The 116 Life Ep. 51: Faith and Storytelling with Rich Perez

Hey family! Welcome to another episode of The 116 Life. Hosts Ace Harris and Meah Evans welcomed a very special guest, Rich Perez, to the show. As we ushered in the new year, Rich’s excitement was palpable, and it set the tone for an incredibly enriching conversation.

Rich, a father to a teenage son, opened up about how he leverages their shared passions for hip hop, fashion, and pop culture to forge a stronger bond with his child. It’s a beautiful reminder of how common interests can be the bridge to deeper relationships with our loved ones.

From Truce to Church Planting

Reflecting on his formative years, Rich recounted his time with Truce, a traveling music and theater group. Their mission was to present the gospel through their art in inner cities and across the globe. This experience was not only foundational for Rich’s artistic journey but also for his spiritual growth.

Transitioning into pastoring and church planting, Rich aimed to create a space that resonated with the “culture of the middle.” This concept is a tribute to his immigrant roots and his upbringing in inner-city New York. He highlighted the importance of listening as a leader, sharing how a decade of pastoring honed his ability to listen and lead with greater empathy and understanding.

The Impact of Pastoring on Personal Growth

Delving deeper into our conversation, Rich shared how his ten years in ministry profoundly influenced his personal development. His journey from pastoring to storytelling and filmmaking is a testament to the transformative power of embracing new vocations. Rich’s experiences have enriched his empathy and shaped his decision to explore new creative avenues.

“It Stays with Us”: A Story of Grief and Expression

Rich’s short film, “It Stays with Us,” is a poignant exploration of grief, particularly among young black and brown boys. Inspired by the loss of his mother and its impact on his younger brother, the film is a heartfelt call to allow space for sorrow and emotional expression. Rich’s work underscores the significance of embracing our emotions and imagination, both in our creative endeavors and in our faith.

Living Deeply for Authentic Storytelling

For aspiring storytellers and filmmakers, Rich offered invaluable advice: live deeply and authentically. He encouraged creators to draw from their own life experiences, to engage in self-reflection, and to approach others with compassion. These practices, Rich believes, are the bedrock of substance and inspiration in storytelling.

The Role of Emotions in the Creative Process

The discussion ventured into the depths of human emotions and their role in storytelling. Rich emphasized the importance of vulnerability, trust, and imagination in the creative process. He urged creators to allow their life experiences to inform their work, ensuring that their stories are both meaningful and impactful.

A Platform for Complex Human Emotions

“It Stays with Us” serves as a powerful platform to address the complexities of human emotions. Rich’s personal narrative and the theme of grief in the film highlight the often-overlooked expression of sadness in young black boys. It’s a compelling reminder of the need for emotional honesty in our society.

The 116 Life: Final Thoughts and Gratitude

As Ace and Meah wrapped up the episode, they expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to cultivate such meaningful conversations. Rich’s parting words, “Thank you all for letting me be here. This was great,” resonated with the spirit of gratitude that permeated their discussion.

We hope this episode leaves you inspired and equipped with new perspectives on emotions, faith, and storytelling. Thank you for tuning in and see you next episode. Until then, keep living deeply and embracing your story.

The 116 Life Ep 51 Faith and Storytelling Rich Perez alt pic 1 with camera on set
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The 116 Life Ep 51 Rich Perez Faith and Storytelling alt pic 3 coffee shop with Jawn O


Affirmations and New Year’s Resolutions (00:00:00)¬†Opening the show with affirmations and discussing New Year’s resolutions.

Introducing Special Guest Rich Perez (00:00:45) Welcoming Rich Perez, discussing his talents and excitement for the new year.

Parenting a Teenager and Building Friendship (00:01:36) Rich Perez’s excitement about parenting his teenager and building a friendship dynamic.

Influence of Hip Hop and Fashion on Parenting (00:02:29) Discussing the influence of hip hop, fashion, and culture on parenting a teenage son.

Philosophy of Change and Evolving Relationships (00:05:48) Exploring the concept of change and evolving relationships in parenting and life.

Passion for Storytelling and Theater (00:07:48) Rich Perez’s journey into storytelling and theater, including his formative experiences with truce.

Transition to Pastoral Ministry and Church Planting (00:15:17) Transitioning from truce to pastoral ministry, including the decision to start a church.

Cultural Identity and Church Establishment (00:18:03) Exploring the cultural identity and the establishment of a church for the “culture of the middle.”

Reflections on Pastoring and Leadership (00:21:07) Rich Perez’s reflections on pastoring, shaping him as a better listener and leader.

The burden of leadership (00:22:35) Rich discusses the emotional burden and complexity of shepherding a congregation for ten years, leading to increased empathy.

Transitioning from ministry to filmmaking (00:24:40) Rich talks about the difficulties and excitement of transitioning from pastoring to filmmaking, supported by family and friends.

The value of life experiences in filmmaking (00:28:15) Rich explains the advantages of entering filmmaking with life experiences and storytelling skills gained over two decades.

The inspiration behind “It Stays with Us” (00:31:29) Rich shares the personal inspiration for the short film, centered on grief and the complexities of allowing young black and brown boys to express sorrow.

The art of feeling and imagination in faith (00:35:06) Rich delves into the importance of embracing emotions and using imagination to understand faith and the divine.

Advice for aspiring storytellers and filmmakers (00:44:53) Rich encourages storytellers to live deeply, pay attention to themselves, and be compassionate and empathetic to create meaningful content.

Promoting the podcast “Becoming Ourselves” (00:47:42) Speaker 3 shares details about the upcoming podcast “Becoming Ourselves” and invites listeners to connect with him on social media.

Introduction and gratitude (00:48:04) Rich expresses gratitude for being on the show, followed by the hosts expressing appreciation for the audience.

Closing remarks and sign-off (00:48:07) The hosts express gratitude for the opportunity to cultivate conversations and sign off, announcing the next episode.

Related Radio Show: 116 Life