Most of the white people I approach know about white privilege, they recognize that they have it.
Drunk Magazine caught up with Julius Stukes, the mind behind the wildly funny and equally cringe inducing web series, “Hello, White People.” He’s a man of many talents, ranging from photographer, graphic designer, and videographer. He tells us his inspirations, creative process, and the crazy things white people tell him.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I currently reside here. I am 26 years old. I spent 4 of my years attending college in North Carolina, an HBCU named Shaw University and graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communications.
How did you get into photography and videography?
One day in college, during my freshman year, I was bored and had planned to take a walk with my friends. I grabbed a camera I had brought from home—it was a trash camera—and just started taking pictures of people. I later posted those pictures on my Facebook and my friends started using them as their profile pictures. It was at that moment, I felt special and started doing photography.
I got into videography after I filmed myself running through a tornado during my sophomore year of college. I ended up on local and national news and I felt so cool.
Tell us about your latest video series, "Hello, White People."
It's a web series that showcase what white people think about black folk. It's shot by Mellito and edited by me.
When I first heard about "Hello, White People," my mind flashed back to the critically acclaimed "Dear White People." Was your series inspired by the movie/show? If not, what inspired you to create "Hello, White People"?
The title was, nothing else. I love embarrassing white people. I was inspired by the bigotry and racism Donald Trump preaches. White America is the best place for entertainment. They are quite interesting.
When we watch the videos, there is a certain cringe factor as the viewer sees how Caucasian people respond to your questions. Was this a deliberate thing you wanted to evoke? If so, why?
Anytime a white person speaks about black culture, it's most likely going to be cringe-worthy. I didn't want to evoke anything, I just wanted to hear the answers from the horse's mouth.
Why do you think its so difficult for people of all races to speak frankly about race relations and systemic inequality? What do you see in the responses that you get?
Some people don't want to offend anyone. We are living in the age of hypersensitivity and cancellation. Some are just one sided who live in their little bubble and see the world through media. Most of the white people I approach know about white privilege, they recognize that they have it. I like that they know and aren't ignorant about it.
Where do you think race politics plays in art?
From the beginning of time. Post Civil War art is all racist. Blackface was propaganda and the idiot racist white folk ate it up. Race will always play a part in all decisions.
Was there ever a response or a person who surprised or shocked you during filming? If so, what happened?
The first episode. The kid with the NYU sweater. All of his answers were shocking. I had the best poker face ever during that slot.
Have you incorporated the same themes regarding race, gender, politics, etc. in your work on other platforms?
I do not, but I will. I want to work with more LGBT folk. They are the untapped and I believe they are the future. There's money in the LGBT community.
Are there any other projects that you're working on right now? If so, could you tell us a little bit about them? How are they different or similar to "Hello, White People" and your other past projects?
I am currently working on a short scripted web series and three other web series for some of my friends. They will be original and basic and very effective. I want to have fun when I create, so this will be a nice goal to complete. These series will be planned out more and will be a collaboration.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? Do you think you'll branch out to other mediums or forms of artistry in the future?
I always make the logo or draft up the art direction first, for my shows. For my music videos and my photography, I find inspiration through film and television shows. I am very strategic with my photos, I always take pics of the underrated beauties. My photography is an outlet for me to connect with the person who is my subject.In general, I am driven by the struggle and the desire to see my grandmother on vacation.
I have to start reaching out to the people that matter. I will never be boxed in. I will always expand. I don't know what those mediums will be, but time will tell.
When people look your series and your work, what do you want it to convey?
I want people to know that some white people know, and some white people don't know shit!
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
"There's a Jay-Z bar for everything" - Mouse Jones
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Marina Ali is a student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is a staff writer for Brown Girl Magazine, the features editor for Drunk Magazine, and the social media manager for TMO Media. When she’s not writing or studying for classes, you can find her picnicking in pastoral East Texas, crafting for her sorority sisters, or making food.