“My value is not tied to this business.” This is not just a lesson in business, but this is also a lesson in life, and these are the words of media maven, Jasmine Sanders. As a standout talent in the radio industry and beyond, Jasmine Sanders is a true voice in this business. Sanders is not only the standout Co-Host of the DL Hughley show, she is a star in her own right. From BET, Billboard Magazine, to several other major entertainment outlets, Sanders is the quintessential media professional. She is no stranger to accolades – Jasmine was chosen as one of Girl’s Incorporated’s “Most Influential Women.” The National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment has also recognized her as top personality in the business.
The well-decorated icon sat down with Digital and Radio Facts to discuss her illustrious career. Everything was on the table during this convo from coming up in the early days of radio, having respect for the craft, working with DL Hughley, her emerging podcast, classic stories, and the hardest lesson she had to learn in the business of radio. Jasmine Sanders is a bold yet humble talent and is always looking to enhance her diverse skill set within and outside of the industry. As a proud member of the not-so-exclusive club of adoptees, she is a proud spokesperson of the community and makes it a point to dispel the misconceptions about being adopted. .One thing for sure is that Jasmine Sanders is on a mission and not so quiet as kept, she is winning.
Kevin: Okay. So you said you’re one of those people that has to be on air. What did you do for those five years that you were not on the air?
Jasmine: I drove myself crazy. I did, and it made me question my value and my worth and kind of what I was doing, which is really weird because I’m the one who decided to up and move and go to New York. But I thought I was wasting my time. I love what I did because I love music, but I really felt like – and the thing is, I never told anyone outside of Rodney. And Rodney knew because that’s how I met him. You know, he met me when I was working in Nashville on the air and no one else really knew that I could do what I do. And so I kind of felt like I was cheating myself out of what I felt I was really called to do, just because from a personal perspective, I wanted to go and seek out an area of my life that I felt I was lacking, that is getting to know my biological side of the family.
But I felt miserable, I really was. I was very miserable and I could see it. I could see it in everything around me. I hated what I was doing. I didn’t really hate my life, but I hated the pit that I felt that I was in. And so I was really grateful to Mike Love and Takiya for really opening my eyes and saying, “you’re more talented than this. Get back into the field of radio.” I’m glad I did.
Kevin: And so now you’re doing syndicated. How did that work, how did you manage that?
Jasmine: So I was working for CBS in New York at Station Fresh 102.7, which is actually an AC station, which was really weird.
Jasmine: I know, I know, I know.
Kevin: It’s a retirement home for teachers.
Jasmine: I know, I know, it is.
Kevin: People are going to get pissed at me for saying that but it really is.
Jasmine: No, it is. Because they believe in less personality and more music. And so coming from urban, I was used to being like, “Yo, what’s up Mr. Cochise,” and they were like, no, no, no, no, no. This is all about the music.
Jasmine: So, you know, even though it was a hot AC, it was still AC. So, the money was different, gigs were different. Even when you would go out to do the remotes – they don’t even do like concerts and things like that. You don’t open shows.
Jasmine: I was like, wait a minute, what! That’s my extra income. So, I got an email on Facebook of all places.
Kevin: What did you do? What did you do? How did you end up there?
Jasmine: Hector Hannibal hit me on Facebook and said, “We’re doing a show with DL Hughley, we want you to be the co-host. Your name keeps coming up as the ideal co-host. Would you be interested? Not thinking, “Ain’t nobody inboxing me on Facebook about a real job.” So I ignored it for like three or four days, and then he dropped Ken Johnson’s name. And so I called Ken and I said, “So, I keep getting these emails on Facebook about a job, blah, blah, blah. Do you know this guy? And he was like, call them right now. And so I called, turns out it was true and I was like, really? They offered me the gig. They were like, okay, we want you to
Kevin: Without an audition?
Jasmine: Without an audition or anything. And I was like, “Well, I’ll take it. So I moved to Dallas. Well, actually there was a lot of back and forth with that because DL was still doing Dancing with the Stars. There was a hiccup with his contract. So they were like, “Well, we still want you for the position but we’re going to have to put a pin in it, and we’re going to put you with, instead of moving you to Dallas, we need you to move to Florida, to Miami, and we want you to do the show for a bit with Rick Party. I was like “Okay, I think.” I don’t want to get stuck in Miami.
