Brandan “Bmike” Odums is the founder and director of 2-Cent Entertainment LLC—a youth education social enterprise that produces mixed media content and events in the overlap between pop culture and social awareness. Founded in 2005, 2-Cent began as a hip-hop-oriented, grassroots, entertainment company geared towards addressing problems in the community. Since then the company, through Brandan’s vision, has made itself a household name across New Orleans and surrounding areas.

Brandan uses his strongest weapon, his video camera, to create change in the community. Through his camera lens, he tells the stories and makes the statements that grab the attention of the younger generation who hold the responsibility to spark change in the world.

A highly sought after visual artist and filmmaker, Brandan’s work has been seen on MTV, in the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, published in two college textbooks, a memoir about community resistance and illustrations in an cartography book about New Orleans. He has been commissioned by Red Bull and the New Orleans Hornets to create murals and invited by Scholastic to film a documentary of relief efforts in Haiti.

In 2008, “New Orleans for Sale,” a film that Brandan did with the help of 2-Cent, received national attention when the short film expressed views about the exposure of Katrina-damaged parts of the New Orleans to inflate tourism money. The video went on to win in the 2008 Film Your Issue awards in Los Angeles.

In December 2009, 2-Cent teamed up with Scholastic for a book-give-away donating 1,000 books to Live Oak Elementary School in New Orleans. The success of the Christmas give-away evolved into the annual Listen! Literacy Arts Festival. To date, 2-Cent has given away over 10,000 brand new books.

Furthering his mission to help youth use social and film mediums to evoke change, Brandan was hired to teach a film and production class at Carver High School in New Orleans for the 2009-2010 school year.

Brandan’s ability to reach the younger generation and work with kids led him to start the 2-Cent Summer Session, media arts camp. The camp teaches youth media production, positive social networking and how to use their voice to speak up about issues they care about. In summer 2013, 2-Cent partnered with the City of New Orleans to create student-led short films on the five pillars of the Mayor’s NOLA FOR LIFE comprehensive murder reduction strategy.

Brandan has worked with notable celebrities such as Mos Def, Spike Lee, Trombone Shorty, Mannie Fresh and Curren$y. He has been invited to lecture at a number of colleges including Xavier University, Tulane University, Dillard University, Loyola University and conferences such as Ted Talks. He is a 2009 Gambit’s Weekly 40 under 40 Honoree, 2011 Do Something Awards Semi-Finalist and acknowledged as a “Greatest Person of the Day” by Huffington Post.

Brandan’s recent works include “Project Be,” a series of graffiti murals on the walls of the ruined Florida Avenue public housing complex in New Orleans’ 9th Ward depicting iconic African-Americans and heroes of the civil rights movement. The discovery of his underground art gallery sparked a social media frenzy, receiving thousands of tweets, reposting and editorials in local media outlets. 

As a result of the overwhelmingly positive response the artistic alchemy of Project Be, Brandan is currently working with local housing authority to preserve the art for future public viewing.

Saturday, May 17, 2014