North Las Vegas native to debut film 'Checkmate' on the ups and downs of Las Vegas


Robert Strawder grew up in a place he says most would call the Northtown projects, located in North Las Vegas. It's an area once run by drug dealers, crack, and violence. In the late 1980’s, Strawder said his home on the “D-Block” or Donna Street, was an experience he’d never take back, but would never want to go through again. Strawder said watching the crack epidemic destroy his family and others was what made him dream for a better life.

"I just loved growing up there with my family because we didn't have no money but we had love," said Strawder.

Decades later Strawder, who is also known in the rap world as Vegas Don, learned to write and produce. He wrote a script from those past experiences to create the film "Checkmate". The story uses humor to find ways to address the harsh realities some experience in Las Vegas.

"Vegas is built on losers... You know? Everybody come out here thinking they are a winner," said Strawder.

Strawder says people coming from out of town thinking they are going to get all the girls and drink all the liquor, but end up in jail. Twenty-five-year-old Anderson Hunt Jr. is a co-star in the film. He says the film inspires youth like him.

"It humbles us to look at somebody who is successful versus your typical drug dealer or gang member... You have actual positivity in your life," said Hunt.

Strawder wants kids to think about their future in positive ways. “Checkmate” debuts at the Suncoast on April 27th at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival.

To take a look at what’s happening at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival click here.

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