Jhene Aiko has released the new autobiographical short film, Trip, which she wrote and co-directed with Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip). The 23-minute film takes viewers on a journey “through love, loss, and self-discovery” and features original music and poetry from Aiko, who also plays the lead character, Penny.
On the heels of her new short film, Trip, Jhene Aiko reveals the powerful and telling letter, giving fans and wonderers a deeper look into her personal life.
“When I was born, my Grampy gave me the nickname “Penny”.
Penny is me in my purest, most authentic form.
On July 19th 2012, I lost my brother Miyagi to an inoperable brain tumor. He was 26.
My brother and I were very close. We were only 2 years apart. I never thought of him as a separate person, but an extension of myself. He was my reflection. In his presence I was confident and always so sure. I was Penny.
Since that day I have been incomplete, losing all direction and sense of self.
Since that day I have been lost trying to find him…trying to find my way back to my self… back to Penny.
I turn to writing as my form of therapy, but it’s never quite enough. I released 2 projects since then, but I wasn’t quite myself.
I try to find my brother’s love in other men, but they never can compare.
I try to get closer to my brother by doing different drugs, hoping that if I get high enough I can reach him, but they only take me further away.
I distract myself with work, which buys me things I wish I could share with him. I distract myself with work, which causes stress I wish he were here to help me with.
The presence of my daughter, my siblings, my parents… only make his absence more apparent.
And so, I find myself taking trips, trying to escape any person, place or thing that is too familiar.
Physical trips by car, by plane…Mental trips with controlled substances…Trips in solitude in hopes that the quiet will bring me and my brother back together.
Through out these travels I’ve been keeping a record of my dreams, feelings and experiences in notebooks.
I turned these notebooks into a MAP.
a Movie (TRIP – a short film) , an Album (TRIP) and a Poetry book (2fish)
This map has been helping me navigate through my suffering, uncovering the righteous path that has been carved out before and for me… Helping me identify my pain and my mistakes so that I can move forward and reach my full potential and find the light at the end of the tunnel…
My personal “hero’s journey”.
And although I am not there yet… I know I’m getting closer.
This map was made by me, for me… but I feel obligated to share because I know that I am not alone in my suffering.
If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that every single person on this planet is suffering.
Not a single soul in this world is immune to the pain of losing someone they love.
The reality of this life is, at some point we will all lose someone we love.
In sharing this MAP, I hope to inspire others to be more present in the lives of the people they love.
I hope this MAP encourages honesty, empathy and compassion.
In sharing this MAP, I hope to inspire others to share their own mistakes, imperfections and fears… because I believe in doing so we can understand each other better and realize we are more alike than different.
In sharing this MAP, I hope to inspire others to share their grief and pain because I believe suffering can be alleviated when we understand we are not going through any of it alone.”
– Jhené Aiko Efuru “Penny” Chilombo
You can watch the short film Trip below: