UNSCRIPTED: CONVERSATIONS WITH CHRISTIAN JOHN WIKANE is a series of exclusive one-on-one interviews filmed and conducted by director Sekou Luke and music journalist Christian John Wikane that spotlights and celebrates the stories of legendary and innovative artists, their resilience, and their creative regeneration.
Launched in April 2020, Season 1 featured video excerpts from eight interviews with GRAMMY, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning legends, as well as chart-topping singers and songwriters: André De Shields, Nona Hendryx, Melba Moore, Ruth Pointer, Valerie Simpson, Kathy Sledge, Bruce Sudano, and Fonzi Thornton. Season 2 continued with icons and innovators Joshie Jo Armstead, Cory Daye, Lisa Fischer, Christian Holder, Van Hunt, Rahsaan Patterson, Janice Pendarvis, and Ray Shell. All interviews have been published in tandem with PopMatters, an online magazine of cultural criticism. To date, viewers have spent 600,000+ minutes watching UNSCRIPTED on YouTube.
Producer / Director
Sekou Luke is a Harlem-based filmmaker and producer whose creative mediums include over 10 years of directing, filmmaking, photography, acting, and other forms of media & content creation. Sekou Luke is the CEO and founder of Sekou Luke Studio and REBEL Media, whose established creative collaborators include Amazon Prime Video, The Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage, The Billie Holiday Theatre, ROC-United, V-Day, The Schott Foundation, Ford Foundation, Family Values @ Work, Step Afrika, The Creative Jenius Report and PopMatters Magazine.
His film series for Family Values @ Work was used to introduce President Obama at the 2016 White House Summit on Family. His storytelling has taken him global from behind the scenes at Paris Fashion Week to The Oscars to the El Paso Mexico border. He received a Telly Award for his piece “The Time is Now” (feat. Thandie Newton and Chantal Georges). His photography and design has been featured on the book covers for “Behind the Kitchen Door” and “Forked” by Saru Jayaraman.
Focusing on working collaboratively during the pandemic, Sekou has launched REBEL MEDIA, with an emphasis on creating visually rich story content that is transformative, community-building, and generative. This collaborative approach has been the primary creative and/or production engine for the launch of projects such as HARLEM PARADE, UNSCRIPTED: CONVERSATIONS WITH CHRISTIAN JOHN WIKANE, FINDING YOUR BIG: THE MASTERCLASS by Olubode Shawn Brown, and MERLINA. MERLINA, the short film written and performed live by Liza Jessie Peterson and co-produced by Nona Hendryx, was the winner of BEST EXPERIMENTAL SHORT in the NEW YORK INDIE SHORT AWARDS 2021 and has been officially selected for THE HARLEM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2021, MONTREAL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2021 and NEW YORK NO LIMITS FILM SERIES 2021.
Christian John Wikane is a NYC-based music journalist and essayist. Since 2003, he's interviewed more than 500 recording artists, songwriters, and producers, including Paul McCartney, Janelle Monáe, Donna Summer, Pete Seeger, Annie Lennox, Maurice White, Jimmy Scott, Carly Simon, and Kenny Gamble. He is currently a Contributing Editor for PopMatters, an online magazine of cultural criticism, and co-producer of the video series "UNSCRIPTED: Conversations with Christian John Wikane," which features his interviews with GRAMMY, Tony, and Emmy-winning artists. He recently had the honor of contributing to HBO's Emmy-nominated Tina Turner documentary, TINA (2021), and serving as "History Consultant" on DIONNE WARWICK: DON'T MAKE ME OVER (2021).
Christian has had the privilege of curating and moderating several events at the Apollo Theater for Apollo Education's "Live Wire" series, including "Legendary: A Conversation with Dionne Warwick and Melba Moore," "Bold Soul Sisters," a panel discussion featuring Nona Hendryx, Ruth Pointer, Kathy Sledge, and Rochelle Fleming, and "She's A Rebel: An Interview with Martha Reeves, Sarah Dash, and Joshie Jo Armstead." He's also moderated two events for the Brooklyn Museum, "From Studio 54 to Number One" and "The Soulfulness of David Bowie" featuring Carlos Alomar and Robin Clark, and conducted a live Q&A with disco legends D.C. LaRue and Felipe Rose (original co-founder and Native of Village People) for Queer/Art/Film's screening of Thank God It's Friday (1978) at IFC Center.
Since 2010, Christian has authored extensive liner notes for more than 200 album re-issues by major and independent record companies in the U.S. and U.K. He's also conducted interviews for several BBC Radio documentaries, Sirius XM's Studio 54 channel, Chase Bank ("Inside Access"), and hosted/produced more than a dozen concerts at Joe’s Pub (the Public Theater), the Blue Note, Iridium Jazz Club, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard. He's guest lectured for Barnard College's "Harlem Semester" Program and presented at EMP Pop Conference, the Parrish Art Museum, Apollo Education's "Master Class" Series, and NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music. He's the sole author of Casablanca Records: Play It Again, a 50,000-word oral history that documented the 35th anniversary of Casablanca Records.