Blossoming into Success

Tiffany Blake is a documentary filmmaker who earned Ben Tucker Endowed Scholarship for two years during her time studying an MFA Film and Television program at SCAD. She interviewed Ben for her thesis documentary “Gospel Music Is…”. The film has gone on to win recognition at film festivals across the USA. You can view it online as part of the WTOC series “Bounce Around Savannah”.
 
Friends of Ben: I read an earlier published story in the Savannah Herald that says you were born and raised in Savannah. Can you share briefly what Savannah means to you?
 
Tiffany: Savannah means family and is a community rich in history, beauty, art and culture, and people with great spirit. I owe much to the support of my family, whose Savannah roots run deep. My father’s family has lived here since 1886 and my mother’s family relocated from Richmond Hill in 1938.
 
Friends of Ben: What has been the impact that the scholarship has had on your life and career?
 
Tiffany: The Ben Tucker Endowed Scholarship has made a great impact on my life. Upon receiving the scholarship, I gained two amazing mentors, Ben and Gloria Tucker. When I met them for the first time at the SCAD Scholarship Luncheon in 2011, it was as if I had known them my entire life. Mr. Tucker’s words of wisdom have always stuck with me even to this day. While interviewing Mr. Tucker for my thesis documentary “Gospel Music Is…” he told me to “continue to work hard and when you work hard at something it will blossom like a beautiful flower.” I applied his advice to working on many projects including “Gospel Music Is…” which has blossomed into an amazing and beautiful flower.

Jaleisha Gilbert recently graduated from SCAD with a 3.9 GPA, receiving a BFA in Sound Design and a minor in Music Production. She has just completed an internship at Larson Studios in Los Angeles to learn more about the post production aspect of television. She also produces independent short films which are posted on her website jaleisagilbert.com.
 
Friends of Ben: Can you share briefly what Savannah means to you?
 
Jaleisha: I was born and raised in Savannah, GA. Savannah is the place that groomed me into who I am today. There is no place like Savannah and no matter where I go, Savannah will always be within me. The old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is,” and this stands true for my admiration for Savannah. My village, my people, my community all reside in Savannah, GA.
 
Friends of Ben: Can you briefly describe your personal connection to Ben and Gloria Tucker? Or perhaps your thoughts about the services that they have provided to the residents of Savannah?
 
Jaleisha: Prior to even applying to this scholarship, I heard about the impact Ben Tucker had on the community through music. The fact that he was a great musician spoke to me because I am musically inclined myself. Also, my grandfather used to work with Mrs. Tucker in the Savannah Chatham County Public School System, so therefore I felt a connection to her through how highly my grandfather spoke of her. When I finally met Mrs. Tucker, I was amazed at how graceful and poised she is. Even though our conversations over the past couple years have been limited, I’m always honored to be in her presence. I am honored to have been a recipient of their scholarship and to learn more about their impact on the community, together and separately.