REThink the Narrative Media Company & TheEsteemAwards.com present Artists in the Afternoon 3: The Write Passion & Purpose. Join us Saturday, September 2, for an enlightening afternoon highlighting written and spoken word, music, art, and more. In this series of articles published throughout August leading up to this monumental occasion, we will bring you the stories of the participating panelist.
REThink the Narrative Media Company, TheEsteemAwards.com & EBANMAN.com present Artists in the Afternoon 3: The Write Passion & Purpose. Join us Saturday, September 2, for an afternoon highlighting written and spoken word, music, art, and more. In this series of articles leading up to this monumental occasion, we will bring you the stories of the participating panelist.
First up is Jordan Live, the Founder of Atlanta-based Living Live Foundation, a 501c (3) nonprofit dedicated to helping empower BIPOC creatives in the arts and culture. The organization’s mission is to provide access to various art experiences, encompassing the visual, media, and performing arts.
PrideIndex (PI): Tell me about yourself and the journey that brought you to where you are today.
Jordan Live (JL): I’m Jordan. A lot of people know me as Jordan Live. I’ve lived in Atlanta for nearly 15 years; I graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a BA in Communications. There are several different things that have contributed to getting me where I am today, my foundation in college and then opportunities with networking, internships, and things of that nature. After I graduated from college, I went on to intern for the Stacey Abrams for Governor Campaign and did a lot of great work. And then, after the campaign was complete, I went on to work for political commentator Angela Rye in her political advocacy firm in DC, working with clients nationwide. It was a lot of hit the ground running, doing a lot of great work on the Hill, Silicon Valley, and stuff like that. Today, I am broadening my horizons within media and policy work, working with nonprofit groups, and media companies. I have my hand in many different areas regarding media and the arts. There are several other things that play a component in where I am now, which I’m grateful for. I’ve had many great opportunities.
PI: Your background was in communications, but you ended up working doing lobbying?
JL: Yeah, lobbying and media strategy work for different Capital Hill staffers. I studied communications. I had my own radio show on campus in college; I did some on-screen work and background producing work. I’m passionate about policy and ensuring we do our jobs as citizens to fight inequalities against all people. So even though my area of study was more so the arts and communications, I merged those fields over and helped with policy work. It was an unexpected thing how I navigated those pathways but it was a good surprise.
PI: Can we expect you to move into politics and run for office in the future?
JL: Not at all, because anybody who knows me knows I wouldn’t say I like politics. I’m like Michelle Obama when it comes to politics; I wouldn’t say I like it at all, you will never see me throw my head in the race for any office, but I will service a leader within my community as far as making sure that I’m doing my part. I have my own nonprofit, Living Live Foundation, helping creatives of color, making sure that young artists have resources, opportunities, and scholarships. As far as being a devout servant within the community, you can count on me to do that. I have no intentions or desire whatsoever to being a part of the political circus of running for office because it gets messy and stressful.
PI: Okay, and since you mentioned the foundation, let’s talk about that foundation; how did it get started?
JL: I’ll say, the foundation started just as many other organizations, started out of a necessity. I’m a black creative. One thing that I love is seeing other black and creatives of color being able to thrive and not just survive. I know that in the climate we’re in, especially looking at the state of the writers and actors strikes, we need help. Many of us aren’t looking for handouts, we’re looking for a hand to help us up. That’s especially true of creatives within the city of Atlanta; the black Hollywood, where people come to jumpstart their careers. There are a lot of creatives within the city that struggle to find opportunities and to make ends meet. So what we’re trying to do with the Living Live Foundation is to ensure we are doing our part in providing those resources, tools, and opportunities for creatives to explore and tap into their potential.
We also want to expose the youth to various aspects of the arts. When I was a child, the arts made a positive impact on me. I was exposed to Bach and Tupac, ballet, The Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and all many different things. My parents took me to the opera, Essence Fest, and other events. I know how exposure can lead to better things, and it can help to kids to boost their self-esteem and overall confidence. Saving the artists is important, and exposing our youth to art is incredibly important at a time when budgets are being cut across the country for art programs. We want to make sure that we prioritize creative freedom and that youth have the opportunity to explore, navigate and experiment to decide on an area they love. We want to make sure that there are opportunities and resources there for them to truly tap into whatever it is that they that their heart desires. So that’s what we’re doing, and I’m excited.
PI: What was your muse?
JL: I would say that my muse is my community. I’m only 27 years old and it has been an incredible journey for me thus far. It has been far from easy, sometimes very challenging. There were so many different things that sparked the urge to say, okay, let’s do this. In the end I’m a strong believer in that, no matter what you do, a great deal of your life should be dedicated to service. We’re not here all by ourselves therefore it shouldn’t be about only you. We should try to make it easier for the next person to come up behind us. That’s my intention, to make it easier for the next creator of color. I cannot answer the question easily beyond that.
PI: What is the one takeaway you want folks to retain from your work?
JL: One takeaway I want people to get from my work is I want people to feel empowered to do whatever their heart desires. It does not matter if it’s dancing, something in visual or literary arts, being a community leader or whatever. I want folks to be fueled, empowered and inspired to keep on and go against the grain of what “statistics” and the masses might say about someone like you.
PI: What projects are you working on right now?
JL: Right now my biggest project is our youth program for the foundation. My baby is called Lighting the way youth mentorship mentoring program, and we are working with fifth graders in the Atlanta Public Schools, and doing exactly what I said previously about exposing the youth to the art. A lot of schools systems around the country are cutting the budget for art programs, so we’re making sure that we are doing our part to make sure that students are still being exposed to the arts. We bring in different speakers to show them others way to navigate this creative space and provide workshops and online courses. I’m excited because to be working with fifth graders and giving them exposure to skills, and showing them this what we have can be cool over here. Yes, sports participation is good but music and the arts can change their lives.
PI: Do you do projects outside of the Atlanta area?
JL: Of course, I do projects in DC a lot. Sometimes in Los Angeles. It depends on where the project may be, where the client is. Although I’ve been based in Atlanta sometimes I’m traveling to DC twice or thrice a month. It depends on the need and what’s going on.
PI: Where do you see yourself in the future? What does the future hold for your foundation?
JL: Hmm. I would be a leading change agent or creator, someone respected in the community to get the job done and protect those that need it. I see myself having a media empire for myself and producing content that engages people, entertains them, and enriches what they are consuming.
I see having a kid or two and a husband, not sure about that picket fence.
My foundation will be thriving, changing lives for children/youth and beyond. Hopefully, we would have made our mark as a foundation, to change the lives of thousands of kids with scholarships and opportunities. God willing.
PI: What else would you like to tell me about yourself or your organization?
JL: I have my podcast; The Live Report podcast is coming back soon this fall. The podcast is always one of my favorite things to do. So, we’re coming back harder and more robust in the fall.