King Vader – Hood Naruto
Words + Interview By Shaniya Pippin
King Vader is a very popular Youtuber, most known for his videos “Hood Naruto The Movie”, “Hood Dragon Ball Super” and “End Game (Parody)”. He is also known to parody music videos and is a big fan of anime and superhero films. This writer, director and producer aims to become the best of his generation. Check him out!
What was your childhood like?
My childhood was very interesting; my mother and father would be at work, and my younger brother and I would have to wait for them to get home to be able play outside so we were forced to use our creativity. We would make things out of paper, creating our own worlds by tapping into our imaginations in so many creative ways.
How did growing up in Maryland shape you into the person you are today?
I feel like it was really the environment – the people and culture that Maryland and the D.M.V. provided gave me the tools to become the person I am today.
How was the move from Maryland to Los Angeles? Was it hard to adjust?
It took me a while to prepare for the move to Los Angeles. Once it happened, I never looked back. I began working even harder on mastering my craft.
How did you develop your love for filming/acting/directing?
I developed my love for filming/acting/directing when I first moved to Maryland. I would stay in Washington D.C. with my cousin and manager @Iamwritterboy who first introduced me to the world of filmmaking, which all started by him asking me to be a part of his short film. I tried it and instantly fell in love. My family left D.C. and moved to Maryland, and I ended up living with my cousin in DC during summers. We spent so much time in front of the camera, I decided it was what I wanted to do professionally.
You’re different within the concepts of your videos from other Youtubers by using Anime and also popular dances/songs for your videos. What made you start doing that?
I feel like I have always had a love for things like anime and superhero movies, and I have always loved all types of music. So I guess my brain found a way to mesh all of it together. I was able to create a new genre within social media with what I do now creatively.
Social media has shown us that there are more black Anime fans than we thought. From your perspective, has Anime always been a thing in the black community?
I don’t think anime has always been a popular thing in the Black community, but one that has become more prevalent and a main topic of conversation within the past two years. I think it’s been brought to light and I feel like a lot of people weren’t as open with watching it because it was considered nerdy and unpopular, but with my work I feel that everyone watching can be free within themselves and not be judged for doing so.
What are some of your favorite Anime’s right now?
My top favorite anime currently are My Hero Academia, Naruto, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Death Note, Seven Deadly Sins, One Punch Man and Dragonball Z.
Are you interested in anything else within the Japanese culture?
I want to one day learn Japanese and master the language.
Is Japan on your bucket list of places to travel to or have you already been?
I haven’t been to Japan yet, but it is my dream travel location. Once my feet touch the soil, I know I will have made it in life. From being born in Chicago and raised in Maryland, it says a lot to be on the other side of the world. It’s a lifelong goal.
What inspired Hood Naruto and did you think it would be this big of a success?
Hood Naruto was inspired by the character, Naruto and all he embodies and stands for, especially never giving up. That message really resonates with me, and being able to recreate that in my own way has always been a vision of mine. Once I saw people watch and respond to my other videos, I wanted to take it one step further, so that’s when I created the movie. I’m currently considering a part 2 because of how well the first one was received.
What is your creative process like when creating these videos?
I have a really unique creative process. I see videos play out in my head; I envision myself in a theater, in front of a big screen. I try to bring the video to life by recreating what I see on paper – I draw out my shot list, gather the essential parts together like the actors and crew, secure locations, costumes/wardrobe, etc. Once I have all the tools I need in place, I’ll begin shooting. Once I get to editing, I’ll run into walls trying to piece each scene together. I want to form a perfect story.
How do you stay focused?
My focus comes from seeing my inspirations reach their goals. It makes me push harder to create more, especially when I see the greats such as Will Smith drop amazing movie trailers. It gives me drive. My friends and family also keep me focused – I want to change their lives too.
Tell me about your team, Wolf Graphic?
My team is a collective of creators, directors, actors, rappers, and photographers. We are made up of a lot of unique talented individuals, which makes us even stronger as a team. We want to do things differently with our approach of creating content. The team is made up of some of the most talented people on social media and my team Wolf Graphic is going to be the face of the industry in the future. It feels good to have them on my team and in my corner.
I used to have a team when I was on Vine, but my vision wasn’t coming to life. So I knew I had to expand but couldn’t wrap my mind around a new name. My best friend Tazz suggested I incorporate my favorite animal, which is a wolf, so that was a start. We came up with a list of names such as Wolf Pyramid, Wolf Legacy and ended up with Wolf Graphic.
Is there anyone who inspires you in particular? If so, who?
My inspiration comes from Will Smith, Leonardo Dicaprio, Denzel Washington, Michael B Jordan, my older cousin @Iamwritterboy, as well as different anime characters like Naruto, Deku and Goku.
Who is your favorite director and why?
My favorite director is Edgar Wright because he is an underdog. He is really great at what he does and I feel he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. His shot selection and eye stands out the most to me, especially in films like Baby Driver and Scott Pilgrim; the color of each shot he chooses is what I have fallen in love with.
What advice do you have for young people wanting to become filmmakers/directors/actors?
I would tell them it is never too late to get started. You have to believe in yourself; it’s a big thing at times and support isn’t always going to be there, so it is crucial that you are able to believe in yourself. You have to make them believe in you and make what you say a reality. Stay consistent, stay creative, stay encouraged. I always say if I get knocked down, I’m going to stand up so never be afraid to step outside the box. There are ten other people who want the same thing, so you have to be willing to go and get it before they do.
Who are some people you would want to work with in the near future?
Some people I would like to work with in the near future are Edgar Wright, Donald Glover and Will Smith. They’re iconic and I think we all think differently, so it would be a great fit.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years of your career?
I hope to accomplish producing films and movies, showcasing them in theaters with Wolf Graphic, being a self-sustaining company, seeing my friends and family happy as well as having billboards of future projects. I want everything that I am doing now to be the groundwork and foundation of where I am headed. I want people to see my progression. Filmmaking is my passion and I’m gravitating toward that and elevating with my team as we change the world and be an example for people that hard work pays off.
Follow King Vader on Instagram @kingvader and subscribe to his Youtube Channel “King Vader”.
Photo of King Vader By Gyasi C.