The 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking, star-studded entrepreneurship documentary, Independent Doin’ Major Things, will be celebrated in a major way this November. The film’s creator, Hotep, will be hosting its screening and the homecoming of his business program, Hustle U, simultaneously at the Plaza Theatre on Nov. 16.
Independent Doin’ Major Things was birthed from Hotep’s humble beginnings as a schoolteacher, local rapper and music producer selling cassettes and CDs on the streets of Atlanta in the 1990s. At the start of the millennium, he shot his own music video, which not many local artists were doing at the time.
“I got with a video company and we shot a video when HD had just hit the scene,” Hotep recalled. “That really took what I was doing to another level. I caught the video bug.”
After he bought a camera and filmed another music video under Skinnymen Productions for his song, “I Like Big Girls,” Hotep decided he wanted his songs to be played in films. He figured he would produce a movie and get his music heard that way, but when negotiating with Hollywood producers didn’t pan out, he was determined to shoot his film and score it himself.
“I got with Wess Walters of Eraj Media and he followed me around and we chronicled the whole entertainment scene in Atlanta — the music, fashion, the budding film industry, everything that was really blowing up at the time,” says the self-proclaimed business abolitionist.
Hotep was able to interview and film several of his acquaintances who were local artists and businessmen. He was also introduced to international talents who made cameos in the film, such as Ludacris, T.I., Lil Scrappy, Monica, and several others.
At the end of the film, Hotep inserted a list to live by that he called “The Hustler’s Ten Commandments.” Fans became interested in those principles and wanted to learn more.
“People liked what I did, but they were more interested in how I did it. They liked the music, they liked the film, but they were more interested in learning how I was able to do all this without the industry’s support. That’s what the Hustle’s Commandments outline,” he explains.
This led Hotep to not only write a book, The Hustler’s Ten Commandments, but also develop Hustle U — a university-style program where aspiring entrepreneurs can learn the ropes of being in business for themselves. Since 2007, he and his team have been booked all over the world to teach their hustle principles, and they also hold local courses. Additionally, he launched a children’s version of Hustle U, called Make A Way, which is a youth literacy and leadership program that is currently active in over 1,000 schools.
“The secret behind the success of Hustle U is not just the fact that I’m a hustler, but the fact that I’m a teacher more than anything else. So now, with Hustle University, we teach people how to hustle and grow rich,” he says. “Our mission is to spread the hustler’s gospel.”
In the tradition of other educational institutions, Hustle U organizes a homecoming event each year to which Atlanta-based entrepreneurs are generally invited. But this year, in honor of Independent Doin’ Major Things turning 10 years old, the homecoming will be open to the public for a screening of the innovative film. Hustle U will also be accepting donations for Scholars Make Dollars, a scholarship that supports college students in need.
Hustle U Homecoming will be held Tuesday, Nov. 16 at the Plaza Theatre. The VIP red carpet begins at 7 p.m., and the ceremony starts at 8 p.m. The dress code is “flashy and fly.”
For more information on Hustle U, visit hustleu.org.
Watch the original trailer to Independent Doin’ Major Things on the next page.