We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordan Rice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
From a very young age, I knew I was supposed to be an entertainer. I have always had a passion for healing people through art. When I booked my first film role in Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma, I developed a strong passion for social justice. Ever since then, it has been my mission to create and be part of art that makes people not only think, but act. It’s common to have trouble having conversations about politics, race, gender disparities, etc. but I believe that when issues such as those are discussed through art, real change can begin. Because of that, I have been part of organizations that create shows about social issues, created a film, STAINED, with Morgan Shaginaw that discusses sexual assault, and most recently, started a podcast, Get Into It, with Ambree Robinson that explores the struggles of young black women who live in white suburbia. With every piece of work I create, I try to provide someone else with something they can find themselves in. Far too many people haven’t seen themselves represented in mainstream media, and through my arts activism, I strive to reduce the number of people that fall into that category.
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.
Currently, I’m most excited about my new podcast, Get Into It. The podcast deals with the experiences of black youth living in predominantly white areas. We talk about everything from shocking classroom encounters to natural hair struggles to finding identity as a black person. For as long as I can remember, I was one of the only black students in my class. I considered myself lucky if there was another black kid in at least half of my classes. My partner, Ambree Robinson, and I met at a white high school of 4,000 students. Less than 20% of the school population was black. We met in the theatre department that had around 10-12 black people. Our friendship led to several conversations about the struggles of growing up as the only black people in the room. As we had more conversations about it, the talks became very therapeutic for us. We recognized that people in similar situations to ours many times don’t have an outlet or space where they can find community. This podcast was created to give black youth in white spaces something they can relate to, which will hopefully make them feel less alone. It was important for us to create a show that was true to our experiences, the difficult and funny moments. It’s the show that we needed when we were going through these situations. Because of that, we know it will impact others. In creating the show, there were definitely obstacles. Because of COVID-19, we had to figure out how to record the podcast remotely. This presented some problems that wouldn’t have come up if we could be in the same room using one recording device. Trying to find a platform where we could both be recording audio on one file, making sure sound levels are right, and creating an energetic conversation without physically feeling the other person’s energy. One of the first episodes we recorded couldn’t even be used because of some technical difficulties. However, those obstacles make the episodes we do release so much more valuable. We’ve really gotten creative with the process and have allowed ourselves to figure things out as we go along. That’s one of the most important things, in my opinion, for creative people to do. You have to be able to be adaptable and disciplined while creating your art. Especially in this time of global uncertainty, the ability to think outside the box is crucial for art to exist while it’s unsafe to be together in large numbers. Our show is a testament to pushing past obstacles in order to give people much-needed entertainment.
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.
Since quarantine, I haven’t been anywhere more than the grocery store! That has given me plenty of time to plan where I’ll go once it’s safe again. My weekend will be filled with seeing live shows because I am missing the theatre so much! Because I avoid getting up early every chance that I can, I would attend a matinee at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville to start off my day. I love the community they create there, and the shows are always incredibly engaging! Afterward, I’d head over to Fellini’s Pizza and have a sausage, pepperoni, and spinach pizza. To pass the time before my next show, I’ll go window shopping at Ponce City Market. I’ll probably spend most of my time in the interior design store, West Elm, living out my HGTV fantasies. After spending way too many hours looking at throw pillows and fake plants, I’ll create my own ice cream sandwich at Honeysuckle Gelato. I’ll enjoy my gelato on The Roof where I can enjoy the Skyline Park! After I play numerous games of minigolf and skee ball, I’ll make my way to Southwest Arts Center. Every show I’ve seen there has made me fall in love with the play and the actors. Before I head home, I’d wait in the lobby to meet the actors and take pictures with them. I’d leave the building remembering why I love to perform.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out my mother, Dana Rice. She is a singer-songwriter, performance coach, piano teacher, and author. She has guided me through the industry since I started, and her support is why I’m able to do many of the things I do. She has modeled what a professional should look like, and has taught me to recognize not only the value in others but in myself as well. It is easy for artists to forget their worth by being in an industry that gives more no’s than yes’s. Having my mom be a voice that tells me, “What’s for you is for you,” has helped me immensely. I can always count on her to tell me when my art is lacking, but in the same way, I can count on her to tell me when I’ve created something powerful. As I get older, each day I see new ways the lessons I’ve learned from my mom benefit me. For that, I am very grateful.
Sade Ariel, Lou Raimondi, Holly Fischer, Ira Carmichael