Interview with Jabari Johnson of “Jabari Presents”
Sunday, May 22, 2011 by Isabelle Ofume | 1 Comment; | Category: Art, Culture, Entertainment, Music, Uncategorized
From the collaborations to the videos, to the hottest interviews with some of the most famous artists in the industry, Jabari has become one of the most influential people in the online community. And not to mention, hosting one of the biggest and livest party of the year (back in January) thus far… Greedmont Park got the opportunity to interview host/journalist, Jabari Johnson to talk about life, inspirations, and “Jabari Presents”. Enjoy…
Isabelle Ofume – For starters, thanks for taking this time out of your day to have this
interview with me. So, for those who might not know, who is Jabari?
Jabari – I’m a guy who tries to do what I want to do every single day. I host/produce my own celebrity interview based web-series Jabari Presents and I just got my own web-series with BET entitled “Face to Face”.
Isabelle Ofume – How has your childhood, shaped who you are today?
Jabari – My mom shaped my childhood and she always had me doing different things that I might not be exposed to otherwise. She made sure I went skiing, was involved heavily in my schooling, taught me to always respect women, just how to be a good kid. Now I’d like to think of myself as a hard worker and a gentleman at the same time.
Isabelle Ofume – Do you think your past shapes who a person becomes?
Jabari – Absolutely, your past builds the foundation for who you are. A person can always change but it’s the time that you spend developing yourself that makes you, you.
Isabelle Ofume – Interviewing famous faces, such as Lupe Fiasco, Nicki Minaj, Ryan
Leslie (to name a few), how did you start doing interviews?
Jabari – I got interested when I was in school at Howard and I started interviewing local rappers in DC like Tabi Bonney and Wale, it just kind of spiraled after that and here we are.
Isabelle Ofume – Who would you love to interview, that you haven’t yet?
Jabari – Oprah or Steve Jobs.
Isabelle Ofume – Has the aim, always been to be a host/journalist?
Jabari – Not always, I always knew I wanted to be in entertainment since I was young. I was a manager for a rap group in high school then I did a lot of online marketing in the beginning of college and then after that I found out I liked doing interviews.
Isabelle Ofume – What motivated you to start everything you have done till this point?
Jabari – I always just did what I wanted to do. If I want to do something I’m just going to try and do it so the motivation was really just being taught from a young age that you can really do anything you want to.
Isabelle Ofume – I find it interesting to know the reason behind everyones “site names”, why’d you name it “Jabari Presents”? And what was one of the main reasons for your site (iamjabari.com)?
Jabari – I named my site iamjabari.com because Jabari.com was taken. The people who own it are selling it for 2,000 or something crazy like that so they can have that. I named my web-series Jabari Presents because I’m presenting what I think is cool and what people you shJould check out.
Isabelle Ofume – Who inspires you? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Jabari -People chasing their dreams really inspires me. I love seeing people going after what makes them happy, their is nothing more amazing than that to me.
Isabelle Ofume – So, after landing a deal with BET to host and produce a web-series, what can people hope to expect from this?
Jabari – A lot more interviews. The BET web-series will be more of me just being a fly on the wall with what is going on in pop-culture today. Stepping into the lives of some great artists, I’m so excited for these episodes to come out!
Isabelle Ofume – What are some of your thoughts on social media and where its going?
Jabari – I think social media is a great thing. It’s how I’ve made my career and done everything thus far, at the same time I see a lot of madness and shenanigans on social media. I think it’s all about using technology to benefit you and not just to entertain you. I think social media is already becoming less “exciting” as it was five years ago and what is exciting now is bridging the gap between real life and online interaction.
Isabelle Ofume – Top 3 favorite sites?
CNN.com (the mobile version)
Isabelle Ofume – Compared with your expectations before to your results now, what’s
different? What were your hopes when you started?
Jabari – When I started doing interviews and creating content my main goal was just to get on TV. I was auditioning left and right at different networks and measuring being on a TV station as the benchmark of my success. That has now changed since being able to make my living off producing online videos. Nothing that I do is on TV but I’ve been able to get endorsement deals, travel the country, and produce a lot of cool stuff that people enjoy so I’m happy. TV is still a huge goal but it will come with time.
Isabelle Ofume – As a well-known figure in the online hip-hop community, what advice would you give to someone that wants to pursue a career similar to the one that you have?
Jabari – Find a niche. I’ve been in the space for about four years now and have had a lot of time to grow. I started doing videos back around the time when music blogs first started picking up steam and a lot of my friends are the same people that have big blogs that you go to today. I was just lucky to be able to see that these blogs were going to need content to put on them and continue to develop my skills of interviewing people as well as creating quality videos.
Isabelle Ofume – As a college graduate, how important has education been to your life?
Jabari – Education has been immensely important to my career, life, and sanity haha! I think the education I got at Howard University (outside and inside the classroom) prepared me for the life that I’m living now. The reason I started even doing interviews in the first place is because I took a journalism class where I had to interview people and write stories, etc. I just was interviewing professors, doctors, and local people and then that transitioned into interviewing artists.
Isabelle Ofume – What brands, are you currently diggin’, at the moment?
Jabari – Oh so many, of course I really love the brands I work with like Nooka, Durkl, Society, TY KU, etc. But I really love brands that have a clean and clear atheistic and don’t change what they believe in. I love Ralph Lauren, Apple, Nike, New Era, Simply (the juice), and
Isabelle Ofume – Other than, videos, interviews, and partying (laughs)… what else are you working on at the moment?
Jabari – Partying, interviews, and videos is all I do. Lol, no seriously I have a few things coming up that are exciting. I’ll be putting out a physical product later in the year that will be dope but more to come on that in the coming months.
Isabelle Ofume – What music are you currently bumpin’ too in your i-pod?
Jabari – Lil B, Moruf, Arcade Fire, Nicki Minaj, Girl Talk, Ellie Goulding, Big Sean, Shawn Chrystopher, Kid Cudi, Riot in Paris, OCD (Moosh & Twist), Ke$ha, and Andrea Lewis.
Isabelle Ofume – Name 3 people, who have had a big impact in your life?
Jabari – My mother (the biggest), my last girlfriend, and Jay-Z.
Isabelle Ofume – What do you got planned for the future?
Jabari – Of course my BET web-series “Face to Face”, more episodes of Jabari Presents, throwing more great events, hosting more shows, directing more videos, and having more fun. I just want to continue to have fun every single day and do things that I want to do non-stop.
Isabelle Ofume – “[insert a quote you like to by...]“
Jabari – “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman
Huge thanks to Greedmont Park for interviewing me, I love the layout of the site!
(photos via vincent picone)
Writer’s Note: This interview was done sometime in January, prior to the launch of his first episode of “Face to Face”.