There are a lot of young men roaming around London these days armed with a fancy camera and wearing a snapback, calling themselves videographers. They look like updated, British versions of Spike Lee, even though most of them don’t even know who Spike Lee is. A lot of them watch SB:TV and they’ve seen Jamal Edwards Google advert and they want a piece of the pie too, but that’s where it stops. They want the kudos but rarely have the talent and most have already tried other avenues to become famous/rich/have lots of followers on twitter. Then once in a while you come across someone like Urban Flash, a young man who oozes ambition from every pore and who has a business acumen that far belies his tender age
Urban Flash started off as a photography company, with Mr Flash organising shoots for everyone from the average Joe or Josephine to the rising stars in our urban industry, and a year ago he started branching out into music videos. “I wanted to have creative control of the work we were doing but most of all I wanted to learn, it’s really important to me that I master my craft,” says Flash who describes himself as a hustler by nature. He says, “When I first started making videos I was managing an artist and I thought, ‘wait why are we paying people to shoot videos and stuff when I’m sure I can do it better?’ plus on the photography side I noticed nobody was catering for those people who wanted professional photo’s done on a low budget and I saw an opportunity for business. To be honest I’ve always been business minded, I used to sell mix CD’s and sweets in school and I’ve always wanted to make money without having to work for someone else.”
So far Urban Flash has created videos for Lethal B, JaJa Soze, Shimmer, Lioness and long-time friend Pound Sterling and is going from strength to strength having recently filmed both Big Sean and Skepta (pictured with Urban Flash above) in concert. He even has the eye for talent spotting, featuring Benjamin AD and Young Adz on his Breakthrough UK show before they were signed to Universal. Quite an impressive portfolio for a 20-year-old that’s been making videos for a year and despite having passed on university and ‘safe’ jobs to pursue his career, at one point Flash was about to sell his camera and give up. “ I just want to be successful and when the work isn’t coming in it can be hard. Money isn’t everything to me but I want to have things in place and I want to be at a stage where Urban Flash has paid for my wedding and put my kids through private school, like ‘this black man with his camera has actually made a success of his life’ – those are the kinds of goals I have for myself.”
Comparisons with SB: TV are inevitable but Urban Flash respects the phenomenal success Jamal’s had and it spurs him on to be just as big. “I want to be as big as them in the next couple of years, you have SB: TV and now you need an Urban Flash” he says. It’s just as important to him to have a fresh and young team around him – a lot of the photographers he uses are teenagers – and he says he likes giving younger people opportunities because “ they really appreciate it and we grow together and it builds loyalty. Nobody opened doors for me so I want to be the one to give the little ones a chance if I can.”
There a few videos coming out in the next couple of weeks and some exciting shows being planned for Urban Flash’s youtube channel including a cypher challenge that’ll see the winner having a video made and getting a song played on radio, and with Flash’s great connections, a celebrity judge or two as well. I ask where he see’s himself in five years, and if he thinks he will still be making videos, he says “I’ll always film because I’m addicted to the camera, it’s like filming is my drug – it makes me happy and I have fun with it. I don’t ever wake up thinking I’ve got to make money, I wake up thinking I’ve got to make another video.”
Keep up with this rising star on http://www.urbanflash.net
What do you think about Urban FLash? Do you think he can be as big as SB:TV? Do you admire his ambition? Do you know who Spike Lee is? Let us know in the comments!