Kevin: That’s odd.
Jasmine: Yes. I don’t want to get stuck there. I mean, I like it to visit, but I don’t want to live there. He assured me no, it will be temporary.
Jasmine: So Rick and I and, Guy Black got on the phone because Guy Black was going to be the producer and we started having these conversations. Then I get a call from Hector that says, wait, put the brakes on that, we’re not doing that. We’re going to actually fly you to LA and you’ll do the show by yourself with different guest hosts coming in. And I was like, “Okay, this is starting to sound like you guys don’t know what you’re doing and I don’t want to uproot my life in New York for something that might not pan out.” And he was like, “No, we assure you, this is going to happen.” And I was like, “Okay.” Then, like a week later they call and they say another change of plans. We need you to move to Dallas. We need you to be there by Friday. You’re going to be doing this show with a guy named Skip Murphy and we’ll hold it there and see what happens. I was like, “Okay, wait.” So I finally decided, let me just take a leap of faith. Let me go see what this is all about. I moved to Dallas. I do the show with Skip Murphy for about 13 weeks, and then they tell me, “We need you to fly to LA, to meet DL, to make sure he really likes you.
Jasmine: I’m like, “What the hell? So now I’m like, just over all of this, but I say, “Okay, fine.” I’ll go to LA. It is the night of the Trayvon Martin verdict. And I’m in a car on my way to meet DL for dinner at Maestros. I get the verdict and I’m pissed, I’m sad. I’m full of these emotions, and I’m anxious about this meeting. And I’m like, all of this is a bad omen. Maybe I should’ve stayed in New York. I get to the restaurant, DL is late, which pisses me off even more. So I decided, “Well, I’m just going to drink myself to death.” So I started drinking champagne and I’m thinking, “I’m not going to pay for it.” And I ordered dessert. DL finally gets there, we exchanged niceties. I tease him a little bit for being late and then we really got into this whole thing with Trayvon Martin. And prior to that, we had a conversation. He’s like, “Listen, here’s the truth. You’re not the person that I really wanted. I wanted someone else.”
Jasmine: And I said with the utmost confidence, “Go after that person then. Don’t waste time with me because I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m not really wanted. I think you should get who you really want because it’s going to be your show and if it sinks or swims, it will be on your shoulders.” And so we ended up meeting for like two hours, maybe more. And he says you know what, I made a mistake. He was like, you’re going to take me places. I said, “No sir.” I said, “You told me how you felt from the beginning. I remember that.” I said, “You do not have to make me feel good about anything, I’m okay with that. Go for the person that you want. I’m going to be fine.” I get in the car, I go back to the airport.
Jasmine: I fly back and he assured me – no, I’m telling you. I was like, “I’ve been in this industry a long time, you don’t have to sugar coat, anything for me. I promise you, I’m going to be fine.” And about a week later, Tony Gray calls me and he says,” DL wants to meet you for breakfast.” And I was like “In LA?” He was like, “No, he’s here in Dallas.” And I was like, “Okay.” So, I go and his whole crew was there.
I meet everybody. He comes down and he was like, “I told you, I’d see you again.” He said, “Now we’re off to the races, are you ready to take over the world? I said, “I stay ready. I’m ready if you’re ready.” I said, “But I just want to make sure that I’m really the person that you want to work with.” And so we met alone and we gave each other, I guess, permission. He asked me for permission to be who he is. And I said, only if I get reciprocity, I also have to be who I am. I’m not going to be the chick who giggles and laughs at your jokes.
Kevin: I wonder who you could be talking about.
Jasmine: That’s not going to be who I am. I don’t want you to hire me and then fire me because I’m so opinionated. And so he promised me and he’s held true to that promise. And let me tell you, we’ve had some knockdown, drag-out disagreements and in the end, we love hard, we play hard, we work hard and we still respect each other. So it’s actually been great.
Kevin: That’s great because that’s a situation where – because I do know of some other situations where people are scared of the hosts,
Jasmine: I know some of those situations too.
Kevin: Not to mention any names, but I’m curious. Did he tell you who the person was that he wanted to originally hire?
Jasmine: He did but I’m not going to say anything about it, but he told me.
Kevin: You don’t have to say it, but I mean you can if you want to.
