Singer-actor superstars Chloe and Halle Bailey, aka Chloe x Halle, are working with Neutrogena Studios and Ghetto Film School to release two films from the Neutrogena Studios First Frame Program.
The films are part of the collaboration between Neutrogena and Ghetto Film School, supporting emerging filmmakers of color. The sisters and singers served as mentors in the program, choose the first two films, En Avant, directed by 20-year-old NYU Tisch School of the Arts student and Ghetto Film School alumnus Sarah Jean Williams, and If My Voice Rang Louder than My Skin, directed by 22-year-old Kyra Peters, also an alumnus of Ghetto Film School and a script coordinator at Moonbug Entertainment.
En Avant follows "the internal struggle of a Black ballerina with self-acceptance as she faces racism in a white-dominated art form," according to the film's description. Meanwhile, If My Voice Rang Louder than My Skin utilizes 2D animation to tell "an allegorical story of a teenage boy who craves a life where his skin no longer affects his daily life or how others perceive him." Through the use of animation, the story "follows him through the streets of the Bronx, trying to unite his community's voice through music to rally against the divisive hate against color." Both films are available to watch now on Neutrogena's YouTube channel.
Shadow and Act's Managing Editor, Trey Mangum, spoke with the Bailey sisters about their involvement with Neutrogena's initiative.
"My sister and I were so inspired when we heard about this Neutrogena First Frame program because it is a newly introduced initiative from Neutrogena Studios that provides a platform for people of diverse backgrounds to tell their stories about the skin that they're in," said Halle. "When we heard that, my sister and I were like, 'Yes' [because] it's really important as Black women to just talk about our Black experience and creatively write our stories and let people hear them because it impacts so much of us and resonates with so much of us and helps us accept the skin that we are in."
Chloe added that she felt the reason they chose the two films to represent the program came from how personal the stories felt to them.
"I think the reason [we chose] these two stories is because there was a piece in both stories that resonated with us," she said. "They were just so beautifully told and it was just so creative, so out of the box, how they shared these stories. I'm so proud of those two beautiful young women."
Halle and Chloe are both in the acting world--not only are people ready to see them back on TV in grown-ish, but we also have Halle's turn as Ariel in The Little Mermaid to look forward to. It could be only a matter of time before they sit in the director's chair themselves. They addressed how they feel about creating art for viewer consumption.
"I think as a creative, when you start making things…you really start to get a grasp on what you like and maybe what people like as well," said Halle. "But I definitely go for what my heart gravitates to, and my sister…things like that we just have to follow our gut instinct and see what happens. But stories that are so true and close to home like these are so important and resonate with our community and are so important to have."
As far as if they will ever direct a film themselves, Chloe isn't saying no to the idea.
"I don't see why not," she said. "In terms of this, it was completely those two beautiful young ladies who led the process with these films…You never know. My sister and I are so heavily involved when it comes to in our music process, we've executive produced all of our albums and projects that we've done together, so you never know."
Watch the full interview below.
Both films are available to watch now on Neutrogena's YouTube channel.