In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
62. Summer Hill
The early life of writer/director/actor Summer Hill sounds like a Lifetime Channel movie. Born in New York and the youngest of ten children, his father and mother separated while he was still in the womb. His nine siblings were then taken into foster care. He was left alone with his mother and almost died as an infant.
At the tender age of 12, he ran away from home to seek out the father he never knew. Face to face with his father for the first time in his life, he met with rejection when his dad told him he couldn't stay. The then 13-years-old turned to the Islamic faith and entered the American Muslim Mission, where he became Akbar. He received a scholarship to attend a school in Philadelphia, where he met an inspirational English teacher who encouraged the talent he saw in young Akbar.
The day he decided on his future career path was the day he had dinner with James Baldwin. "I saw my self in James Baldwin - the way he was curious about everything and the way he gave me all of his attention when I answered a question that he posed. He listened to me as an expert. I knew then that if I could hold his attention - I would hold other people's attention too."
Hill has gone on to do everything from act in Death of a Salesman to writing several books, including his latest, Squircular. When he's in our neck of the woods, he lays his head in Little Haiti. "I have a completely fulfilled personal and family life. And yet I prefer to spend 75% of my time alone."
1. List five things that inspire you.
-The first "thing" that inspires me is me. With every breath I inspire myself anew.
-Next, my son, Xalimon, who will be four in March, and his mother, noted Miami-based dancer/choreographer Afua Hall.
-The memory of my mother, Jimmie Simpson Lucas, inspired the first book in the Poemedy Trilogy - Notes of a Neurotic!
-I have no shortage of inspiration. So if I was forced to say a fifth thing that inspires me I would say simply - MONEY - or said more accurately: receiving the compensation for my work that I believe approaches the value that I seek to provide.
2. What was your last big project?
Last winter I was in an exciting production of Death of a Salesman that the Philadelphia Inquirer said was a "perfect" rendition of the play. I played Charley, the neighbor. I talk about my experience working with Broadway caliber theatremakers and the experience that inspired the books title in my latest book just released this week--Squircular. In some ways, the publication of my book this week marks the end point of my last big project. The project was entitled "Poemedy Squircular" and was a controversial multimedia and interdisciplinary theatrical experience that the administration of Miami Dade College, Kendall campus mysteriously cancelled the night before the performance that had been scheduled for six months. I feel that this piece of theatre that is based on a poemedy that is 360 lines (one line for every degree in a circle) and every line has exactly seven syllables--this poemedy is destined to happen.
3. What's your next big project?
I am going to NYC to begin the marketing for Squircular: An Actor's Tale. I will also be taking an on-camera course with Alexa Fogel and several other NYC television and film casting directors.
4. Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do for the joy that it gives to me. I do what I do for the love it allows me to share with others. I do what I do because it is the only way I know how to live. In Squircular I write, "I act, therefore I am," and I can not say it any better.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?
I want Miami to know that I love them completely and without judgment. I want them to know that I think they will love me too once they get to know me. Squircular is all about my relationship with Miami.
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What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?
I don't want Miami to know that I love them completely and without judgment. I don't want them to know that I think they will love me too once they get to know me.
The Creatives so far:
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow
73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar
90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon
100. Ingrid B