Black Families’ Love ones With Developmental Disabilities On Stage & In Film: Tatum’s Family Short Film, I AM MORE

Leroy - Posted on 26 May 2014

Leroy Moore/Tatum's Family

As you know I’ve been writing about Black disabled people from activism to music to film etc.  In 2006 & 2007 I covered & interviewed the director of the Hollywood movie, My Brother that starred Christopher Scott and Donovan Jennings, two Black young men with Down syndrome.  And in 2012 I interviewed Playwright, advocate & mother, Yvonne Pierre, about her play, Then We Stand, about a Black couple dealing with the news that their baby will have Down Syndrome.   Now today the Tatum family, Brandon, Kinaya, & their daughter that have Down Syndrome & is a budding actress, Kei’Arie along with her brothers, Jay’C & Ocean. all had their hands in making the short film, I AM MORE that came out this year.  I asked the whole family some questions about the film & other topics.


Leroy Moore:  Ok my first question is how did the whole family become interested in this film & how did you all work together as a family on this project?

Tatum’s Family: We came together on this film to spread awareness about Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), on how bullying could be in the home. Also this film was made to show Kei’Aries’ and our whole family’s passion and ability as one unite, to create films for families. Working together was fun as we represent our company Better than Great (B.t.G) Entertainment Inc


Leroy Moore:  I was excited to see this movie as a Black disabled man.  What was it that pushed you all to make this movie?  Who is/are your target audiences?

Tatum’s Family: We felt that the special needs community would take a likening to this film because it was starring an actress Kei’Arie who has Down syndrome. Also we felt that this movie will bring attention to other film makers to write movies for our special needs community in giving our children/adults the full chance that strive for what they desire as authentic talent. Kei’Arie has been acting and modeling but never had the opportunity to get speaking roles until now.


Leroy Moore:  Kei’Arie, you really want to be an actress so is this film a true story about your future goals?


Tatum’s Family/ Kei’Arie: YEAH!!!!


Leroy Moore:  As parents & Black parents what do you see that needs to change in our community about youth & young adults with developmental disabilities?


Tatum’s Family/Parents: Well, there needs to be more! There is a need for education for our youth and young adults. Not just in math, reading and writing, but in areas that interest them and their talents. We need to help cater to their needs because were in this world together.

Leroy Moore:  I know when I was growing up sometimes my sisters would get frustrated with me because of my disability.  Was some of your acting true feelings/treatment sometimes towards your sister?

Tatum’s Family/The Kids: OCEAN: Our sister acts just like a regular little sister, spoiled and bossy.

                                               JAY’C: The movie was just acting, we don’t treat her that way. We love and appreciate the gift God gave our family

Leroy Moore:  Throughout my years of looking for movies/books on and by Black disabled people only recently I’m finally seeing more and more that look like me.  Do you think that the Black community has been supportive or pushing to open more doors for Black disabled or families who like you all trying to produce movies etc.?

Tatum’s Family: We feel that our black community is open to supporting however, we as a whole seem like we need to hear or see about it first, and that I feel, needs to change. We as a whole should be more sensitive in helping push our special needs community in reaching their goals/dreams. Our job as parents, advocates and friends is to help individuals like Kei’Arie receive Grammy’s, Oscars, Billboard Awards, Best Actor, Number One Album, Doctor, Nurse, Lawyer or Judge degrees.

Leroy Moore:  What was the hardest point in making & acting in this short film?

Tatum’s Family: The hardest part was actually having to see the actors act. Being mean and saying mean things to Kei’Arie wasn’t easy to act out or watch. However, we believe our daughter is heaven sent, for the most part she knew it was acting as well as the affirmations of the rest of the cast loving all over Ker’Arie.


Leroy Moore:  How did your classmates & friends react when they saw the movie?

Tatum’s Family/The Kids: Our classmates and friends reacted out of shock. They all respected the movie for its cause, creativeness and that we made it as a family.


Leroy Moore:  As parents what would you like to see improve in the near future for your daughter?


Tatum’s Family /Parents: BRANDON: I would like to see her light shine on the world in all areas.

                                             KINAYA: I would like to continue to watch her father Brandon Tatum create phenomenal roles for her, to continue out her journey/passion craft as a courageous talented, well known actress. Inspiring the world to never give-up and to make the non-believer a believer.

Leroy Moore:  In the disability field when I was growing up I saw a lot of mothers being everything i.e. advocate, networkers, caregiver.  So it is really good to see a Black father like yourself, Brandon.  What is your advice for other Black fathers who have sons or daughters with developmental disabilities?

Tatum’s Family/Brandon: Thank you Leroy, my advice to our black fathers is, be grateful.  I know it gets tuff but you were made to be the father of the baby God gave you (precious gift). Love, protect and be what you were meant to be when you found out you were having a baby; a father! You’re robbing yourself if you don’t push harder or apply a better effort, you have a “special” baby so you must be a special dad.

Leroy Moore: Do you see Bullying toward your sister at school or in the neighborhood where you live? 


Tatum’s Family/Kids: OCEAN: No, she was bullied at school under her teachers watch. No one bullies Kei’Arie around us or in our neighborhood.

                                        JAY’C: everybody loves Kei’Arie, she makes people laugh and smile.

Leroy Moore:  What are your plans with this film & will you continue to make more & if so what is next?

Tatum’s Family/Brandon: Our plan with this film is, to keep it going viral and getting viewed/liked. As a family we just finished another short film called THE BLACK BAG that is in postproduction right now. Were looking for investors to help the budget for our feature films that we have, one of which is a feature film starring Kei’Arie.


Leroy Moore: Please tell us what else is on your mind that people should know.

Tatum’s Family/Brandon: I want people to know that the Tatum family is headed to the top as a family with our company B.t.G ENTERTAINMENT Inc. Stay tuned for our movies, music, clothing, games and inventions. We are looking forward to working with great and loyal people.


Leroy Moore:  How can people order the film & contact you?  Also where will the film be shown?


Tatum’s Family/Brandon: Every body can go on YouTube, type in this link  and purchase it with a “like”/”thumbs-up”. This film was shown at the DOWN SYNDROME ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL FLORIDA convention at UFC March 7th, 2014.

(407) 202-0001




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