By JR Valrey, the Minister of Information
Video games have replaced the communal feeling that generations, before this one, used to feel when we used to compete against each other while watching “Family Feud”, “Jeopardy”, “The Price is Right”, or “Wheel of Fortune”.
Now, especially in the COVID pandemic, it’s all about games with names like “Call of Duty”, “2K21”, “Madden ‘21”, and the “Grand Theft Auto series” that young people go to to get that non-physical communal feeling. The problem is that nowadays, the games don’t teach anything but reactionary violence, and how to catch a ball electronically and score. We are in the Information Age, which has actually made us dumber, by giving us so many options that we choose to learn, and do only what we are interested in; which creates experts but less rounded people, who are socially inept.
As a solution, Siraj Fowler, his family, and the community of youth around them have put together a game show, called “DNA” aka “Discovering New Adventures”; that is totally dedicated to science. Science is very important for us to raise the interest of Black youth in, because with technology moving at warp-speed it can open our communities, and our many issues, up to new future possibilities. Inspiration is everything. Check out the youtube channel @dna._fam and check out Siraj Fowler in his own words.
JR Valrey: What is the name of the game that your family created, and what is the story behind its creation?
Siraj Fowler: The name of the game show that our family created is called DNA (Discovering New Adventures). DNA is an idea that we came up with about three years ago, due to our son being in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program designed to give children, of color, the opportunity to learn from professionals that look like them and gain footing in an industry they’re grossly underrepresented in. So we had the desire to bring STEM to other children who weren’t afforded those same opportunities. We weren’t able to bring it into fruition because of our hectic lives. So, when the pandemic came and turned everyone’s lives upside down, we used it as a sign from G-d to do something that we wouldn’t have otherwise had the time to.
JR Valrey: Why is a game show like this needed?
Siraj Fowler: A game show like this is needed because there are far too many African American children suffering from the disconnect of their people’s history. If they’re reminded of the countless ones who contributed to the way the world functions while learning fun STEM facts, they’ll identify with it, in a powerful way and be compelled to make their own contributions.
JR Valrey: What do you hope the participants and the audience get out of the game?
Siraj Fowler: We hope the participants and audience understand that information on STEM topics doesn’t have to be stale and fall within certain confines, we’re free to create a world of data how we see fit. We want them to feel a kinship and hopefully are inclined to trust, that this show was designed for the betterment of the people and everyone’s a winner.
JR Valrey: What are your plans for the game? Do you plan to just continue on television or will it be a board game eventually?
Siraj Fowler: Well, our immediate plans are to continue pushing the show and yes, we have quite a few plans for the show that we’re excited about, but we’re not at liberty to disclose them at this time. We’re still solidifying relationships with the community, to build a strong foundation. So it’s one step at a time for us.
JR Valrey: Who is your target audience?
Siraj Fowler: Our target audience is everyone, it’s a family game show so the entire family can enjoy it. The pandemic didn’t have an age limit, so everyone can learn from the information shared.
JR Valrey: What role did your teenage children play in helping the game to come to life?
Siraj Fowler: All of the children involved were eager participants who were inspired by the vision of the show. They worked really hard despite us filming during Ramadan, and at the start of the pandemic. We are so grateful to every youth involved, and for them working diligently to pull it off. Without them there would be no show.
JR Valrey: What games were you inspired by growing up?
Siraj Fowler: We’re old school, so we loved playing board games, and the early days of kids and not so kids game shows that involved brain teasers, monetary treats, and obstacle courses ranging from Fun House, Double Dare, The Price Is Right, Jeopardy, to the Wheel of Fortune.
JR Valrey: When and how can people watch it? How can people become participants?
Siraj Fowler: The pilot is a 4 episode special covering the coronavirus on DNA (Discovering New Adventures) and is available on our YouTube channel 24-7. Search “Fam DNA” and it’ll take you right to it. We just wrapped production, so stay tuned for our special on vaccinations, and season two, to follow. Anyone who wants to be a participant can follow our YouTube channel and Instagram: @dna._fam when shooting schedules are available, we’ll send out casting calls with the information to register. Or visit our website: www.famdna.com (under construction)
JR Valrey: Where can people find you online?
Siraj Fowler: For now we can be found on YouTube under FamDNA at any time, followed on Instagram: @dna._fam or go to our website: www.famdna.com (under construction).