Jasmine: I understood it though because he felt some allegiance there. And so I said, “Listen, I honor that.” I said, that just shows me, you’re a person of integrity. You know you made a promise and now you want to fulfill it. But he basically said that the rule was if you go with that person, the deal is off. And so he was like, “I can’t do it. It’s not even up for discussion. So, out of all, these other groups of women, I think that you’re the one who’s going to really take me where I need to go.”
Kevin: Okay. What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your career? What is the one thing that you’ll never forget?
Jasmine: The one thing that I’ll never forget is that my value is not tied into or tied to this business. And the reason I say that is because I can remember the hardest lesson and the very first lesson that I learned was when I first got hired and I’m a Scorpio, so I just need one lesson. That’s all I need and I keep it to the grave. But I was doing seven to midnight. I had taken over for a guy by the name of Eddie Rock, and I was also music director and I had amassed all of these that I thought were friends because of being a music director. Now, mind you, I was very green. So I thought they really liked me.
Kevin: Shame on you, shame!
Jasmine: I was green, I was fresh meat. So I was thinking, “Well all these people really like me.” So when the title was taken from me and I moved to mid-days all of those so-called friends stop calling, when they come by the studio, they wouldn’t see me. I would call them and they wouldn’t call me back. And I was like, damn this is so crazy. And I realized they didn’t like me, they liked what I could do. And so, again, I only needed that lesson once. And so I knew just as quickly as you can have the power, you can lose the power, and tied to that power a lot of times are people who claim to be your friends and they’re not. So I stopped looking for validation in the title and the job and I realized that it’s more important to know who I am and know who my real friends are.
Kevin: Where’s my bible, where’s my Bible?
Jasmine: And those are the people who stayed. Yes, God. Let me tell you something.
Jasmine: And I’m so grateful. As hard of a lesson as that was because it was hurtful because I was still so young and I was like, wow! I thought that they really liked me. And so as hard of a lesson and as much as it hurt me, I’m so glad it happened to me. And I’m so glad it happened to me early on. So now when people come by the studio, whether it’s radio or TV and they’re like, “Oh hey” and being really friendly, I know, okay, let me really look at this. And it doesn’t bother me if I never see them again even if they say “no, let’s stay in contact.” I don’t really put so much stock in that because I understand that in this business, fame, and power are all fleeting, it’s like a mistress, it loves you at certain times, and other times it doesn’t.
Kevin: It’s all good. As long as it serves someone else. It’s ironic you should mention that because I learned this, just like you, I learned the lesson early on when I was a PD in my twenties and at Katie Kale and Denver and the exact same thing. It’s like, I thought, “Oh, these are my friends, everybody likes me, why I’m so popular.” And like you said, it took me one time and I could literally count my true friends. I know thousands of people over the years, thousands of people in the industry. True friends, I can count on two hands. You know, people that I know I could deal with outside, but I’m not mad about that. Some people get mad about it. I’m not mad about it because I understand that it’s business. And since we work in a lifestyle industry, it’s very easy to get caught up in that gray area. But it’s very black and white.
Jasmine: Very black and white. I’m glad I know that now. I mean, it is what it is, and like you, I don’t harbor ill feelings towards those people because I get it. In their mind, they were like, I have to stay close to power.
Jasmine: I also learned that I was empowered. You can’t take it away from me because you take the title. I’m still burning just as bright, and whether you choose to be the moth to my flame, that’s your business. But it does not dim my light. And I’m okay with you doing you, just as it is okay with me being me.
Kevin: And then if you’re wise enough, you get both sides. You know, sometimes people say, well, it’s so mean of them that they don’t return calls. If I have to justify my expenditures and I have to justify my purpose, you know, to my bosses, I don’t have time to hear you complain and moan and groan and tell me how people aren’t returning your calls. It brings me down.
If you are that person who is, I think a lot of times, and this is unfortunate, “Jack’s a one-trick pony”. Sit in the position until they get fired. That is not the smartest thing you can do. You know, I have a saying, it’s like radio is a, what is my saying? I forgot my own saying. I’ve said it a thousand times “Radio is a springboard, not a recliner.” So it’s like, when you get a gig, that’s not the time to relax. That’s the time to go to work. Because you can always find more when you have more. When you have nothing, everything’s lateral.
Jasmine: Everything and nobody’s calling you, nobody’s checking on you. And nobody is going to call somebody for you to just get you a job. It doesn’t work that way.
