The art of storytelling continues to reign supreme. For Carri Twigg, it’s her love for sharing the stories of others that has led her to the current position of being a voice for the culture, through one of the highest forms of art.
Twigg is curious, creative, and passionate which is why launching Culture House; a Black and Brown Women-owned production company was a no-brainer. As a founding partner of the company, she manages to merge both her love for politics and pop culture through the content that they bring to life at the organization.
“We really focus on projects that are at the intersection of pop culture and politics and we’re one of the few, if not the only, women-owned production companies, particularly women of color-owned production companies that run production services. We do everything from coming up with the idea, to hiring the crew, making the thing, and even the editing.”
Just five years ago, Twigg didn’t really know the ins and outs of a production company as she was fully immersed in politics after spending 12 years in both politics and government, even serving as the Special Assistant to President Obama and Director of Public Engagement for Vice President Biden.
Photograph: Culture House
After her time at the White House, she soon realized that a lot of the work that must be done to drive the world forward lies in the cultural work of storytelling. After much soul searching, she ultimately joined forces with Raeshem Nijhon and Nicole Galovski, and together they created Culture House.
“I wanted to leave to pursue more creative work, and started consulting once I left the White House in spring of 2020. I moved to New York, and began consulting for a bunch of media companies and was fascinated and kind of curious about how film and television is made. I was really kind of laser-focused on getting into storytelling and how the stories we tell determine who we are.”
Photograph: Culture House
A huge part of the transition was also learning to use her background in politics to her advantage, however, there was a lot that she had to unlearn in order to thrive and flourish from a creative standpoint.
“I had to unlearn thinking through someone else’s brain because when you work for an elected official, they are the ones in charge, they are the ones who has been elected, and it’s their vision that the voters have selected to be how you move forward and how you govern,” she explained. “So whether I was working for the governor of Ohio, early in my career, or whether I was working for the President in the White House, it was like okay, this is what President Barack Obama believes, this is what the elected official believes, and what I work on has to be in alignment with those beliefs. That’s how I thought for 10 years, and I would not even allow myself to get too far down into brainstorming. This hurt my independent, creative muscles because I never got to exercise them; I never got to use them.”
Now as Twigg continues to focus on challenging the status quo media narratives that have been ingrained into society, Culture House continues to be a voice for women in storytelling with projects that include a non-fiction series for Hulu with Oprah Winfrey, and Tracee Ellis Ross centered around beauty and Black hair, along with other series for Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube Originals that have yet to be announced. Her idea for a successful future is rooted in the people that their company was designed for.
“So many of our projects, because of the pandemic, have been delayed and haven’t hit the public yet, but for me, success will start to feel like it’s happening when we get audience responses,” she expressed. “There are so many people who have never gotten to see someone like them or their family on TV or in a movie, in a way that’s happy and positive and that’s a real tragedy in so many ways. I think for us, success is adding to the canon of cultural support for people who have been systemically left out, but who have been contributing their entire time to making society and culture what it is. That would be my version of success.”