It is no secret that the Twin Cities is often the butt of criticism and outside jokes from comedians and individuals who believe the area's only claims to fame are Prince, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and the Metrodome losing its roof a few years back.
Those who live here know that there is much more to the area than meets the media's eye. Many here think it is high time these hometown secrets were given proper exposure so they can be viewed under the right light to those on the outside looking in on what most here know is one of the world's best kept secret. Thanks to filmmaker T.J. Richardson, this prayer has been answered.
"Twin Cities Unknown," is a documentary that presents a close eye on the stories behind the Twin Cities legacy, its fallen heroes, and the many untold stories or mysteries that have been waiting for a platform like this to be heard. The film was created by Minneapolis filmmaker, Richardson – the same man behind the ever popular "All High School Reunion," a yearly event that brings generations of Minneapolis neighbors together to enjoy a flashback to their days of attending proms and homecomings.
Richardson sort of stumbled into filmmaking, realizing he had a knack for putting together documentaries after weaving his family's story together from vacations and holidays on his computer. This transitioned to him producing historic pieces on North and South Minneapolis and St. Paul while also conducting interviews with the cities tastemakers in an effort to pull together the area's story. Individuals like Spike Moss and Mahmoud El-Kati lent a voice to the Twin Cities are and are just two of those featured on this DVD.
"We've seen the movies. We've seen the 'Boys in the Hood,' 'The New Jack Citys,' but the world has never seen us," said Richardson. "If we don't support each other, who is going to do it? Atlanta and L.A. aren't going to come to Minnesota and blow it up for us, we have to blow it up ourselves."
In the documentary, Richardson also examines the Twin Cities music scene, something that he holds very near and dear to his heart. He examines many of the artists who have helped put the region on the map, and also some of its underground and up and coming artists who, as Richardson states, will be the best people to take the message of the Twin Cities global.
"We need our artists to rep. the city the way they live it. Don't get on a mic and talk about Jay Z's lifestyle. We don't live like that here," said Richardson. "We need our own sound again. When you hear a song from Atlanta or New York, you know that's where the artists are from, just like when you hear someone from Minnesota rapping, you can hear their city in their music. We need our artists to take our message out to the world and that starts with having pride in where you came from which most of us do."
Richardson's DVD is selling all over the world, and is already setting the foundation for a part two to this important piece. To learn more about Richardson and his filmmaking career, visit: www.twincitiesunknown.com.