NAHSHON DION (B. April 1, 1978) is an African American Louisiana Creole Bronx-based and nationally recognized multi-talented, award-winning nonfiction writer, journalist, teaching artist, writing mentor, and video editor. She's an emerging documentary filmmaker, producer, grant writer, grants panelist, awards juror, community organizer, fundraiser, disability advocate, and arts patron from the tranquil San Gabriel mountain foothills in Altadena, CA. Most of all, she's a survivor! And everything she does is executed with excellence. Since the 1850s, she's had roots in the deep south of East Texas and Opelousas, Louisiana. Over the last century, her family has endured deadly gun violence, beginning with her great-grandmother Zephyr Smith Scott (1900-1923).
Growing up in a working-class family in the backyard of Hollywood, Nahshon has been working in the entertainment industry for thirty years in diverse positions behind the scenes and in front of the camera as a SAG-AFTRA actor. Nahshon was featured in Jazz Pianist/Singer Diana Krall's music video "Let's Face the Music & Dance and as a dancer in acclaimed Gospel singer Yolanda Adams's music video "Yeah". She was also cast as a backup dancer for singer Sheryl Crow at the American Music Awards (1999). Her exceptional memory, forensic attention to detail, and sound judgment have been critical factors in her career longevity and success, along with her life-sustaining guaranteed monthly income since 2004.
During her teen years, Nahshon’s illiterate grandfather, blind grandmother, and dyslexic mother relied upon her for counting, reading, and writing. She witnessed the power of a SONY camcorder change Los Angeles and the nation. On March 3, 1991, Nahshon watched in disbelief and horror as Los Angeles Police officers on the news brutalized her family friend, motorist Rodney Glen King. With the glare of the media on the family, the chaotic aftermath played out for several years on Nahshon’s front lawn, driveway, and apartment, where Rodney and his wife lived before Nahshon’s family moved in. Nahshon’s love of storytelling in print and on screen instilled an observant and critical eye to zoom in and view the world around her. The never-ending story of King’s brutal beating, one of the most savage in modern-day history, piqued Nahshon's interest in film and human rights, creating an aesthetic blueprint for her life.
Fourteen miles south, a year later, Korea town experienced looting and arson. As Betty Fuentes, Nahshon's grandmother, witnessed the flames encircling her Harvard Heights neighborhood, she screamed, "BURN!" The 1992 Los Angeles riots marked the most significant instance of civil unrest in the city's history. Following the incident, Nahshon penned a five-page essay on community improvement and conflict resolution, which earned her a Discover Card Excellence Award and a prize of $500 through Scholastic Magazine. The award enabled her family to travel to New York, which sparked Nahshon's desire to live in the Big Apple and become a writer.
At age thirteen, Nahshon's passion for writing and film was ignited when her John Marshall junior high school drama class visited live television show tapings of the popular sitcom Family Matters. In 1994, she was represented by the Beverly Hecht talent agency and appeared in her first television commercial for Chuck E. Cheese.
During 1995 and 1996, while working at Universal Studios Hollywood Nahshon spent her weekends at the home of Sandra J. Evers Manly, the aunt of her friend and also the cousin of the slain Civil rights activist Medgar Evers. While at John Muir High in 1996, Nahshon met the beloved rapper and actor Tupac Shakur at her senior prom. She informed Tupac she was "Brenda's baby". He directed her to his business partner, Tracy D. Robinson, the founder and president of Look Hear Sound & Vision Productions. After graduating, she interned at Look Hear, assisting directors Tracy and Gobi M. Rahimi. In the fall of that year, while enrolled at California State University, Los Angeles, she also worked as an extra on the TV series Moesha and The Steve Harvey Show.
Nahshon was a production assistant for Master P’s film Da Last Don and The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show. At age nineteen, she assisted prolific British Executive Producers Charlie A. Parsons and Michael P. Davies at Buena Vista TV (Walt Disney). Nahshon was production coordinator for Russell Simmons' One World Music Beat and Shauna Garr's documentary film 1 More Hit.
Nahshon's literature addresses issues of identity, discrimination, and violence against Black and Brown youth and has been featured in numerous anthologies and literary journals. Over the past thirty years, she's been the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards from across the nation in support of her forthcoming memoir, for which she has received funding and support from esteemed artists, writers, entertainment and media professionals, organizations, and the United States Federal Government. As an advocate for the arts, Nahshon pays it forward by volunteering as a grant writer. She has assisted dozens of artists, entrepreneurs, and crime victims in acquiring substantial grants, funding, and vital resources over the past decade.
Nahshon's fierce reputation proceeds her. She was interviewed for Changes: An Oral History of Tupac (Simon & Schuster). In 2021, in partnership with Aim4theHeart, Nahshon, Tracy Robinson, and Leila Steinberg hosted a tribute to Tupac Shakur on his 50th birthday and 25th death anniversary. The later event was streamed on Nahshon's TRANSBRATIONS YouTube channel.
To further her positive influence and achieve change, Nahshon is creating a documentary film titled Renewed Life, which chronicles her remarkable journey, resilience, and artistic exploration. The film is her triumphant rainbow blueprint to show marginalized youth the importance of literacy skills and self-respect and how to reach their full potential and shine with dignity when their rainbow is blurred. It's her contribution to creating safe spaces, ending gun violence, and creating dialogue. It's also a tribute to the outrageous drag queens and transwomen who entertained Nahshon and kept her from crying. In recognition of her sustained commitment to the arts and prolific and exceptional creative ability, Nahshon was named a finalist for the Bronx Documentary Center Film Fellowship and awarded an artist residency at the 18th Street Arts Center in 2022.
I wanted to reiterate that your story is so powerful and so important. I really look forward to the day we sit together in one of these theaters in New York and watch it. ― Zachary Kerschberg, Documentary filmmaker.
Nahshon Dion's pronouns are He/She and they/them.