Thursday, February 8, 2018

Jestina Weems: Fighting Injustice Through the Creative Arts

A From The G-Man Exclusive

Jestina Weems was just a child when she started singing along to Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Anita Baker. Her mother said she cried continuously for a week after she was born and believed her daughter was simply "clearing her lungs" and preparing herself to showcase her talent to the world.

She began taking singing and piano lessons in third grade and went on to form a group called Surrendering Voices at the age of 16. The group, which consisted of Weems and several close friends, wrote their own music and performed in numerous talent shows.

On February 7, 2018, From The G-Man conducted an interview with the entrepreneur and songstress to discuss how she's using social media and her creative abilities to address many of the political and social issues impacting America.   

G-Man: Why did you decide now would be the perfect time to release "Lord Only Knows" and "We Are The Dream"? 

Weems: Our country is facing a time of division. As an activist, I wanted to use my God-given abilities to help promote a sense of humanity and the importance of equality. For centuries, it was the activists who paved the way and left blueprints for battling oppression, and I wanted to remind people of their sacrifices and that we also have the ability to use our voices for change. It’s not about race. It’s all about unity. Together we stand, divided we fall. 

G-Man: "Lord Only Knows"' is from an upcoming musical. What is the musical about and how are you involved, from a production standpoint? 

Weems: I wrote the music for the play, which is called "We Are The Dream". The director wanted the play to have a greater sense of originality, so I suggested we turn it into a musical. The director agreed and gave me the creative freedom to write the music. I believe God gave me the gift and opportunity to tell this beautiful story through music. We Are The Dream is about a group of students that are preparing a trip to see the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and hear one of his speeches. The audience is give an inside look at Rev. King's life and the activists he admired. However, the students are forced to deal with the anger and pain that consume them after witnessing his assassination at the Lorraine Hotel. I took on a lot of the production responsibilities because the director lived out of state. I was in charge of the music, casting, rehearsals, locations, shooting and editing of all promo videos. I also oversaw the tour productions. With no educational background in music, theater or production, I allowed God to show me the way. As a result, I ended up learning about all phases of production on my own. 


G-Man: What is JustUS TV and its overall objective? 

Weems: JustUs TV is a platform I created to continue the conversation on what we as Americans can do to influence change. Ordinary people, like myself, in the U.S. and other countries are struggling to be heard. The problem is most of them are too caught up in what the government should do to implement change instead of embracing their roles as humanitarians. It’s time for us to stop looking at the faults of governments, including our own, and start analyzing the roles we play in creating the chaos and how we can change the situation. Like Dr. King, many activists have sacrificed their lives and livelihoods in order to pave the way towards freedom and equality. It's time for us to do the same. 

G-Man: Thus far, what has proved to be the most challenging aspect of JustUS TV and "We Are The Dream"?  

Weems: Our biggest challenge is financing. If we had more money, we could do so much more with marketing the show and touring. Many of the people associated with the production are volunteering their time and talents because they strongly believe in the message being presenting. In 2017, we raise close to $5000, which helped us launch the project. This year, we’re hoping to partner with a producer who has the financial wherewithal to take the show cross-country. That will cost at least $200,000, which is a lot of money. We’re hoping our music videos will allow us to connect with the right people; people that believe in our message and objective as strongly as we do and truly love the show for what it is. 

G-Man: What key message do you hope to convey through your projects, especially when it come to young people? 

Weems: History has clearly shown, and it's still the case, that young people played a significant role in helping create change and various movements. We’re hoping that our music will encourage young people to continue the fight for justice for equality. Most importantly, we hope this musical will teach them how to use their own talents to create change. 

G-Man: How can people contact you for more information about your current projects or other special events? 

Weems: People can reach me at,  Jestina Weems or JustUs TV (Facebook), and through LinkedIn under Jestina Weems. They can also email me at or text me at (914) 648-1590. 

Video sources: Jestina Weems (JustUs TV) 

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