The series is available to stream on Netflix, and we chatted with series co-creator Aulsondro ‘Novelist’ Hamilton about his inspiration behind the series, which took him over five years to bring to life.
Tell us about the inspiration behind developing a hip hop infused 3D animated series.
Aulsondro: We know kids today don’t really pay attention if you’re teaching them, so there’s a way you gotta go about it. When we sat down to create the show, our objective was that we didn’t like what was on television. (We’re) in a generation where hip-hop is the main thing. I come from the hip hop background, been in the music business for a minute, and hip hop has always had some sort of negative connotation to it. I don’t do explicit stuff but that seems to be what’s highlighted, and you get kids buying into it. So our whole objective was to create something that would still have the edge but (also) be relatable to them.
The musician and author explained how he also found inspiration in the classic kids’ shows that his parents watched growing up.
Aulsondro: When I was growing up, my parents turned me on to “Fat Albert,” “Electric Company,” and “H.R. Pufnstuf,” and I was like ‘What is this, this is old!’ But at the end of the day, you still got a message. My parents used to watch “SchoolHouse Rock” growing up, and they would play it for me and I’d be like, ‘Wow, this is crazy old’, but when you think about, (sings) “I’m just a Bill on Capitol Hill,” you really learn how (a) bill is made and passed through Congress, but it wasn’t in a way that was forced upon you. It was put in melody and song format. So we said, why not do that same type of premise but give it a little more edge and put it into a show called “Da Jammies.”
How long did it take you and your team to put the 3D series together?
Aulsondro: We started this project as a 2D animated property back in 2004, and even then we were cutting edge, but it was kinda hard to get on television with something that was extremely to the left. So we partnered with producer Ralph Farquhar (“Real Husbands of Hollywood”), and we said we need to go next level with it, and the next level was doing 3D animation. If you look at the cartoon, you see the characters dance (and) you might catch them krumping and doing routines. We tried to invoke modern-day stuff and in order to do that, (we) had to bring in real people so our animators can get the movements down to the T. When Ralph came on board it was 2010, from there it took us 5-6 years to really bring it home.
Describe how you took “Da Jammies” from script to securing a deal with Netflix.
Aulsondrol: It was about creating the concept first of what we felt was missing for this generation, and from there it was about finding partners that believed in our vision. (Once) we found those people, it was about putting together a pitch that would allow others to get a feel for what we were coming with without seeing it. It took us a minute because we wanted to find the right partners to launch “Da Jammies” with. Netflix is obviously the home to a number of progressive series that don’t really have a home on television. It’s awesome that “Da Jammies” helps Netflix further that commitment of having something for everyone. If you look at our animation and style verses Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, it’s like – where do you put “Da Jammies” at in that? Netflix is where you can go to for all people.
Aulsondro recently published a poetry book titled “50 Shades of L.O.V.E,” a “conversation starter” he calls it, on Learning Our Various Emotions. He recently dropped his debut album, “However You Want It.”