About Samson Styles
Samson was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the East New York and Brownsville sections. When he was twelve, he got sentenced to eighteen months in a juvenile detention center for robbery and truancy. While incarcerated, Samson’s interest in writing developed, and he became the go-to person for inmates that wanted to write their girlfriends romantic letters. He became a role model inmate and received many certificates of achievement. After his release, Samson’s focus shifted back to the streets, which resulted in him serving more than seven years of his adult life in prison.
In June 2004, Samson was released from Fort Dix Federal Correctional Facility where he was part of a special program that helped misguided youth. Four months after being free, Samson started filming a documentary on Brooklyn Girls, mainly from Brownsville, involved in an underground fighting circuit.
In August 2005, cultural writer and critic Nelson George saw the trailer of Samson’s documentary, “Brooklyn Girls Fight Club” and helped him secure a deal at BET to complete and broadcast the film. Samson is an executive producer of the documentary. Subsequently, he landed a permanent segment spot on a new BET show called “The Chop Up” wherein Samson acquired the title “The Official Street Cat”. With his unique perspective, Samson, formerly a BET News correspondent, covered a wide range of issues relevant to the black community.
In addition to daily news briefs, Samson produced, wrote, and hosted his own special reports: “Bullets and Ballets: The Official Street Cat Goes to Washington”, which explored gun violence and politics, “50 Shots: The Official Street Cat Takes On Police Brutality”, which explored gun violence and police brutality in the Sean Bell case respectively, “Black Is Beautiful: The N Word”, in which Samson uncovered The White perspective of the word “NIGGA”, and “Locked Out: ex‐ cons and the vote”, in which Samson brought to light the disenfranchisement laws that affect 5.3 million Blacks from voting.
Samson received three awards from The New York Association of Black Journalists for investigative reporting, cultural and entertainment, and commentary. He was nominated in 2008 and 2009 by the NABJ for best investigative report. Styles’ participation in covering The Inauguration of Barack Obama helped him and his team win the 2010 NAACP Image Award for outstanding news information. Styles produced and wrote numerous news briefs and narrated many BET News specials, including Tupac (Pac Lives) and Biggie (The Notorious B.I.G Ten Years Later).
In 2010, Samson transitioned from producing content for TV to becoming a one-man band (cameraman, producer, editor, and on-air personality) for BET’s digital platform (BET.com). Currently, Samson owns his own production company “JayCity Enterprise” along with his wife, which develops content for digital and linear platforms. He’s featured in and is also the consulting producer of the Netflix hit documentary Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy. Style’s latest award-winning documentary “KILLING BEEF: Gun Violence in the Black Community” is being globally distributed by Cinedigm and is available on Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango, and more.
Samson also teaches documentary filmmaking to at-risk teens in underserved communities belonging to Alternative to Incarceration programs in Brooklyn, NY.