He returned in 1996, joining the AV Department at Harvard to direct and produce documentary videos on campus life, research, and faculty and alumni profiles. He continued to work on his own documentaries on his own time. In 2010, he moved to the Science Center, joining the multimedia team as supervisor supporting FAS Sciences and Gen Ed high-profile lecture classes.
His first documentary was about young Black women who had migrated from the South to work as domestics and had been exploited.
“I have seen systemic racism — people who from growing up have not been able to realize their full potential,” Hypolite said. “It’s been a theme of my work to show the resiliency of a people, the resourcefulness of a people even given those types of institutional challenges.”
For “This Ain’t Normal,” Hypolite, who now lives in Stoughton, intended to document a front-line worker at StreetSafe Boston, an antiviolence nonprofit that works with youth and young adults. But, once embedded in the organization, he found the young male gang members eager to tell their stories.
“No one wants to know their story, not even their family members,” he said. “These young men were able to speak to what had transpired in their young lives. Jordan ‘Trey Deuce’ from St. Joseph’s [Crew], who has a young daughter” — Jordan tells the camera that he’s both a great father and a terrible one — “spoke so eloquently and exhibited a high level of intelligence about so many subjects, about how many people lost their lives in different cities, his anger, and his own internal battle between knowing the importance of education and liking having a reputation. He had no father in his life, his mom [was] a crack addict. He scored high on his SATs but had to drop out and work at an early age. I saw that in each of these young men.”