Creating a vision with Pharaoh Rigaud

UB student expresses thoughts and emotions through video


On a college campus it can be hard trying to stand out and gain the support and respect of your colleagues.

Videographer Naeem Rigaud, or Pharaoh Rigaud, has been able to do just that, staying focused and keeping at his craft. To date he has upwards of 40 projects under his belt.

Rigaud, a 22-year-old senior media study major, has been refining his video production skills since he came to UB as a freshman. He was first exposed to the craft as a high school student in Brooklyn. Having put together a number of personal projects, he is putting his all into his most recent and intensive project to date, God de Human.

“It’s basically an ambiguous conceptual project about a guy named Osei, essentially who is a human,” Rigaud said. “But in this film you get the sense that he’s in this reality that doesn’t really fit him.”

The project comes as the culmination of all of his experiences as a student at UB, from the social interactions to learned knowledge.

It’s these experiences that will be the initial spark that would start his plans to be a videographer.

“It didn’t start until I got into college and started exposing myself to more of the culture and being around other creators that I really started to dig deep into it,” Rigaud said. “I always had a love for it in a sense, but I never actually got into it until I came here.”

Osei M’Bhaso, the focus of his upcoming video project, is one of the creators that assist in the cultivation of Rigaud’s creative process.

“Pharoah and I have been friends since before he started videography,” M’Bhaso said. “So working on a serious project with him was fun actually. He put an enormous amount of effort into it. All I had to do was portray the character.”

While Rigaud only became fully invested in video production while in college, he created his first video as a sophomore in high school for an English class.

Having the option to create a PowerPoint presentation, write a paper or create a video, Riguad chose to take the less traveled path and created a video.

“So on my little Canon camera at the time I did a little video project, going through the whole process of it and presenting it,” Rigaud said. “I realized I liked doing this and I was really into it. It was a weird gratification that I never had for anything before.”

Rigaud has garnered the respect and support of his colleagues on campus, not only for his creative ability, but also for his determination.

Collaborating with other visual artists such as photographer Erica Jae, a health and human services alumna.

“I think his video production is amazing. Being a fellow photographer, I respect his eye for things,” Jae said. “He seems to have his hands in everything, whether it’s DJing, cinematography, photography or modeling.”

Jae, along with a friend, were featured in Rigaud’s video Party Girls, a project he released two years ago.

Since then, Jae has described his progression in skill as “incredible.”

The appeal Rigaud creates for his projects can be found in the subjectivity of concepts that can be taken on a person-to-person basis.

“I just create the work and it depends on how the person sees it,” Rigaud said. “I never got to the point where I said this is going to be me, distinguished from everybody else, I really paint whatever comes to mind.”

Regarding his God de Human project, the concept is one that is very relatable.

It’s the story of trying to refine and find oneself; something most college student can appreciate.

“Throughout the film it’s [M’Bhaso] trying to escape this false reality that he doesn’t really see himself a part of, but at the same time he is of this environment,” Rigaud said. “Everything around him is a reflection of himself. So it’s kind of like him trying to escape himself, but at the same time trying to find himself.”

Being a senior, Rigaud’s time in college is coming to an end, but he has no intention of slowing down.

Instead, he sees his upcoming God de Human project to be just a stepping-stone to greater things to come in his creative career.

Just as the influences of college spurred his interest in the field, he’s only becoming more determined.

Kenneth Kashif Thomas is the arts editor and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @KenUBSpec.