2020 was an eventful year that birthed a new era of creativity and ingenuity. Although the pandemic is not over just yet, we have come a long way since the beginning.
I interviewed one of Houston’s most talented CEOs and Prairie View A&M University’s most dynamic professor, Teresa Dowell-Vest. We chatted about the genesis of her career, surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, and a few of her upcoming projects.
Born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, she is now living in Houston, Texas, with her wife and dogs, and certainly making the most of it.
“I am the founder and CEO of Diva Blue Communications LLC, which is my multimedia production company. That includes Deva Blue Productions, which is a full-service production company. Which has allowed me to self-publish a number of titles, including The Death of Cliff Huxtable.”
Dowell-Vest said she wrote a blog post in 2015, around the time the allegations started to surface around the Cosby name, she said,
“I decided to write something that really felt cathartic and I was assuring myself that I wasn’t losing an actual person [Cliff Huxtable] because he didn’t actually exist; he was a piece of perfect fiction created by an imperfect person.”
Dowell-Vest continued to say, “by killing off Cliff Huxtable, I hope to illustrate that Bill Cosby and Cliff Huxtable were not the same people. In fact, one was simply a character.”
“The Death of Cliff Huxtable” took place last summer and was a live reading featured by a panel discussion. It was a total of 15 episodes dedicated to each chapter in her book, and was followed by a panel discussion that touched on topics like Black Lives Matter, the Me Too Movement, Imposter Syndrome, and so much more.
Along with running her own production company Dowell-Vest has been an educator for 30 years now and continues to inspire and educate the youth in every way possible.
She says, “being a student who had, you know, just life-shaping educators in my life, it’s almost as if I seek out the educational opportunities in almost any sort of artistic or literary occasions. I try to find those ways to share with other people new ideas, and that essentially is education.”
When schools shut down in March, students and professors were left to find hope amid a hectic semester. Dowell-Vest curated a virtual lecture series with 19 industry professionals, entertainment and broadcast journalists who were stuck at home last spring. The pandemic allowed her to find innovative ways to continue telling stories and continue to educate, despite not being in person with one another.
Dowell-Vest is now The Director of Film and Television Production for Prairie View, A&M University, and the Department of Languages and Communication. She is also an Assistant Professor of Communication with the focus on Media Production.
Some upcoming projects to look out for is a feature film titled ‘Tattoo.’ The film will tell a story of a woman who keeps her promise to her grandmother to make a quilt in the family’s tradition. But she decides to turn her body into a quilt with a series of tattoos that tell her life story. Along with a web series titled “This, That, and the Other.” It’s the story of three sisters who have believed their father was dead their whole life until one of them decides to do her family tree and discovers he had been alive for the last 30 years.
She says she is looking forward to starting the production of her films this summer.
Photo: Teresa Dowell-Vest