Hi JLove! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Yes! I stand for Truth, Love, Freedom and Liberation for all people and the planet. I choose to fight for racial justice acknowledging the history of white supremacy and that as a white person I have a choice to be complicit in an immoral system or fight against it.
Can you tell us about some of the projects you are currently working on?
As managing partner, I’m thrilled to be part of visionary Taylor K. Shaw’s first and only company dedicated to Black women animators and creatives called Black Women Animate. Our goal is to shift the media landscape by supporting a Black women, women of color and non-binary artists of color to create their rightful narratives. As a white woman my role is a consistent practicing of allyship including centering women of color and non-binary artists of color and using my privilege to open the door to access and power.
As creator, producer and Director of We The People, this show is my homage to ART-ivits who are using their gifts to ignite justice across the world. A moving mosaic of Influencers, this episodic series featured on P. Diddy’s REVOLT TV gives viewers knowledge as well as inspiration for our Imagined Nation.
How did you get started as a storyteller, producer and content creator?
I have always loved books. My family fostered a love of words and poetry and narrative. I was blessed that way (that is also a form of privilege… just want to name that). I read so much that I became a speed reader at a young age and could read a novel in an evening. I would often stay up all night reading reading and reading. As a lover of words I starting writing at a young age, although I never thought of myself as a writer. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I began to claim writer. I was part of the global Hip-Hop culture movement and began writing for Hip-Hop magazines and became a Hip-Hop Journalist. A dear friend interviewed me for an article and she found my story so compelling she had her literary agent call me and a year later my first book was published! From there I went on to write, edit and contribute to dozens of books which felt good… but I wanted something more. The visual medium became my new home as I taught myself how to make films and TV shows. I fell in love. I will write books again, but creating conscious content is my passion.
Can you tell us about how your personal identity has influenced who you are today? — and or whether or not it has an influence on the work that you produce?
It is everything. That is because I am an activist first. And as an activist I recognize that due to my skin privilege I have a choice: to be complicit in a system of inequity, or to fight against that system with my thoughts, words, work and ultimately by putting my body on the line for justice. Identity is everything. And that is in process and action. In creating and producing I ensure that my crew is comprised of people of color, women, and marginalized gender identities. It means that who is on camera is centering narratives of people of color. It’s in everything I do. Every way I act. To the best of my capacity and ability,
You have always been a proponent of diversity, representation, inclusion and equity… can you share more about your background in advocacy and activism?
I became an activist because of relationships. As a young person I witnessed people who I loved being treated unfairly by adults because they were youth of color. Although I didn’t have the language or understanding of why, I knew it was wrong and it hurt me deeply. Those early days of witnessing racism, along with my Mom’s values of right and wrong, led me down a path of resistance, of which I have never turned back. As a white woman I will never feel what it is like to be a person of color, bu I will never forget witnessing the pain of Mothers losing their children to police violence. As a mother I just can’t imagine what it would feel like to have my sons targeted and killed because of the color of their skin. As a mother, as a human, it is my duty to work everyday to ensure that #BlackLivesMatter and that all people have the ability to reach their highest and best selves, regardless of skin color and zip code.
What should we as an industry be focused on when it comes to diversity and inclusion? Are we having deep enough conversations about this? Or are we still only at the surface? How can we do better if that is the case?
Diversity and Inclusion becomes just another hollow slogan if no true effort is put behind it. We have to address the root causes of systems of inequity. We need to support creatives of color in having the skills and materials, the access to industry doors, as well as ensuring a non-toxic work environment once they get “in” so that folks can thrive without compromise. Lots of work to be done here AND if the industry is serious they will invite in activists, artivists and organizers who can help facilitate a transformative process that will ready them for the shift!
Is there anything else that we didn’t touch on that you’d like to?
I’m in gratitude for you. Thank you to all the incredible organizers, activists and movement makers of color who have been the backbone of the struggle for liberation. #TilWeAllFree