From Black Hair to Black Twitter: How Culture House Is Shifting the Status Quo Through Storytelling

Carri Twigg of Culture House. Image: Jerome Laguerrigue

At the conclusion of the Obama Administration, Carri Twigg, who served as at the Special Assistant to President Obama and Director of Public Engagement for then-Vice President Joe Biden, was met with the question, “What’s next?” Like many alumni of the Obama Administration—including the Obamas, themselves—Twigg chose to enter the field of content development.

“It’s not surprising that so many left the Obama Administration went into storytelling,” Twigg tells EBONY. “We are all people who are animated by the idea that society has to change.”

As fate would have it, Twigg later crossed paths with producer and director Raeshem Nijhon, and together with Nicole Galovski and Hypatia Porter, they would form Culture House—a Black, Brown, and woman-owned production company and cultural consultancy.

“We live in a culture and a society that has, for the last 100 or 200 years, centered the default identity: white, male, heterosexuality. Everyone who isn’t that is somehow an exception. That’s not what America is anymore,” adds Twigg. “We really sit at that translation hub that exists between pop culture and politics. We live in a time when our politics are informing pop culture and pop culture is dramatically shaping and informing our politics. We exist not only as makers of content and storytellers, but also trying our best to help build the scaffolding through consultation and through storytelling into the next generation of the American identity.”

Amongst some of Culture House’s upcoming projects include a documentary A People’s History of Black Twitter, which explores the cultural influence of Black Twitter, and The Hair Tales, a docu-series about Black womanhood told through the lens of Black hair.

“We are very much about breaking that status quo,” says Twigg. “Not about centering one demographic, but really showcasing how we exist in a pluralistic, collective-driven, global community.”

Narrated and executive produced by Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis, The Hair Tales will air simultaneously on both OWN and Hulu.

“It’s exactly the type of show that we built this company to be able to help create,” Twigg says of the series. “It’s about lineage. It’s about heritage. It’s about who were are today. It’s who we have been. It centers people who have been intentionally marginalized for generations.”

Don’t get it twisted, though. “The Hair Tales isn’t mired in the ‘marginalization’ of Black women, but rather centered around the ways we’ve created space and autonomy and love and community for ourselves forever,” Twigg explains.

“So much of Culture House has been born out of a desire to create what we all felt was missing in our experience,” shares Nijhon. “We were like, ‘There isn’t this place where we get to be the boss and where we get to make money off of our own stories, so we’re gonna make it,’ and that was really the initial sentiment.”

To learn more about Culture House and how they’re challenging the status quo through storytelling, click here.

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