Yucef MayesResident Artist, Community Media Center


Yucef Mayes, an up and coming filmmaker from East Orange, New Jersey, is an advocate for African American voices; voices that are too many times suppressed, too many times unheard. Using narrative storytelling, Yucef’s main goal is to explore the nuances of the socioeconomic plight of the African American, which he terms “The Third World experience of America.”


A former writing fellow of the Medgar Evers College National Writers’ Conference and Creative Writing student at The New School University, Yucef delved into writing of all aesthetics including poetry, spoken word and prose. But when he realized a camera can vividly show what he was trying to tell, he found his true calling.  Silent short films became small indie commercials, which eventually became his first short film, DRIVER.


Well received and revered for its grit, truth and honesty, DRIVER, focuses on how fatherhood, guilt and redemption is manifested in the inner city. The film has gone on to tour the film festival circuit and has been an official selection of the Newark International Film Festival, Harlem Hip Hop Film Festival, and Baltimore’s Reginald Lewis Museum screening series.


As Co-founder of Shine Black Art & Film, with cousin and partner, Aaron Melvin, Yucef plans to create content that expands the African American narrative; challenge mainstream stereotypes; and aid in fostering a culture of inclusiveness.

This mission is evident in his second short film, ZAHRA AND THE OIL MAN, which is an exclusive product of Newark but reflective of every city on the rise.