We had the good fortune of connecting with Jozanne Marie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jozanne, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Personally, it was more than a thought but a definite calling. As an actress and writer, there were many times I was looking for a story that represented myself and other people of color that I was not seeing in the entertainment industry. Instead of complaining, my business partner, Xaypani Baccam and I decided to provide that space that will not only fill a void but connect the world through art and entertainment. Sometimes the things we hate to see are what we are called to change. Basically, we hold ourselves accountable and begin to create work and opportunities for a more diverse and inclusive Hollywood. This is genesis of Double 8 Entertainment.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
First, I must state that I am a proud Jamaican woman who has had the privilege to come to this country. My heritage and culture definitely influence a lot of my work and who I am as an artist. I started off as a poet and from there my creativity expanded to actress, playwright, author and now a Co-Ceo of a new and on the rise production company name Double 8 Entertainment. The thing that sets me apart is the fact that I am unapologetically myself. I no longer try to hide any part of me. The proudest moment for me was when I wrote my one woman show, BEAUTIFUL and stepped out on faith by performing a staged reading of it. That one decision in believing in myself took a show that literally began in my living room around the world. Now Beautiful is also an award winning book and is currently being adapted to a screenplay. This once broken place in my life that I was blessed to overcome is inspiring hundreds of women and men from around the world. Some days it literally blows my mind.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is such a fabulous place to live. The beautiful sunsets and summer weather will make you want to move here. There are so many secluded and eclectic places throughout our city for everyone. I really love Palos Verdes. The Terranea Resort would be the place for breakfast for sure. A little posh but well deserving for the people you love. Let’s not forget the beaches. Hermosa and Zumba Beach are definite. Dinner at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills is a must and a little splurging on Rodeo Drive. Why not? And how can we not drive down Ventura Blvd and make some pit stops at different cafes along the way.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow. That is a long list of people. But first, as a person of faith, I want to give a shout out to God. My gifts and talents all stemmed from the Creator. It just took myself coming in agreement and my amazing community of friends to confirm what was already destined. However, I must say a book that definitely got me on the way to purpose was the phenomenal woman, poet and educator, Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Why Do the Caged Bird Sings.” This book set me free to use my voice in various mediums.