We had the good fortune of connecting with Haseena Peera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Haseena, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
This quote is the one I say most often to myself on a weekly basis, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. I’m sure it has another origin but I once heard it from my co-worker, Paulie, while working a long and under-staffed shift in a music shop here in Atlanta. At the time, I laughed it off, but I’ve found myself putting a hand on my son’s shoulder and using that quote to encourage him to get back on his skateboard. I also recite this to myself whenever I’m up against the clock with a lot of deadlines and trying to line-up multiple schedules for shoot days, while simultaneously trying to edit a music video. Sometimes we just have to accept that all we can do is our best and a steady pace will get us there with less aches and pains along the way. As a society, I think rushing is too encouraged, and quality of service and care can seriously take a hit. Whether its “pushing out content” for our business & social media pages, or covering issues that are “staying relevant”- we are very much encouraged to keep people engaged and entertained. Social Media currency IS the frequency of views and likes. We need them for the algorithms to share our information. As an activist, musician, teacher and filmmaker, I not only represent the media, but it is my job to uphold the standards, analyze the patterns, and speak out using any platform I have. Shadow Tribe Productions has created a brand of sorts that uncovers uncomfortable subjects (such as domestic violence, Postpartum Depression, the homeless crisis in Atlanta, the Covid -19 crisis in Atlanta, the BLM protests, etc) and brings them to light with the lens. The stress that weighs on my brain during a busy month can wear me down on and off set, so this quote keeps it simple for me, helping me to breathe and accept my natural work flow. Bottom line- keep moving- even if it feels like its taking forever.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am just proud I’m still going honestly. I hadn’t really thought about it but the reason I got into teaching music was because my life as a performer came to a terrible halt after two car accidents left me with the inability to walk or even sing. I began teaching because I could at least do what I love and learn more about theory and technique without all of physical labor it takes to tour. I began my journey into film only because my band-mate and friend Michael Capps died in 2015. In that coming year I would audition for the band he told me I should work with before his passing, Cinema Novo. I wrote the lyrics and melody over their instrumental song, “Horse Eater”, singing about Michael and mourning his battles with addiction. They loved it so much they asked me to join and finish out the album. I’d also reconnect with Brandon Mishawn, who’d wanted to do a music video for Surrogates (the band Michael and I were in) but things never lined up. He agreed to shoot the video for “Horse Eater” and loved working with our concepts so much, we’ve been continuing to do so ever since. I started writing my ideas down for the rest of the album, making story boards and organizing actors and actresses. Writing the video concepts came easy to me because the lyrics were like a script that I had written already. Brandon has mentored me as an actress and director, working with me for almost 4 years. Because of my accidents and COVID-19 I stepped into more of the production and editing, where he’s also been my guide. Now we just make videos for other people that like the videos we’ve already made. My live-performances were no longer feasible so I’ve become a studio recording artist. It’s not what I initially thought I wanted but it feels like I’m exactly where I need to be. What I’ve learned is to just keep going wherever your story takes you and you’ll get where you want if you don’t loose the vision.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First stop by Lotta Frutta to get some fresh smoothies. Walk down to My Abuelas Food, for the best GF/ DF/ Vegan option Puerto Rican homestyle food you’ll ever find. Muchacho is one of my favorite spots to get breakfast. I try to make it to the Lake Claire Community Drum Circle a few times a year and donate when you go. Obviously you’ve got to deface Krog Tunnel. Take a trip to We Suki Suki Global Grub Collective for some amazing options for lunch. Grab a coffee at El Tesoro. Play pool at the Independent if you can fit Have a classy dessert at Apres Diem Buy your best drinks at Citi Wine and Spirits, fun sake selection at Hop City. Sorry I’m not into bars that much. Makimono has great sushi for real.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Brandon Mishawn and my life-partner Jessica Daily have encouraged me every step of the way. Not to say others did not, but I hold their opinions very high and entrust them with my insecurities, and they have always shown me moral support and reciprocal respect. Brandon has shown me everything I know about being on camera as well as being editor and producer. His approach to cinematography and activism blew me away with our first video and we’ve been working together ever since. Christopher Richardson of Cinema Novo was the catalyst for all of first our projects to really begin- he had the skillset for b-cam, graphic design, and editing. Because of him, we were able to shoot in a variety different locations and have an editor that was tied to not only the footage we captured , but the music score as well. He also created the title-graphic for STP that we still use today. Jessica Daily is an amazing educator and mother. She is a beacon of light in my life and has helped create a beautiful family with me. She is so full of wisdom and has always been there to support my crazy ideas. Because I have such a wonderful sense of family and home now, I am able to pursue an artists’ dream that is full of ebbs and flows, uncertainty and mystery, passion and sacrifice. Also Jordan Manley, for being a driving force on my first music debut / collaboration and believing in the vision with me. Both Jess and Jordan shaped the teacher I’ve become. Organization wise, recently I’d have to thank Mainline Zine for collaborating with us and sharing a different and necessary narrative locally . More to come on that soon. I have too many people to be thankful for to be honest. Everyone in my life has somehow created my future with me and I thank you all for the moments that got me here.
Photo Credit: Brandon Mishawn Pictured Here: 1500 Pieces, Jordan Manley, TJ Merritt, Bria Howard, Scott Marthone, Senator Nina Turner, Atlanta City Hall