We had the good fortune of connecting with Sasha Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sasha, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?

My background definitely shaped who I am today. I grew up in Perris, CA, a small

town in the Inland Empire. Like many of my peers during that era, I was raised by my grandparent’s. My grandmother was originally from New Orleans, LA and my Papa was from Dallas, TX so I had a very “old school” Southern Values upbringing. My grandmother had a huge impact on my life, she was a mother of six, and had a hand in raising most of her grandchildren. She showed me what it meant to serve and to be selfless in my actions, she embedded the importance of self respect, values and family into my bones. There was nothing that she wouldn’t do for us, she would give us her last and she did so even in her final

days with us.

Although Perris is a small town, growing up out there had its challenges. There’s a “hood” in every city, and  back in the eighties and nineties the town was ethnically diverse,  but was still sort of a rough area. I had what I call a “high class hood life”. I say that because on one hand, I was raised on an acre and a half property with horses, my grandparents owned two RV’s, a boat, nice cars etc. I experienced camping trips, lots of family parties, gathered eggs from our own chickens, picked fresh vegetables and fruits at my Uncle “Slicks” house who lived directly behind us, my Papa taught me to fish, and birthdays and Christmas always looked like someone delivered the entire toy store to our house. We weren’t rich, but we definitely had all that we needed and more.

On the other hand, there was also that “hood side”. I experienced gang activity, police raids, drive by shootings, fights, drug dealers and users. There were countless times I had to step over used drug pipes and needles, on my way to the school bus stop. My uncles were also nothing to play with, they were feared but highly respected so people knew not to bring drama around our house but many times it was just inevitable. I had five uncles,  all of them played a different role in my life. They were very protective of me but made sure regardless of my father being absent I still experienced love from a male figure in addition to my Papa who raised me like his own.

Not having my parents in my life at the time, due to my mothers on and off stents of incarceration and my father just being absent because of his lifestyle choices, played a role in my life that was a little more mixed, emotionally. When my mother was able to visit it was always the most exciting experience! She looked like a movie star to me, she showed me more of the “city” life. When I was with her I was able to visit my family in Pasadena, shop in Los Angeles, from the Slauson swap meet to the most upscale stores in Beverly Hills. It was like a whole different world with her. She taught me about style, different perfume scents, how to take care of my appearance in a different way. She had plenty of money and didn’t have to depend on a man for it, it’s almost like she ran the show even if there was a man around.  She had street smarts, and was well connected even as female in the game, she was never an accessory or quick to be in anyones arm. My mom was very independent, people were drawn to her and I remember wanting to be able to be like her, a “boss” in my own right and project that same energy.

I do believe that having a dose of both worlds helped me appreciate and value the better things in life as well as know exactly what I didn’t want for my life. My grandmothers strict ways and high expectations for me gave me a drive to want to be great, better than my surroundings and want so much more for my life. She had a huge heart, she would keep you in check but love on you all in the same breath. She took care of a lot of people around our area, she would feed some of the guys who were unhoused, and give them small jobs around our property so that they worked for the money she gave. She played the role of a second mom to many of my uncles friends. Everyone in Perris respected her. She loved to cook! We literally had three full meals a day, making being a wife, mother and grandmother look easy. So much so, that I often think it was false advertisement because doing all those things aren’t easy at all.

Looking back, the woman that I am today is a clear reflection of that. I am a mother of six in a blended family. I too enjoy cooking those big meals for my family. My husband and I founded the non profit, Mixed Behavior Foundation which serves our community and supports mental health. Our Humble Giving Project feeds and provides resources for housing and jobs for the unhoused community, just as both of our grandmothers did so selflessly. I am currently working on a Documentary along side my mother called “Project Heavy” which focuses on breaking the mental and emotional chains of incarceration by healing families. We are determined to serve our community, and pour into our youth through sports, creativity, and mentorship. These values were passed down and shaped from my upbringing, my life may not have been a perfect one but all of my challenges made me who I am today.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

First and foremost I want to thank you guys for your continued support and giving me another opportunity to share my story on your amazing platform. I am extremely excited about my Docu-Series, Project Heavy, we begin filming in the Bay Area starting in August. This healing project was birthed during my my own healing journey with my mother. We will will tell the story of 10 individuals, including my mother and I, who have battled mental and emotional trauma caused by incarceration. Project Heavy is a passion project and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

I got to this place in my life by believing in myself and not giving up on my vision, no matter how far I have to reach to grab ahold of my dreams. I still have a long way to go, I am pushing myself creatively and once I’m done with this project I intend to take my writing to the next level by finishing my book, and developing a script for a television series.

My journey with has not been easy. I’ve battled a lot of emotions because of all of the trauma that I’ve had to pull to the surface and deal with head on. With the support of my husband, and in depth conversations with my mother I’ve been able to connect the dots on so many gray areas of my life and begin the healing process of my own traumas.

My intention is to touch those who have experienced these same types of experiences  by inspiring healing, as well as show a prospective that many people don’t see in regards to incarceration and how it effects families. I want people to know that this project is going to be raw, unscripted, and eye opening on several levels, this Docu- series is a journey of healing.. not a sob story. You will laugh, cry and walk away inspired with a new perspective!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many amazing places to visit. I would recommend a friend to have brunch at Openaire in Los Angeles, ride jet skis to Catalina Island, visit Venice Beach and or have some fun at Santa Monica Pier, I’d encourage them to try Quarter Sheets Pizza in Echo park or Roscoes Chicken and Waffles on Pico Blvd, go for a hike at Runyon Canyon and enjoy some night life and have a drink at Bolita in Los Angeles. Honestly, there are countless things to do in L.A and the surrounding cities.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shout out to my  grandmother, Betty Rand  and my mother, Catherine Terry. I wouldn’t be who I am without either of them.

My late grandmother, Betty Rand
My Mother Catherine Terry


Website: Mixedbehaviorfoundation.org

Instagram: Sasha_jackson22

Image Credits
Mandela Castaneda

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.