Writer / Michael Durr
Naptown Narratives is a docuseries created by Anthony Murdock II in partnership with LaKesha Lorene that celebrates the culture of Indianapolis through amplifying Black storytellers.
”My organization, Circle City Storytellers is the leading digital resource hub for Black storytellers so it only made sense to launch this resource with a series like Naptown Narratives that allows the community to build,” says Anthony Murdock II.
Murdock’s role has been providing the vision for the Naptown Narratives. Early on he collaborated with LaKesha Lorene, CEO of Loving Life Productions, with an idea to celebrate everyday heroes by providing a platform to host stories.
“I knew I had to partner with LaKesha’s production company to make that idea come to life,” Murdock says. “With the stellar production of LaKesha’s company and our support from Life In Indy we were able to create a partnership this city has never seen.”
“My role as producer of this series and in partnering with Murdock and Circle City Storytellers has been to really allow the viewers to get an intimate look at greatness in a way they have never seen before,” Lorene says. “Sometimes we think about that word, greatness, and it comes with a perception of a certain class, color, creed, or ‘thing’ and what we are doing in this docuseries is shattering those perceived notions and through these powerful storytellers reminding others of how important they are to the community they serve.”
The duo launched their first season in 2020, featuring five episodes with five storytellers and have since shared more than 27 Black stories throughout the last two seasons in the docuseries. They are now producing their third season and have continued to grow and tell impactful, motivating and inspirational stories.
“From the beginning, I’ve wanted to make sure we put beautiful Black stories on big stages,” Murdock says.
Murdock is now a professor at Butler University and teaches future entrepreneurs in Lacey’s School of Business.
“When my students walk in, and see me, a Black man, with a law degree, with multiple businesses giving back on this big stage in education it leaves a lasting impact,” he adds. “Not only in what I’m providing them practically, but in what I am providing them on a personal level. When people see the storytellers from Naptown Narratives I know it will inspire them to trust in the power of their own stories. And leverage those stories to help and inspire the next.”
“As an artist, a Black woman artist, who works in front of the camera and behind the camera, I notice so often that Black storytellers, whether they be actors, orators, public personalities, etc., are often mitigated to defending a need to exist,” Lorene says. “And in doing that our stories have been limited to constantly seeking to prove our worth to a percentage of people who will never be interested nor invested in our humanity. Those are not stories I’m interested in telling. I am inspired to tell THESE stories because they come from a place of authenticity and relatability.”
It is clear that Naptown Narratives is having an incredible impact, by providing tangible pieces of moving art that the community can not only digest but also help to create and grow.
“When you can control your narrative, the world is forced to recognize it and see you through a lens of truth,” Murdock says.
With the goal of celebrating others, the team is excited about continuing to evolve and grow this platform. You can watch episodes of Naptown Narratives at circlecitystorytellers.org or on Loving Life Productions LLC YouTube channel. Season three will premiere in August, so be sure to stay connected to them on any or all of the following social accounts, @murdock_ii @circlecitystorytellers, @therealakeshalorene and @loving_life_productions.
“Our community is continually growing in the most beautiful ways, and it really excites me that we get to be a part of that growth with this creative medium,” Lorene says.
Murdock also has an ebook available now called The Art of Providing Value, that helps brands and businesses consistently provide value to customers and employers. He also hosts Mastermind workshops in his Moments with Murdock initiative, that gives practical tools for business-minded individuals who are often under-capitalized, under-resourced and overlooked. You can visit murdockllc.org for more information about the resources and initiatives he provides to the community.
Lorene has a project coming up this spring that is an urban crime drama called “Line of Justice” and the pilot will be shot here in Indianapolis. You can follow this project and others at lovinglifeproductions.com.