Whitmore II wears many artistic hats, from directing to
producing to teaching.
Rubin Whitmore II claims heís not good at multitasking.
But donít believe him.
He changes creative hats almost by the minute, from academia to
filmdom and much more sandwiched in between.
"Some days Iím good at it, other times not," he laughs,
while reviewing what heís been up to recently. These tasks include
chasing a masterís degree in media studies from the prestigious New
School in New York, while still teaching media literacy courses at The
Hope School in Milwaukee.
Whitmore was also a key mentor for the "My Milwaukee"
film project, which debuted this spring at Pier Wisconsin. The program
featured five edgy short films produced by young adults involved in
the Running Rebels community group. Whitmore was brought aboard by
Maxine Wishner, another Milwaukee native who returned to her hometown
after several decades of film and television production in New York.
The project was sponsored by the Milwaukee International Film
"I look at teaching as my patriotic tour of duty, not unlike a
military tour. I owe it to my community," he explains of his work
with youngsters on various levels.
Itís hard to pin down this guy who is always on the go, lecturing
about music, filmmaking and society from Clark Atlanta University to
the Savannah College of Art & Design. In February, he was a
panelist at the Hip Hop Congress Midwest Summit at the University of
Michigan-Ann Arbor, discussing how hip hop films can link cultures and
identities. From there, he facilitated a spirited overview on how the
media portrays African-Americans, for a UW-Milwaukee forum.
"Music is a form of activism," offers the 37-year-old,
who has been involved in creating more than 100 music videos over the
past decade. He labored in the high-powered vineyards of Atlanta, New
York and Los Angeles with some of the stellar characters in the hip
hop firmament. Among them were Ludacris, Lil Jon, Gangstarr and Goodie
Mob, giving him a national platform.
"You need to do that to further your career," Whitmore
Whitmore has earned some 15 gold, platinum and multiplatinum
plaques for producing and directing music videos and was recently
nominated for the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation-funded
2008 Media Arts Fellowship program through the Renew Media
Throughout it all, Whitmore retained his Milwaukee roots, moving
back in 2003 to raise his daughter, Nile, now 10. However, because of
his current traveling and job commitments, she now lives in Los
Angeles with her mom, where Whitmore visits her regularly.
His interest in film came early. At age 13, he was already using a
borrowed video camera to shoot his own mysteries and Westerns while
still a pupil at Milwaukeeís Burroughs Middle School. Whitmore
subsequently earned a degree in radio/TV/film from UW-Oshkosh,
creating its first music video television show.
Now he has his eyes fixed on additional documentary and feature
"I have the chance to interview Mike Tyson," Whitmore
says, eying a new documentary about the often-in-trouble former boxing
champ. "The story is more about him being the personification of
urban youth, with parallels to the hip hop world, rather than about
his boxing," he explains.
Whitmore has also been attached as director to the feature film
"Playiní for Money," an urban sports comedy expected to be
filmed this summer in Milwaukee.
According to Whitmore, at some point in your life, you need to
determine who you are, whether a writer, musician, filmmaker or
"You then need to create a body of work to reflect that,"
Rubin Whitmore II is doing just that.