The World’s First Twitter-Inspired Movie is a Fantastic Lesson in Teamwork

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Once upon a time in 2014, Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o attended a Miu Miu fashion show in New York City. What happened next could never have been predicted, but is all kinds of amazing.

First, a striking photo of the two sitting together prompted a tweet-storm, a fact that in and of itself is not surprising. What was surprising was the chain of events that turned one tiny tweet into a viable movie concept that’s now coming to life.

Here’s how it happened: Twitter user @artthekid tweeted the following in response to the picture of Rihanna and Nyong’o:

“Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the scans.”

… and the crowd went wild. The tweet got close to a quarter of a million likes, one of which was Nyong’o herself, who tweeted Rihanna in response to it, saying, “I’m down if you are.”

Rihanna responded, “I’m in Pit’z” (her nickname for Lupita).

Talk about ratcheting it up. The crowd went even wilder, tagging, begging, and cajoling a dream team of filmmakers to join the fictitious project. Those tapped included director Ava DuVernay (she produced Selma and The 13th on Netflix), and writer/producer/actress Issa Rae (of Insecure). Fans even came up with a title (Cashing In), actual dialogue and scenes, and beautiful potential posters.

Then the studios got involved, and the thing got real.

After a “dramatic negotiation session” at the Cannes Film Festival, Netflix secured a deal for the project. Even better? Issa Rae, who will write the script, told Vanity Fair that the Twitter users who came up with the original idea will be “credited and included in some form.”

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Let’s just stop and appreciate that for a moment. From start to finish, this Hollywood concept was an exercise in collective creativity. And not only will it actually become a reality, but the powerhouse artists from the end of it will publicly acknowledge the ones from the beginning … on Twitter.

So often in our lives, we stifle our creativity. We think no one will think something is funny, or what we want have to say isn’t original, or we don’t have time to pick up our guitar, or no one will like our tweet.

Then there are those magic moments when we just let it rip. We say the funny thing; we write the blog; we compose the song; we make the comment at the party. We allow ourselves to give our gifts without thinking about the “point,” or what comes next, or who will judge us.

When we do that, we unleash our own creativity, yes, but something else happens, too: We inspire others. Us just going for it has a way of setting off a chain reaction of creation and expansion, the fruits of which are deliciously unpredictable.

This movie is not just a fun idea come to life. It’s a demonstration of the genius of our interconnectedness. It’s a preview of how we can evolve as humanity — not hierarchically, but collectively.

So do the thing. Write the blog. Start the company. Make the comment. Choreograph the dance. Express yourself, and know that when you do, you’re affirming the fact that you are and have always been a part of something greater.

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