Brief Spotlight: Kwesi Jones ’21

Kwesi Jones ’21
Mike Lovett
Kwesi Jones ’21

Hometown: Atlanta.

Studies: Double major in African and African American studies, and film, television and interactive media.

Career plans: Screenwriting and filmmaking.

Motto: “Ubuntu: I am because we are.”

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“I believe all people are creative,” says Kwesi Jones ’21. “My life path has really been to home in on the creative aspect in myself.”

His inspiration? The 20th-century masters Pablo Picasso and Jacob Lawrence, both known for their cubist paintings, featuring vivid colors and dynamic geometric shapes.

Jones draws and paints, writes poems, slams poems, acts in an improv group, watches and critiques all genres of cinema and television, and emcees student events. But his greatest passion is screenwriting, and shooting and editing film, because of that medium’s personal and persuasive storytelling power.

“Film is the most intimate art form,” he says. “When you can visualize something, you can understand it. When you can understand it, you can empathize with it.”

And empathy leads to transformation. “I believe in the power of storytelling to foster understanding among groups of people who can then engender positive change in the world,” he says.

Jones, who has studied motion-picture editing, screenwriting and directing at Brandeis, enjoys making short films. In February, he co-produced a video commemorating the 50th anniversary of the African and African American studies department.

“Being able to see stories about different people has a unique psychological impact on the viewer,” he says. “With film, you put yourself in it.”

Growing up, Jones was encouraged by his parents to pursue art as a way of learning more about his roots. His Brandeis studies have deepened his investigation.

“You know you’re black in an African American sense, but at Brandeis you learn what black means all over the globe,” he says. “There are so many facets to the African diaspora. People across the world have very different experiences.”