fundamentals of Digital Media #FDOM that gave you the basic tools on how to succeed in this new digital media landscape. We were assigned a semester long project that required us to create a blog and produce content that was specific to a topic of our choosing.S/o to my professor Jon Zmikly. I did a video with him about the importance of Social media. Check it out. When choosing my topic, I wanted it to be something I wouldn’t be bored with. My first thought was comic books and nerd culture, but I was hesitant because I didn’t know if it’d be perceived as cool. Then I remembered that I’m in college and nobody cares what you’re into as long as you don’t bother them. I decided that comic books and anything geek related would be the topic. I wrote movie reviews, Fancast, explained the comic book origins for upcoming movies and a lot more. The last assignment was to create a video that related to our topic and thus “Agent Dorian” was born, a Youtube channel dedicated to all comic book related things! I realized I enjoyed making videos and it was weird because in person, I’m pretty quiet and laid back but In front of the camera I was cool.
I started gaining followers and subscribers and was very active in the online geek community, and was able to add my thoughts while still listening to other people’s opinions. I realized that there weren’t a lot of people of color doing what I was doing so my friend and I, Brandon Sooknanan, who I met through social media, created the organization Geeks of Color. The original intention was to help promote upcoming comic book movies and create a safe space for people of color to geek out without feeling judged. About 7 months in we realized we were growing really fast and that we really had to use our platform to make a change. I took a step-back and approached it how I would approach my own blog. My goal was to make Geeks of Color an inclusive space for people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy, discuss, and educate themselves on what most people would consider, right now, the golden age of comic book movies.
As we grew so did the team. We eventually had a team of amazing writers and graphic designers! We then started covering news and expanded the team to included awesome news reporters. Our goal this year is to cover more music because we feel like there are a lot of undiscovered artist that need some love. Without my team I wouldn’t be here, Love you guys!
My junior year I was interested in learning more about video production and editing. In my advising appointment, they suggested I become a theater minor, which threw me off but after she explained some of the classes I would take would benefit me in the long run. I took directing and editing for film classes, and also took a few writing for TV classes. Up until then, I never really pictured myself as a storyteller or someone who could write a script, but once I took the class, I looked back at everything I had been creating on my YouTube channel and realized I was creating stories the whole time. My videos weren’t exactly TV shows but they were still my ideas coming to the screen. My confidence really shot up and I combined that with my creativity. I ended writing a script for a show idea I created. I’ll show you the show idea one day.
While still growing my personal brand and GOC’s brand, I applied for quite a few internships. I was struggling a bit with landing internships, but my friend who is also part of the GOC fam, Dre, suggested I apply for the Television Academy Foundation program. I didn’t want to at first, but I figured the worst they could say was no, so I decided to apply. I already had regret of not playing college basketball, so I know how it felt and didn’t want to experience that feeling again. About a month after I applied, I was told I was a finalist for my category and that I would have to make a video answering some questions. There weren’t too many requirements so I thought this would be a good opportunity to really showcase what I’ve learned from my writing and editing classes. You can check out the video here and if you’re a college student interested in working in the industry, you should check out the foundation internship program! I found out I got the internship in May and had to move out to Los Angeles, California. Through the foundation program I was placed at the entertainment company STARZ.
It was a life changing experience and the team I worked with really made me feel valued. They also wanted to make sure I learned what it takes to run successful marketing campaigns in the entertainment industry. I was even fortunate enough to go to a few different events with the team such as the Emmys.
Once my internship with STARZ and the Television Academy ended, I landed an internship with the media company, Soulpancake, founded by Rainn Wilson aka Dwight from the office. It was kind of ironic because right before i got the internship, I changed my twitter handle to @dorianparksnrec which was influenced by the show ‘Parks and Recreation’! I was their Social Media and Content Curation intern for a few months. They had an amazing team and they were extremely welcoming to me and the other interns. The team treated each other like family and it was nice to see that in such a successful company. The biggest thing I took away from that internship was how the manager, Shabnam Mogharabi ran the company. She was so kind, but she also had a presence about her that was powerful but not intimidating. You wanted to respect her because she didn’t talk at you but to you and even though she was extremely busy, she would also make sure to say hi anytime she passed by. From then on, I knew that’s the kind of boss I wanted to be.
I was then a research assistant for the Television Academy Foundation Program. It was pretty cool because I went from interning for the academy to working at the Academy. That could be a lyric. *Drop the beat*! I had the incredible opportunity to be CBS’s Diversity Entertainment intern! I assisted with all CBS Entertainment Diversity Initiatives (CBS On Tour, Diversity Comedy Showcase, Writers Mentoring Program, Directing Initiative, Daytime Casting and Directing Initiative). I felt like this internship would be the perfect match for me because I became extremely passionate about advocating for diversity and inclusion and knew with my ideas and platform, I could be a great asset to the team. The team is great and it was so awesome working with like-minded people who want to make the entertainment industry more inclusive. Shout out to my manager, Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i!
For two years I was the social media manager & video host at Collider. Collider is an entertainment website and YouTube channel. Getting to work for an entertainment company I grew up watching was so surreal.
That’s pretty much my life. My ultimate goal is turning Geeks of Color into the premier network for comic book content, pop culture, music and education. I want writers, videographers, editors, and designers ready immediately in a big office in California. At first, I never thought it would be like this, but since seeing the amount of support and the following we have, I thought, ‘Why settle here?’ I’m going to keep aiming for what I believe in. In our first few years, we’ve developed such a strong following and fan base that the sky has become the limit and it’s such an amazing feeling to see that people appreciate us.