Written by Garrad Lee | Photographed by Paul Wolf
Roderick Red is a staple in Jackson, no matter what part of the city you might be hanging around at any given time. And he is always up to something creative or helping other people find their creative voice.
Red is a current resident of Fondren, but his connection to the neighborhood goes further back. “I’m from Jackson and lived in Fondren on Taylor Street as a child, long before it was known as ‘Fondren’ so I’ve always had a connection to the area,” he says.
After leaving Jackson for Hattiesburg to study Broadcast Production at the University of Southern Mississippi, Red found himself back home. “Fondren’s current upswing in artists and events in the neighborhood is what brought me back after college. Being so close to everything I need is the best part about being here in Fondren,” he says.
But you won’t only find him in Fondren.
In 2012 he founded Red Squared Productions, LLC, a full-service video production company that specializes in commercials and documentaries for companies and non-profits. Red Squared, according to Red, is all about thinking outside of the box to offer video, branding, and multimedia options to help the organizations they work with tell their stories. Red believes that storytelling is the best way to reach “the current uber savvy consumer” and that ultimately benefits both clients and the audiences they want to reach.
Red Squared Productions, LLC has been located in Midtown since 2014. “Midtown is the first time I got to witness a true organic renaissance happen to a neighborhood. The creative energy and quality of art being produced in Midtown is what helped my business grow in the neighborhood and that is what makes the Midtown so special to me.”
Red also keeps office and workspace in Fondren at Mantle, the coworking and incubator space on Duling Avenue, where he is currently a chartered City Club member. The membership gives him access to the facilities Mantle offers, including meeting and conference rooms and open coworking spaces to work and collaborate with others.
Mantle is also one of the locations where Red hosts meet-ups for his other organization, FLEET, which he started a few years ago. “FLEET’s main purpose is to connect, educate, and equip creative professionals in Jackson by offering opportunities to network, collaborate, learn, and sharpen skills,” he says. FLEET’s first meet up was at Coalesce in Downtown Jackson and has also met at the Flamingo in Fondren. “We plan on hosting events all over the city as time goes by, in North, South, and West Jackson, as well as obviously midtown,” Red says.
And FLEET is an actual representation of Red’s association with both Midtown and Fondren. He says, “It is a reference to 133 Millsaps (North Midtown Arts Center). “We call it the ‘ship,’ and this is the FLEET,” basically going out from the mothership to help spread creativity and ideas around the city, and linking Red’s two favorite parts of the city.
“I love living and working within the best two neighborhoods in Jackson,” he says.