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Q&A with Robertson alumna Chandra Broadnax-Payne

Oct 26, 2020

Posted in: News

By Catie-Reagan Palmore, College of Humanities and Sciences

Chandra Broadnax-Payne

Robertson School alumna Chandra Broadnax-Payne (BS ‘98/H&S, MS ‘02/B) is a critically acclaimed author, speaker, poet and filmmaker. She is an active and engaged member of the community who values the importance of giving back.

Whether that is through volunteering, writing a self-help book for women, elevating the voices of domestic violence victims through her documentary or creating a scholarship fund, Chandra has dedicated her life to serving others. Chandra has generously started the Chandra Broadnax-Payne Scholarship at VCU for an undergraduate mass communications student who is representative of an underserved population.

We sat down with her to learn more about her latest documentary “A Silent Enemy.” We were excited to hear that her videographer for this project is also a VCU alum.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What are you passionate about?

I’m an author and filmmaker. I'm originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., but moved to Virginia in high school. I’m married to my college sweetheart, Christopher Payne (BS ‘98/H&S), who is also VCU alumni. When I'm not working I love spending time in nature and at the beach.

I am passionate about helping others see and reach their fullest potential. There are so many people in this world right now that don’t know their purpose and are just existing and not truly living! I enjoy helping people to step into who they were created to be. Whether I do that through my book "You Go Girl, 25 Ways to Step into Your Greatness," or through online courses, coaching and/or films.

Tell us about your documentary "A Silent Enemy." What was your experience filming it? What message do you hope these stories convey?

A Silent Enemy is a feature-length documentary that explores the domestic violence epidemic in the African American community and the silence that helps to perpetuate the violence. It features powerful and emotional stories of several domestic violence survivors and their journey towards healing and ultimately victory. It’s my hope that this film will spark conversations and bring awareness to this silent killer in the African American community.

It was an amazing experience! There were lots of long days and long nights over the past few months. However, it was definitely worth it. It is my prayer that this film will save lives. That victims of abuse will find the courage and the strength to reach out for help and to leave. It’s also my prayer that those who may be in these toxic relationships will develop a better understanding of what domestic violence is and leave.

How did your experience at VCU aid in your career path?

As a journalism student, I learned many production skills that helped me when it came to filming the documentary. Although it has been many years since I’ve used those skills they still came in handy. Those classroom experiences kicked in when we began filming. I do credit my professors and the staff at VCU for the knowledge and experience I gained while at VCU.

What advice would you offer a current VCU student?

Congratulations you picked a great school when you decided to come to VCU. The growth in programs and research over the years is massive. You should be proud to call yourself a RAM; I know I am. If I could offer any advice to students it would be to soak up everything that you can while at VCU. VCU has made such great strides over the years and has not only selected the best of the best when it comes to students but supporting staff and professors. With that said you have all the tools for success at your fingertips; it’s up to you to grab hold of them and use them.