When Xavier Kai DuBose appears, he’s cool and collected with a massive backpack on his back and a skateboard in his hand. He’s friendly; he feels familiar. His eyes, though visible and attentive, are tucked behind gently shaded sunglasses. His smile is out in the open though, it’s wide and gleaming, even brighter than the glint of his septum ring. DuBose’s shirt is emblazoned with an intricate galaxy, a smattering of bleach and several colors of paint, his own personal design. Creating handmade galaxy-inspired clothing has been one of his many projects over the years.
“I used to be obsessed with space,” said DuBose, who has generated a whole series of clothing and shoes in this fashion. “I wanted to be a robotics engineer. I’m really good with building.”
As a child, his fascination with aeronautics was so strong that his mother took him to the Kennedy Space Center to see a rocket launch for his 12th birthday. At some point on the long journey, DuBose’s mom, who had never had a knack for technology, handed him her camera and told him to learn how to use it.
“I’m like, ‘Ok!’ I’m just stoked that we’re going to Florida and on a train. I had never been on a train at that time,” DuBose recalled. “So on this 16-hour train ride, I’m literally reading the manual. This little Nikon Powershot. This little red camera, tiny as hell. And I just fell in love.”
From that point on, he began documenting everything on camera. He learned to expand his collection by tinkering with and fixing broken cameras. His mom began sending him to film camps, first small animation experiences and later to a two-week intensive at nearby Regent University in Virginia, a school known for their TV/film production program.
“That was the first real program I did and I was like this is what I’ve gotta do,” said Dubose, grinning. “I was like, ‘I’m done! I’m not going to be a chef anymore. I’m not going to be a robotics engineer anymore.’ Everything was about taking photos and film.”
Film is what brought DuBose from his native Chesapeake, Virginia to Los Angeles in the fall of 2017. Since then, he’s become the president of the media and television production club at PCC. Aside from working on a double major in cinematography and TV production, DuBose also works full-time. He is a videographer for a company that produces dance competitions for children, often traveling around the country to set up and film these events.
“He seems really invested and passionate about what he’s doing,” said Evan Krikorian, fellow PCC student and PCC Pantry employee. “It’s really cool seeing how far his professional life is going.”
You may also recognize him from his regular shifts at the Lancer Pantry on campus, where he’s worked for more than a year. DuBose first encountered the food assistance service as a customer but was moved to help load in items one day when he saw an employee struggling.
“I’ve, since I was a kid, had certain issues when it comes to food and getting food and things like that,” says DuBose. “It’s a fact of life that some people aren’t able to get food. So I’m like, ‘Are you hungry? Do you need something? Go here.’”
He continued volunteering his time there for over a semester before eventually getting hired as work-study employee. Though he’s a paid employee these days, he still volunteers his time filming and editing their promotional videos to get the word out.
“He always comes in with good vibes,” said Lupe Flores, also a PCC Pantry employee. “If he’s not at work, I miss him…he’s that much of a good guy.”
Spend a bit of time with DuBose and you’ll quickly get a sense of his care for others. He’s genuinely kind even in passing interactions. He spent years of his childhood caring for horses voluntarily. And lately, his personal film projects have been focused on getting other people’s stories out there.
But DuBose has a complex story of his own. He’s a transgender guy from borderline rural Virginia, so he’s had his own share of trials. Now in California, he’s hoping to start an on-campus queer clothing swap, because finding gender-affirming clothes that fit right can be a challenge for queer and trans folks to acquire.
“Trans people are everywhere. You don’t know who they are. That’s the most important thing to me: we’re just people,” said DuBose, who is just starting to open up about his trans identity. “How can I want to tell other people’s stories when I can’t tell my own?”
DuBose’s main business, if he could afford to focus entirely on it, is his production company, Wolf Bait Studios. He started the business in 2015, working as a cinematographer, photographer, and DP for other directors. He recently began doing more content creation, as well, such as music videos. Despite his multifaceted achievements so far, Dubose still has notebooks filled with ideas for future projects.
“I used to always say that if I was to have a super power it would end up being one of the things where if you touch a person, you end up with that power,” chuckles DuBose. “I just do too much. I can’t do one thing.”