When I first Interviewed Philip Johnson in 2019, he had produced, starred in, and co-wrote multiple shows under his company Philaye Films. He was on his way to Los Angeles after living in New York (originally from Detroit), and shared thoughts, hopes, inspirations, realities, and more. Now, in 2021, his hard work is continuing to pay off as he continues to blaze his own path in the film industry.
Making the transition from Detroit to New York City, then to Los Angeles can take a toll on anybody, but Johnson has been able to survive that journey and cited the pandemic as something that has helped him along the way.
Right before the pandemic hit, Johnson was on a press tour preparing with his forthcoming Flip Flop series, which was put on hold due to COVID, but he said the show was sort of the beginning to get everything rolling in his L.A. film journey. its filming will take place before the end of the year. During the pandemic, Johnson released a film titled Risk with Alscott Worrell while also working on a Black gay thriller film titled The Unhinged, with Robert Graves.
Not only has he produced two films during the pandemic, safely, but he’ll be working on another film titled Maybe Next Christmas, while also working on a series titled Ambition, a Black drama series that will involve moving out to L.A. and pursuing creative dreams.
Being Black and gay, Johnson wanted to create content that involves those elements through various platforms; film, shows, and even Tik Toks. While society progresses, there’s still work that needs to be done, and that’s why what Johnson produces is important. Representation is key and comedy helps take the edge off, even if there’s a little truth in every joke.
“It’s been really cool to see the difference in what representation is like on-screen and in the media and entertainment versus when we were growing up,” Johnson said. “Because when we were growing up, the one show that I think there was available was Noah’s Arc, and I was only 10 at the time and in the closet, so I missed out on that.”
“Now with people having Pose, Legendary, and For the Boys; just so many different black gay content creators and even musicians,” He added. “Thinking about Lil’ Nas X, Santana, and Drebae. There are just so many Black gay people who are making art and feeling like: “You know what? We have the opportunity to actually be represented and be seen.'”
“We are the culture,” Johnson said. “We are where so much of it originates from. It’s beautiful to see people starting to get more but I still think we deserve more. “
Johnson has been able to preserver and make his own lane with life experiences, and offers advice for people wanting to get in the industry; like being meticulous with any contracts and not becoming the people who do you wrong.
Watch the full interview below, and visit Johnson’s official site here.