A Most Honest Truth - Inside the Integrity of Kevin Morosky’s Work
© Photography Kevin Morosky
You won’t find Kevin Morosky in spaces that don’t serve diversity and the truth: South-London’s creative builds his own tables to facilitate projects that matter.
Reading Kevin Morosky’s biography and achievements, you stop in awe and wonder whether his creativity and skills know any limits. The film director has created various campaigns for major labels, brands and organisations, including Vogue, Disney, Google, Tate Modern, the BBC, and Netflix, to name a few.
However, the creative is not fazed and motivated by fame or money. He sets clear boundaries and ensures he cares about what he is about to produce. Passionate about diversity and inclusivity, Kevin Morosky creates his own spaces, ensuring they are honest and serve a valid purpose with integrity.
Amongst a busy and hectic day, Kevin spoke to INJECTION Mag about his work as a filmmaker, his activism for the Black community and his successes with his international organisation POCC, a Black British Business Awards-nominated creative network that champions Black and Brown voices in advertising.
Kevin Morosky is a Virgo - if you can share with us, why is this part of your bio?
I think it’s one of the most interesting things about me. I do this thing in terms of business and other projects, which is finding out people’s star signs, just to understand who they are and how to communicate effectively with them. I find it helps, regardless of whether they believe in star signs or not.
A lot of the time, I can be quite direct, and I would never do anything I don’t want to do. It just allows people to understand me, and I also think it's disarming. It starts a different kind of conversation, and it breaks that initial wall.
I just like being a virgo; it's one of my favourite things about me. No disrespect to any other star signs, but I wouldn’t want to be any other one.
You talk about your awareness of being hired as the token black person, “the diversity hire”. In your experience, is that something that's still happening frequently, and how do you protect yourself from how this makes you feel?
I think it still tries to happen, but I’m now in a position where I don’t traditionally get hired to do things. Now it’s more from the space of collaboration. That’s not to say that there isn’t an exchange of payment, but it’s just a different type of hiring. So therefore, I really make the rules in which the business arrangement is set up.
Without that control, the way that I navigate that is by building my own buildings and building my own tables. I don’t care about being part of other brands and trying to fit in anywhere, and I don’t rely on them for any type of income. Because of that, the space I am always in fits me perfectly, fits the people I love to work with perfectly, is inclusive, and allows for the peace needed to create at a high standard.
Before, my talents were wanted in spaces, but as soon as I stepped through that door, it’s like: “Oh, no, we need you to be this, and you cannot talk about this, and you cannot do that. But also, once a month, can you be on that panel for us because it will show that we’re interested in this subject and this and that.”
But I’m black and queer 24/7, 365 days a year, and those may or may not need to be part of my daily conversation. I feel like those subjects that I live and breathe; I should be able to express my anger, joy, or love whenever I please. Not just in October or during pride month or in those spaces.
Can you tell us more about “Laundry”, a short film that was narrated by Lily Allen?
2020 was really boring for me, and what I mean by that is that the conversations that were had in 2020 obviously came from the murder of George Floyd. I’m not just talking about that poor man’s murder; I’m talking about the discourse around it, specifically from white people, white businesses and white spaces. I’m not trying to say they didn’t mean good or didn’t have good intent, but it wasn’t good enough.
It was boring because the angle of those conversations was like, “Oh my God, I didn’t realise it was this bad!” which, you know, two things can be true: One, I think that some people were genuinely coming from that space, and I’m not denying that, but the reason why I say two things can be true is because, also, on the other side of that, my experiences are my experiences, so I couldn’t just pretend that I’ve realised it in 2020. That’s still a form of torture and gaslighting.
So, that time was really stressful on a level of: Oh, we have to hold our punches because white people have just realised how bad it really was!
What was also boring was the fake accolades and gifts of: Well, can I do this and this? And I was like: “You won’t care in 2021, some of you will just about pretending to care in 2021, and in 2023 all of those little pockets of money and support and things will dry up”. And low and behold, looking around now, that’s the case.
Laundry, for me, was a conversation that I felt should have been happening instead.
I don’t want to hear about slavery anymore in that it’s part of my history. You guys can take this now that we are apparently clearing house and we’re sorting all of the mess out; just to let you know, that is your stuff to sort out.
I felt Laundry was a basic way to establish new boundaries and start new conversations. Slavery is not my history; it’s a very sad, painful moment in time that I feel in my body and soul till now. There's a real thing of trauma being passed down in DNA, so I do sometimes think, when you discuss these things specifically as a white person, yes, you can have empathy, but as a black person, to see those images and to see those things, you are recognising yourself and you almost remember it happen to you. It hurts your soul.
