By Dylan Deprey
The term “Ghetto” holds many connotations. Type it into Google, ask a friend, ask a neighbor. Who knows? One may get three different definitions from one person.
Though most meanings fall somewhere along the lines of, “a part of a city in which members of a minority group live,” the term is also used to describe the people, music and culture.
For GhettoMade and its multimedia director, Stephen Mitchell, the “Ghetto” is not defined by the many lines that divide the City of Milwaukee. GhettoMade is an online media presence that strives on promoting the ever-growing underground entertainment scene, and documenting the untold stories of trauma and triumph for those that call the hood, “home.”
“There is a stigma for anything that comes out the hood, like there is initially a stigma against it until it becomes popular and everybody is with it,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell and his crew travel throughout the city to create a space for neighbors, up-and-coming artists, entertainers and entrepreneurs to share their stories and build their brands.
GhettoMade is the media portion for the grassroots promotional branding company, Arcane OmniMedia.
GhettoMade has most recently done advertising work for Mike Scrills and his Happy Hustlers’ clothing store at the Milwaukee Mall (2100 W. North Ave.) They have also spotlighted community programs and events including, Heal the Hood 2017 and Praise 4 Peace 2017. They have also plugged hundreds of local Hip-Hop and R&B artists with spots for music videos and concert promotions.
“I think GhettoMade could be exactly what the underground scene needs,” Mitchell said “Somebody has to show some recognition right now, and that’s basically what we are.”
Mitchell said the seed for this path was planted early on as a kid. Before shows like 106&Park, he always thought about being a rapping and singing host for a show that would interview and promote hip hop artists.
He worked at becoming a rapper. As he grew older with his craft, his message matured as well. He said that he had to remove himself from the convoluted gangsta rap lifestyle. He, instead, created a warped conscious that cloaked political messages within his music. Though he gave up on recording, it was the groundwork for what GhettoMade would later be.
GhettoMade’s first appearance online was interviews with known Sherman Park advocates Vaun Mayes and Frank Nitty II.
“We weren’t flying the GhettoMade flag at the time, but they were the first opportunity for us to really prove ourselves in covering what was going on,” Mitchell said. “It’s kind of year-mark for us because we started that day.”
He, along with local news media, covered protests at the former BP Gas Station near Sherman Park. The incident came after an employee fired a gun in the air after issues with youth in the store.
Mitchell said that he wanted to report as a neighbor versus how the mainstream media would report the situation.
“They picked the bad guy and the good guy, and then they put the kids in the middle of it, and spoke about the children in the situation that were the victims,” Mitchell said.
He added that GhettoMade was a counterbalance in the community, and a spot to avoid sensationalizing the negative.
“If it’s a heinous story we’re going to tell it, but there is also a responsibility to the people that we report to because not only are we reporting it but we actually have a stake in the community, and we actually live here,” Mitchell said.
The GhettoMade crew can be seen wielding cameras all around Milwaukee and capturing Milwaukee’s highs, lows and day-today.
“Our targeted audience will know somebody on the GhettoMade page,” Mitchell said. “If they look through the videos, they will see themselves or somebody else because we’re literally everywhere throughout the city.”
GhettoMade plans on expanding its brand, and has ventured out of Milwaukee into markets in the Twin Cities, MN, Rockford, IL and Chicago, IL.
Mitchell said that it was important for every small town across the country to have the opportunity to share their talent and stories.
He said if the advertising dollars kept coming in he would be able to provide more jobs and then for people who aren’t beholden by the mainstream media structure.
“So, in actuality it’s creating a different industry that already needed structure and we created a different lane outside of a lane that everybody else already has clogged up,” Mitchell said.
Check out GhettoMade at https://www.facebook.com/soghettomade/