We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamil Jude and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamil, what matters most to you?
“Art”ivist Action – “Art”-tivism is a term I heard a socially engaged artist use during a panel conversation once and it’s stuck with me. The idea being that one does not need to detach their artistic expression from their desire to seek justice. In fact, one’s art can be a space in which you can communicate those needs. Our current moment calls for all of us to do something to shift society. Idle talk is limiting and hasn’t proven as effective as people committing to action. For me, valuing Artivist Action suggests that I want to seek how I can use my artistic practice to inspire others to act on behalf of what’s right.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I stumbled into the arts after being exposed to the theatre in college. At the same time, I began to learn more about how I could use my voice to speak out against the issues I saw facing Black and Brown communities. As my voice grew, and my knowledge of the system of injustice became more clear, I began to see the theatre was a great way to speak to these imbalances in a fashion that encouraged dialogue. Although I hesitated to pursue a career in the theatre professionally, once I did, I found a home. In the professional theatre, I was able to identify mentors that helped me navigate the tricky terrain. Much like all industries, there were pitfalls inside the American Theatre that were difficult to navigate as a young, Black man. Finding the people who nurtured my growth and wanted to see me succeed helped me when I ran up against roadblocks or in the times when job prospects ran dry. Those experiences drive me to give back and share what I know with younger artists as often as I can.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d have to eat at Krog Street. Summer time at Ponce City Market is always great, especially when the roof is open. Bar hopping on the beltline is what summer nights are meant for. I’d be a bad art maker if I didn’t take friends to see plays! We have so many great theaters in town.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Mentors have been so important to me along my journey. They’ve taken different forms – some were other artists, some teachers and professors, others were friends and peers. I tried to acknowledge the impact several of them have had on my life over the years but there are times when you don’t give enough credit to those people. I’d like to shoutout Marion McClinton, Faye Price, Valerie Curtis-Newton, Kenny Leon, Charles Randolph-Wright, Jack Reuler, Daniel Pruksarnukul, Ernest Daily, Paul Robinson, Chay Yew and Emilya Cachapero.
Website: JamilJude.com AND TrueColorsTheatre.org
Instagram: @mrjdjude AND @truecolorstheatre
Twitter: @mrjdjude AND @kltruecolors
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mrjdjude AND https://www.facebook.com/truecolorstheatre
Lelund Durond Thompson