“Beyond Measure” shines a light on extraordinary black men

Cerritos+College+English+professor+Damon+Cagnolatti+and+Cerritos+colleg+alumni+Antoine+%E2%80%9CAJ%E2%80%9D+Girard.+talked+about+their+experience+in+the+film+on+February+20%2C+2020+Photo+credit%3A+Derrick+Coleman

Cerritos College English professor Damon Cagnolatti and Cerritos colleg alumni Antoine “AJ” Girard. talked about their experience in the film on February 20, 2020 Photo credit: Derrick Coleman

Daniel Suarez Jr., Staff Writer

Filmmaker, business owner and professor, Ryan Hoyle, premiered his film “Beyond Measure” in the telecommunications center of Cerritos College on Thursday Feb. 20th. In attendance were dozens of students and faculty, including Director of Public Affairs Maya Walker, Vice President of Academic Affairs Rick Miranda, and President/Superintendent Jose Fierro.

The 2019 documentary short-film, “Beyond Measure” highlights varieties of black male success and achievement, expanding far beyond the pro athletes and entertainers that typically receive the most exposure.

The film features five men of color, whom each go into detail describing their background and the mindset that prepared them for the many obstacles they had to overcome. Cerritos College English professor Damon Cagnolatti and CC alumni Antoine “AJ” Girard were two of the five featured.

From postgraduate college students to local business owners, audiences were able to hear from a diverse group of successful black men which is all according to Hoyle’s mission. “In academia, we don’t really see representation of black people. We want to bring that (exposure) to the community, let students see and hear from people that are where they’re trying to get.”

After the film, Hoyle, AJ, and Professor Cagnolatti held an open Q&A that lasted nearly two hours. The community dialogue bounced from topics both related and unrelated from the film, while the three men willingly shared their perspectives on all questions.

Ryan Hoyle is a self taught film-maker who has been practicing for about 10 years. He started by documenting his own travels and creating film recaps for events before also becoming a producer of other short films.

He first premiered Beyond Measure on Feb. 21, 2019 at the Harkins Theater in Cerritos.

Hoyle is also the cofounder/co-owner of Play Nice LBC, located in Long Beach. What first started as a vintage retail store transitioned into a full service marketing and event production company, “We rent out the space for events, along with hosting our own open-mic nights and community conversations,” he said.

AJ is a black artist originally from Los Angeles. He studied art history and performing arts at the prestigious Howard University in Washington D.C. In the film, AJ discusses what identity means to him, and how he directed a passion for art into service for his community. One way, he finds, is sharing successful men in art like Basquiat

“I feel like oftentimes we try to fit ourselves into a narrative that wasn’t designed for us to fit into,” says AJ, “Your ability to imagine a possibility is helped by familiarity, seeing someone that looks like you occupying the space you want.”

AJ spoke in support of a community center called The Underground Museum in Los Angeles. He stresses the importance of these black-owned spaces as providers of activities and services for specific communities.

“Public and city-owned community centers don’t see themselves as culturally significant spaces. We believe the specifics are the most essential parts.”

The event also had a buffet for visitors that consisted of meatloaf and cornbread. The documentary is available for viewing anytime on YouTube.com (“Beyond Measure- Cerritos College BHM).