On Friday, December 1st, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful creative from the Bronx, Josue Caceres.
Fortunately, we had the opportunity of shooting BXTRA at the Bronx Native store located in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The shop had been open for only two months, but the managers : Amaurys Grullon, Roselyn Grullon, and Josue Caceres have managed to make it hip and vibrant.
Our meeting kicked off with a one-minute warm-up segment. The short clip gives viewers a chance to have a brief introduction before the interview starts. The goal of one-minute warm-up is for the audience to be able to engage and relate with the guest.
Perhaps some, like me, could relate to being raised on the Grand Concourse. Maybe others could relate to attending Fannie Lou Hamer High School or having Instagram as their social media of choice. Either way, Josue revealed that he is very well-rounded and so it might be hard not to connect with him.
Although Josue published two books and several other written works, it wasn’t until he was in college that he realized that he had a talent. After writing poetry pieces that people related to, he considered himself to be a writer. At a young age, Josue was able to find his niche, something that may take years for others to find. However, following his passion for writing still had its challenges.
“In the Bronx especially, the arts is not really seen as a career path,” said Josue. ” We’re told to choose a smart career path…they don’t really focus on doing things for a good cause.”
When discussing why this could be, we both agreed that money is a factor. Unfortunately, people do have the mentality of measuring the legitimacy of your career in the amount of money. As writers, we know this not to be the truth, however, it can be discouraging to hear and at times can make us question whether or not we are doing the right thing.
The author whose work has been published with the Bronx Community College and in other collegiate sources said, “it’s a struggle because you’re kind of freelancing and you have to keep creating…keep pushing the right message, said Josue. “Being a writer is extremely difficult, having a blank page in front of you can be intimidating.”
Despite the challenges, Josue managed to publish two books. The first is called, “Out of Place.” The poetry book is a series of pieces that relates around one theme : wanting more but not realizing you have everything you need.
The second book, which is to be published in early 2018 discusses the issue of male dominance in his society. The book is told from a more personal perspective as he reflects on how he was raised by his mother and grandmother who can be seen on the cover of the book.
Josue’s creative outlet is not only limited to writing, he also does photography for the clothing line, the Bronx Native and freelances for a local media company. He also has background in videography, in which Josue produced a short film called, ” View Finder.” The short film discusses the very real effects of depression and other forms of mental illness. Josue admitted that he knows of people who suffer from mental illness which inspired him to use his talents to spread more awareness on the issue.
“There’s a lot of issues in the Bronx that we don’t talk about, ” Josue said.
Among those issues are Black Lives Matter and displacement in [poor] communities according to Josue. He hopes to broaden his platform and keep creating not only for the several causes that he mentioned, but also for a particular audience…the Bronx, and places like the Bronx.
“Growing up, most of the books and films that I read or saw…I didn’t really see people who look like us. I didn’t see our stories being told,” said Josue. ” We need people who look like us to tell our stories.”
We both agreed that writing is not an easy task and can be a daunting career to take on. Jouse has a message for those who are considering a profession in the creative field.
” The advice I have for people is to work harder than anyone else. When everyone else is not working, that’s when you should be working. Chase your passions…not the money.”
To see the entire interview with Josue Caceres, click the video below.