Entertainment

How Prayer Changed the Course of Screenwriter Konahe Jernigan’s Career Path

Fri., Jun. 1, 2012 6:55 AM EDT
by Yvette Caslin

Chicago native Konahe Jernigan prayed for a blessing and in less than an hour, it came to pass. “I remember saying a silent prayer one night, and then 10 minutes later Sharon Tomlinson called me and asked if I wanted to be a part of the program,” shares Konahe about Studio 11 Films’ 11Eleven11 Project. “ I accepted the offer and I haven’t looked back.”

Jernigan is a Boost of Love writer. Check out what else she has to say about being bald and her appalling nerve. –yvette caslin

What do you hope viewers walk away with after seeing this project?
To have some great laughs first and foremost. Then, I want this film to become a catalyst for self-reflection and self-criticism. Oft times, when people are searching for love, they compromise their integrity and themselves for the sake of companionship. When this happens, they find themselves in an awkward position and at a crossroad. I want the audience to be optimistic about finding love at any age, and to know that it’s OK to stand up for your beliefs, even in matters of the heart.

I also want to provide some insight into the minds of the elderly. I think there has been a great shift in family values and priorities, which has caused a lot of people to forget about the needs and desires of their older family members. I hope viewers of this film become more considerate and empathetic toward their elders. Old folks need love too. Something as simple as helping with groceries or saying “hello” can go a long way.

Who are your personals idols in the industry?
I greatly admire the work of Spike Lee, Bill Cosby, Quentin Tarantino, Queen Latifah, Kelsey Grammer, John Singleton, the Wayans family, Tim Burton, Adam Sandler, Vince Vaughn, Martin Lawrence, Steve Martin, the Hughes brothers, and Tyler Perry. I’m pretty sure there are some people I left off, but most of my favorite films and television shows are products of one of the aforementioned people. Hopefully, I will get opportunities to work with many of them in the near future.

Pop culture guilty pleasure:
My guilt is my nescience when it comes to pop culture. Friends and family always scold me because I know very little about pop culture. They’ll rant about the latest song and expect a comment from me. They’ll ask, “Have you heard the newest single?” I patiently reply, “Um no, no I haven’t, but you already knew the answer.” Needless to say, I depend on other people to be my eyes and ears when it comes to pop culture. I accept this as a character flaw and will try to work on it … well, maybe.

What’s on your music play list?
I am totally eclectic when it comes to music. I truly enjoy creative and well composed music, so I’ll listen to most artists. Some of my favorites are Nas, Metallica, BeBe and CeCe Winans, John Coltrane, Jill Scott, Beyonce, and the list goes on. Most repeated on my iPod playlist right now are Wale’s “Sabotage,” CeeLo’s “Fool for You,” and Beyonce’s “Countdown” and “Love on Top.”

MAC or PC?
I care dearly for my iMac. She’s like a part of the family. I like her better than that cute distant third cousin who people tend to wish wasn’t their cousin.

Previous work?
I have loved to write since I was in single digits. Boost of Love is my first real attempt at a screenplay, since then I’ve completed a pass on Clark’s Bail Bond. I’ve also written numerous short stories. One garnered me an NAACP ACT-SO Silver Medal. I’ve had poems published and I served as a staff writer for my school newspaper The Hilltop at Howard University. I will always be a writer and strive to create great works.

Three things you can’t live without:
My family, books and music.

I’ll never understand why …
God is so great. I’ve been blessed so abundantly. Also, I will never understand why God uses irony so often. For example, my sister is 5’ 3” with shoulder-length hair. However, I am 5’11” and bald headed. It just isn’t fair. We both could have been 5’7” with a nice head of hair … you know what I mean?

(Photo by Tammy McGarity)

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