The idea that slavery is all I’ve come from is disrespectful on a whole other level when you look at it through that lens. We’re not doing that anymore! You guys, unfortunately, for the sins of your ancestors, should go in a corner and feel bad about it, reflect upon it. But that’s got nothing to do with us.
And Black history month originally, was founded for the reasons of different tribes coming together to celebrate each other and just have joy. And that was the point of those series of films when I was doing them.
Can you describe your creative process before you embark on a project?
The first thing that’s important is that I work on something that’s important to me. I don’t chase money or necessarily do things based on how much I’m being paid. There are things that have come along, and I’ve turned them down because it wasn’t honest and it wasn’t true, and I know I would have ended up hating it. And those were some jobs that have come with amounts of money I could have used to put a deposit down for a house. I’ve just learnt very early on that I’m terrible when I’m doing something I don’t like. I will sabotage everything and anyone in the process.
The second thing is the truth within it, making sure it’s an honest story and doing something new with it that allows a certain section of people who have not been seen before to be seen or included. Like, how can I use that brand to bring more diversity to the world?
You often work together with Tom Dunn, a good friend of yours and your creative partner. What’s the best bit about working with someone whose passion you share?
He’s not a good friend; he’s my best friend I spend more time with Tom than anybody else on a day to day basis. We’ve been collaborating for just under a decade.
The best thing about it is that I'm just hanging out with my best friend, and I have a shorthand with somebody, so I don't have to fully break down my sentences or slowly walk somebody through an idea.
And we often have to step out of our own bubble to communicate with others because we realise we're talking in our own language. I think that creativity can be very lonely. And so, having a collaborator makes it easier to be a creative.
You were recently featured in Deadline, securing a Short Film Initiative sponsored by Disney & The National Film and Television School. Can you tell us more about this, please?
Tom and I sent a script we’d written in about an hour and a half, and we thought it was cool, and so we sent it in. About a couple of weeks later, we heard that, out of 400 people, we’d made it to the top 12 and were invited to come in and pitch our film. And then, very quickly, we were told we’d made it through.
So the process was quite easy, and I don’t say that lightly. Because these things aren't easy, but I've found in my lifetime that when those things are like that, then you’re completely on the right track and where you're meant to be. And if you are meant to be where you're meant to be, everything will fall into place.
I think it’s a great platform, because we wouldn't have been able to enter many other things because it's like, you have to be between 19 and 21.5 years old to enter. That’s not to say those things aren't needed for those younger people.
Together with Nana Bempah, you created and established POCC - from a WhatsApp group to an international organisation. What is your proudest moment with POCC since bringing it to life?
We now have a community that's over 1000 members strong. And one thing is that this company I co founded has enabled people to buy their first homes and pay their mortgages, which is a really big thing for me.
POCC stands on principle, and we don't work with wayward people. We try to do the necessary work and do good work with integrity.
Most businesses say you can’t put community first and still run a profitable business. - Well, actually, you can, and POCC is proof of that. So, I guess that's another thing I'm proud of.
Your creativity doesn't seem to know any limits. You also paint, and you're a writer and author of a book and affirmation cards - are those activities equal next to your work as a filmmaker?
I just have ideas. And I don't ever want to be restrained. So then I go off and learn new skill sets and then execute them just to see how I feel about them after executing them because I think the worst thing is to have a head full of ideas and do nothing, because those ideas turn into regrets.
That's probably the one thing I'm scared of in this life: Regrets I have no time for it. I'd rather put something out and then just be like: “Well, that was shit!” - which isn't a problem for me anyway because, actually, it was just some form of self care. It was really just to get something off of my chest. It's a skill set learned from advertising. If you're creative, sometimes you'll have three or four projects on at the same time, and you have to dance between all of them. So one moment I’m wearing my POCC hat, then I’m writing a book, and then I'm over here making these affirmation cards.
All of those creative projects are just all things I wanted to try.
Can you share what you'll be working on in 2023 and beyond?
[laughs] Everything I’m working on is under an NDA. There’s lots of things coming in different forms and different amazing things. But I can’t say anything yet!
© Photography Kevin Morosky
Kevin Morosky is not someone who will ever do things he doesn’t want to do. He talks and acts with consideration and conviction, and it’s clear that he won’t work on or create anything that doesn’t serve a purpose close to his heart. He stands firm on Black History and is not interested in reliving the painful past of his ancestors, rightfully demanding that white people take responsibility and learn to be accountable.
His creative projects are always thought-provoking and communicate their messages clearly, making him stand out and highlighting that his work is priceless. The world needs to pay attention to Kevin Morosky. We all can learn a lot from him.