My name is Alfred Jamal Peters.
Born and raised in New Rochelle, NY.
Son of Alfred and Jennifer Peters.
Brother to Jasmine Peters.
Lover of creation and evolution.
Creative and forever student.
Fresh out of college, I didn't have any idea of what I wanted to do. I met some really cool creative people and was offered a job in a vault working as a messenger at Company 3. This was the jump start of my career. I may have been a messenger, but it gave me access to the building. I was there all the time, observing my coworkers. To my delight I was introduced into a world of color correction and video editing: a world I didn't know existed. I took an interest in editing and from there began to study the editors in the office. I took tons of notes and asked many questions. At night, I’d go home and watch YouTube tutorials until I fell asleep. Eventually, I landed myself a job as an assistant editor.
At the time, editing and photography felt like the only thing I was doing that didn't feel like I was working. This was how I knew I wanted to pursue this as a career. The idea of doing something you don't love for the rest of your life is an idea that haunts me. As someone who was committed to basketball throughout my life and into college, I understood what it meant to love what you do. Waking up everyday to pursue a passion is so much more rewarding and all the easier. Working in this field was always a no brainer for me. It never felt like work.
One of the main obstacles for me early on was just fitting in. I work in a field where 95% of the time, I’m the minority. Always trying to convince people that I belong became something I got accustomed to. When editing in front of clients you have to be on point and know what you're doing especially in the commercial world, and especially as a black editor. It forced me to become refined at my craft and to find my confidence in my abilities. At first it was scary and daunting but the more I got through it, the more confident I became.
There's a lot of pressure being a black creative.
A lot of what inspires us to create are the negative things around us. That in itself applies a lot of pressure. For a lot of black creatives, you want the world to take notice of the things that are happening in your community that most people in this country don’t think exist. Black creatives are imperative to our evolution as a community and society. They quickly remind us of our brilliance and thus continue to reshape the world.
My advice to up and coming creatives is to always stay the course. If you are doing something that you truly love, you will never lose. I’d tell them that, if your intentions are pure, things will align. I really believe that the energy you put out there will come back to you. That's what I live by. And that has guided me to where I am now.
Doja Cat - Billboard Music Awards 2020
In the last year, 2020, I’ve lived in three different states: New York, Florida and currently Los Angeles. I had the chance to experience so many different environments. Creatively, it was a dream. I was able to experience and see things I wouldn’t normally see had I been in New York City. I spent most days outside under a tree with a book and my camera. It was bliss! The greatest gift from last year was time. Free time. Time that was not attached to any obligations. This absorbent amount of free time gave me a chance to focus inward on the passions I had and the things I wanted to create. Time slowed down and gave me the chance to catch up. This last year gave me the opportunity to create and direct a personal project. Which led me to co-found Jasper Seven, my very own production company. Time has been my biggest impact.
Currently I’m working heavily with Doja Cat capturing important moments in her career as well as Arin Ray, VanJess & Amir Obe. Being a witness to the process has been so rewarding. I’ve bared witness to the true meaning of collaboration and teamwork. My experiences with these artists inspire me to continue cultivating my voice as a creative. Over quarantine, I started working on my first independent project; a documentary focused on my community in New Rochelle, NY. The documentary centers around the death of Kamal Flowers and the two opposing viewpoints of the community. One side believed it was justified and the other felt like it was murder.
New Rochelle Doc - American Boy, New Rochelle, NY 2020 | New Rochelle Doc 2 - Henderson's Grief, New Rochelle, NY 2020
What inspired me to capture this story was everything happening around me at the time. George Floyd had been murdered 12 days prior. At this point the whole world was up in arms. When I heard the news that a young man from my community was murdered and it did not receive national news, I felt inclined to document what was going on. This was my way to share proof that black men are being murdered a lot more than you think. Not every story goes viral. Ultimately, I hope this documentary allows us to come together and view reality through the same lense.
When I hear ‘Celebration with Intention’, I am brought back to 2020. 2020 was the year that I believe we all practiced the concept of ‘Celebration with Intention’. Because we were confined to our living quarters, we were forced to set our own intentions every single day. Some days were better than others but nonetheless, everyday we were in charge of our intentions. I believe that everyday we wake up is a reason to celebrate that day. I hope that as 2021 begins to brighten we continue to celebrate with intention and pursue purpose.
Gordan Parks - Boy with June Bug, Fort Scott, Kansas 1963
Gordon Parks, Shawn Peters and Malcolm X are three major inspirations to me. Gordon Parks is an inspiration for me because there were no limits to what he created. Whether it be directing, photography or composing, he was a true creative. Cinematographer Shawn Peters is another inspiration of mine. Shawn Peters is my cousin who I watched from an early age rise up as a respected Director of Photography. Seeing his creativity take him around the world was truly inspiring to me as a young man. Anyone who knows me knows that Malcom X is a major inspiration in my life. Learning about Malcolm X instilled the importance of self knowledge. Because of him I’ve stayed curious.
If you would have told me five years ago that I would be here, I wouldn't have believed you. That's the joy of life. With all we went through last year, I’m not sure I could tell you where I’ll be in the future. Right now, I’m in good health and spirit and for me that's most important. Where do I see myself in 5 years? All I hope is that I’m healthy, happy, still running around with a camera enjoying life without limitations.
Arin Ray - Vevo Performance 2019
Being a Creative is difficult work but it is important work. The support is what pushes us to continue sharing our work and this is what keeps us going—especially during these difficult times. If there’s an artist you admire, go follow them so you can continue to admire their work. Tell them you appreciate their work. If you’re able to, purchase their work or hire them for a project. These are the simplest ways you can support the community at large.
To all of the black creatives… Don’t let up. You are powerful!
Connect with Jamal:
www.jamalpeters.net | Instagram
Want to get to know Jamal even better? Lucky for you, we roped him into doing a livestream interview with us… Just for you! Register for the Livestream today–it takes place on Monday, February 8th at 7PM EST!
And while you’re at it, you might as well register for Ashley-Simone, Thomcat23, or Polly’s livestream session too! We’ll be celebrating all month long and we can’t wait to see you there.