Represent the Black Culture

A Howard student whose finally found their calling. Billie Carter-Rankin started her Freshman year as a English major then switched to Journalism, and now she's found her passion with Film.

"The more I got into film, the more I fell in love with it."

Billie is originally from Milwaukee, WI, and it clearly showed when she first went to Howard University. Milwaukee is a very segregated city, but Washington D.C. is the complete opposite. She was surprised to see different cultures in the same vicinity, living happily together because in Milwaukee the Black people live on the north side, Whites are located in the suburban areas and the Hispanics are on the south side. It was a culture shock for Billie, but she's adapted and now she loves the city. 

Billie's major is Film which means she's a photographer, cinematographer and director. 

"It makes me feel good when I represent someone the right way."

Being a black woman, Billie knows the black community isn't always represented correctly in the media, so she makes sure she does her best to show the best sides of the black community.

Billie took a film class that was taught by a professor who attended American Film Institute in California. Students usually get a C in the class because of how difficult it is, but Billie received an A. Her teacher told her "you got a good eye, you should keep it up." Billie thought if someone with those credentials sees the talent in her, then why not go for it?

During her Freshman and Sophomore years in high school, she went on college tour trips with Pathways Milwaukee. They went down south the first year and Billie didn't like the schools. The next year, she was able to travel to see Howard University and she knew it was the place for her.

"I saw myself here," Billie said. "I gotta go here."

She applied, got accepted and received a scholarship. Her mother wanted Billie to stay closer to home, but she knew what she wanted and she went after it.

"I'm so glad that I made that decision."

Billie's expected to graduate in May of 2018 and she plans on going to graduate school. She's been looking at Chicago and New York for potential art schools.

She's also trying to study abroad in London this fall semester. Billie's always looking for the next best thing and nothing's going to stop her from getting it. 

Billie has a digital camera, but she's looking into film photography because "it has that vintage look."

Black people will always hold a special spot in Billie's heart—she will never stop showing love for her culture. She wants to be the person to show the world Black people "set the tone for everything."

Her Freshman year of college was shaky, but she made it through. For anyone leaving Wisconsin, Billie wants to let them know that it's okay to open up and try new things.

"You really have to push yourself to know people."

She's from 9th and Center, and she's came a long way. 

"You can change your reality," said Billie. "You can be whoever you want to be...if it's on your heart you can do it."