Before I made the call to interview Jason and Jessica Young of J Young Media, I was already inspired. If you were to spend some time on their website and learn more about their mission, you would feel the same. Our conversation was enlightening, encouraging and brought a great awareness to a significant cause. Not only does this dynamic duo create impactful media, both are clear on what is needed to maintain a healthy marriage.
Jason and Jessica met in 2004 in North Carolina, had a quick engagement and have been married for 6 years. Jessica admits she never wanted to mix business with pleasure after meeting Jason. But his aura and spirit drew her to him. Jason appeared to be the man she had been praying about. She wanted a man who cared about her and would ask how she was doing at the end of the day. And, Jason did just that in the very beginning, which was further confirmation. What makes their relationship work is the friendship.
The interview brought insight on the teen mom epidemic and how we as a community can step up. We also discuss how best to balance business with love and marriage. I hope you enjoy what Jason and Jessica shared as much as I did.
How did J Young Media begin and what is it like working together?
Jason: The first video I worked on called “Pray for Me” is where the vision began. It premiered on BET Gospel, and I brought Jessica on too. I do tech work and movies and we were able to bring our experience together. Jessica is the producer and I am creative. It just made sense to name the business J Young media. We also produce corporate videos. Working together can be hard. We are a lot alike but very different. Jessica works 24/7 and has a strong work ethic. She is always about business and is sometimes anal. Jessica is always on. It’s fun, but it is work being married and working together. My process is needing to take time off sometimes. Jessica is more like just do it. But respect is the theme.
Jessica: Jason is the same, but we have different approaches. We don’t always see everything eye to eye when making decisions but we respect each other’s roles. He allowed me free range on the latest project. It takes open communication and the ability to read each other’s emotions very well.
What is the impact you hope J Young Media will have?
Jason: I hope it enlightens, entertains and educates. I study early African-American films. As an African- American I want see us do some different things. We do big things and people follow us (African Americans). We are cutting edge.
Jessica: We were always watching reality shows on BET, TVOne. We would watch the credits at the end and be surprised on how many people it takes to produce the shows. It’s only the two of us and we are doing great work. We want to inspire other young people with talent. Believe in your gift, you can do it. We are just as talented and ready to bust through this thing.
Were there ever any periods of doubt in starting a business?
Jessica: We have doubts all the time. Atlanta is very unique and very cliquish. It is all about who’s who and what’s what. However, we are very grounded and we let the work speak for itself. In this industry you have to be a true hustler; you have to always be at the cutting edge. It can be disheartening when you see others in the position you should be in, after all the years you ‘ve been in it. It is a God given gift. We know we are talented, and that is what keeps us going, our season is going to come. Watching our first video is what keeps me motivated.
Jason: As long as I’ve been in film, I still question if this is where I am supposed to be. But it was April 2012 when we received a Telly Award on the Making of The B.E.S.T. Man which focused on an all boys school. I am motivated by the successes along the way. This is my purpose, GOD has opened the door.
What was the vision behind the creation of the documentary ” Second Time Around” which focuses on teen mothers and sheds light on an unfortunate reality that has become the new norm.
Jessica: (Executive Director of The Power Within which focuses on assisting teen mothers). I used to work with at-risk teens and one of the students had dreams of attending Spelman college, but she became pregnant at 15. Discovering there weren’t a lot of resources, I was inspired to start my own organization. MTV teen moms is not the reality of African-American teen moms. Our girls are homeless and struggling.
What impact has your organization had so far?
Jessica: We are receiving an overflow of donations from those who want to supply clothing and toys. People ask what can they do and it actually sparked another project. We have adult women who were teen moms who eagerly want to provide assistance and guidance. It has sparked a revolution. Churches have expressed interest in showing the documentary “Second Time Around”. We want to see it on TVOne and BET. What makes the film different is that those featured are second time teen moms. We are tackling a tough subject, a generational curse. We want to bring awareness to our youth and the affect social media has. We have the power to make change through this media.
What is next for J Young Media:
Jessica: We are working on a project for teen dads and I am starting a support group in 2013 to show teen moms there are options. They don’t have to be on WIC or living in Section 8 housing forever. We are also working on African Americans and mental health.
Jason: I want to bridge the gap with young people and Martin Luther King, Jr. They think it’s only I have a dream. I want to go beyond that.
What words of wisdom do you have for other couples?
Jessica: Don’t be afraid to let the other person’s light shine. I was never jealous of Jason, I am his biggest cheerleader. I am not afraid or ever feel intimidated when he is having his moment. Put your feelings aside and let that person shine. I want to see Jason get to the next level.
Jason: It took me 5 years to realize I needed to listen to Jessica. It took some time, I wasn’t listening in the beginning on what she wanted or how she felt. I was focused on myself. When I listened, things changed. Both people must listen. Listen, really listen to what your spouse is saying before you react.
What is the one thing you want the BMWK family to know about you?
Jason: How important it is to stay positive, fight for your marriage and don’t give up so easy. It’s work being married, it takes communication. You’re willing to put the work in in other areas, put it in here. Forgive each other. We fight for each other and our relationship. You must fight to stay right with God.
Jessica: The world definitely needs to see power couples. Not just rich, but strong couples who are truly living positive lives. Rather you are volunteering or a leader in your community, young people need to see more of us on the front line. Young people need to see more progressive couples.
It was such a pleasure interviewing this amazing couple on the rise. I could feel the love and positive energy this couple has for one another. BMWK, definitely wishes them success in all their endeavors. The Youngs were also excited to be interviewed and are fans of BMWK. Because they too are working on creating more positive images of African-Americans.
BMWK – please leave a comment below to thank Youngs for sharing their story and to encourage them in their marriage and their work. Then give a shout out to other “real life” power couples that inspire you.