The more Brooklyn continues to change, the more it remains the same. On a muggy Friday afternoon in Clinton Hill, two native sons of the borough took time to discuss the sensation that is their acclaimed online series "Money and Violence." Relaxing and noshing on light fare at the trendy Brooklyn Tap House, Moise Verneau and Ray Guercy, the producers of "Money and Violence" and the co-chiefs of the burgeoning media company Cloud9TV, look on as families of all shades break bread mill around the outside patio. In their immediate vicinity, young men and women lounge on patio furniture while enjoying cigars and vibrant conversation--all while the afternoon sunshine begins to set behind the approaching dusk of the weekend.
This scene reflecting the current state of Brooklyn, or any neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification, is the perfect snapshot of juxtaposition. Though the people inhabiting the neighborhoods are diverse in every sense of the word, they seem to be content in their ability to coexist. Therein lies the beauty of "Money and Violence." Verneau, Guercy and their filmmaking team capture the true essence of Brooklyn life, in all of its unstinted beauty and still-present blemishes. The series centers around Rafe (Verneau), an intelligent and sincere man who is trying his hardest to shake free from the ill-gotten clench his Flatbush neighborhood has on his core. Through Rafe, we are introduced to a cadre of characters (including the unpredictable Miz, portrayed with compelling flair by Guercy) who are entrenched in the ubiquitous battle of choosing between morality and survival.
The riveting storytelling flows organically in the online series, as it has captured audiences since its debut approximately a year ago. After going viral at the beginning of 2015, "Money and Violence" has garnered nearly 20 million views on Youtube. The subsequent success has allowed the Cloud9TV team to create a crowd-sourcing campaign that has raised $90,000 to independently fund the second season of the series. Verneau and Guercy have combined their ingenuity and astute business acumen in their quest to remain independent mavericks, despite numerous offers to bring their series to network platforms. As they prepare to commence shooting for season two in the coming months, Verneau and Guercy discuss several topics, including their hard-wrought success, their relationship with the hip-hop community, the ongoing strife their fellow Haitians are facing in the Dominican Republic, and an artist's responsibility to broach social topics. "Money and Violence" has been a flourishing commencement for these young men from the Brooklyn. But the goal of making an undeviating impression in the realms of media stretch well beyond the neighborhoods of Flatbush. And Clinton Hill.