Kevin: And then you end up starting over, over and over and over again instead of making those moves. So absolutely. It’s like this industry can teach you some harsh lessons. But you know what, at the end of the day, and I’m going to ask you this because I know I do. You know that there are some aspects of the industry that you don’t like, but overall you really do love the industry because you understand it. It’s been really good to you.
Jasmine: Absolutely. I’m going to tell you, there are other things that I know I’m good at, but this is the thing that I love. And I put a lot into it. I sacrifice a lot for it, but I don’t do it begrudgingly. I do it because I love it. I love so many things about it. And I cannot complain one bit because you’re right. I think about the luxuries that I have, I think about the privileges I have, I think about just the fact that I have a paycheck doing what I love. I get on the radio and talk shit and get a check for it. And I think and get to laugh at jokes and meet amazing people and take care of my family and my friends, especially when they are in need. So I don’t regret it.
Kevin: No, I don’t do that. I won’t do that.
Jasmine: I know not to call you when I’m in trouble.
Kevin: I’m just letting you know and everybody know, don’t call me for no extra help. I will give it to the SPCA and I will hand out a turkey or two.
Jasmine: But that may not trickle to me, Kevin.
Kevin: But I’m like Clarence Avant. It’s like, I help you from a distance. You don’t need to know who I am.
Jasmine: But don’t be calling me.
Kevin: Well, believe it or not, I get so many requests for people asking for things, on a daily basis. They are constantly asking, asking, asking. Then you have to know how to, not be mean about it, but by the same token, have some class about it and make sure that you do give something back. Speaking of which, how do you give back? What do you like to do outside of this?
Jasmine: I love to work on the foster care initiative and adoption awareness because of my background. And I can’t tell you how much joy it has brought me over the years, just working with young girls and women alike who have lost hope or feel like their lives are going nowhere because of their situation. And I know too much, given much required, right? So I think about where I could be had my adopted family, not adopted me out of foster care. I made probably wouldn’t even be sitting here doing this interview
Kevin: You could have ended up on Iyanla, which was, “Oh my God, I’m so glad that show has been canceled.”
Jasmine: You got to leave Iyanla alone.
Kevin: It was getting, I mean, every season it was like, what else can happen to a person? It was getting just way too heavy but go ahead.
Jasmine: Yes, it was too much. And so for me, I like to do that. I like to make sure that I’m able. And the other thing I do as well is I do like to try to make myself available in the form of a mentor for young women who are coming up, what few there are now it seems in radio because I remember, as I said early on, what it’s like to feel like you’re all by yourself and there’s no one that you can call to ask questions about decisions that need to be made or should you move, should you not?
Kevin: Do you think that you, so you’re saying you didn’t really have a mentor? Neither did I, maybe in some spaces because Black folks definitely looked out for me, I cannot deny that. Don’t you think that in a way it’s a great thing that you didn’t have one?
Jasmine: Well, you know what, I did not have a mentor that I could call on for advice really. However, I would be remiss if I did not say there’s one person in particular who gave me the best advice ever. And every time I’m asked, I always drop his name. And that was Mel Jones. Mel Jones was based out of Memphis when I was working in Nashville, and I remember when he came to see me for the first time. And he said, “You are a pretty little girl,” He said, “You’re going to have some problems in this industry.” He said, “Let me set you right.” And he started giving me advice like a father, and he’s telling me all of the things about how men were going to come at me, artists were going to approach me. And I needed to be careful about who I spent my time with and the decisions that I made from a sexual perspective and all of those things would follow me.
Jasmine: And it was because of his advice that I heeded, that I think I did not get into that trap that a lot of young women get caught in, in this industry that follows them for their career and they’re more known for other things than their talent. And so I always remembered that. But from that point on, in terms of like a female or someone that I could actually talk to about trying to argue my value with the GM about a paycheck or my salary or vacation time or whether my remote fee is smaller than maybe some of the guys.
And I did not have that and I think that it probably in some ways did serve me well because I’ve always been a fighter even before radio. I was just always scrappy that way. And so I think that it probably taught me how to be self-sufficient in many ways, but I do sometimes hate that it re-insulated that loneliness aspect and that selfishness in the industry. So it’s kind of like the industry makes you selfish already, compounded with me not really having anyone to call on, just made me very insulated from, I guess, the rest of the industry at times.
Kevin: But it’s important like you said for young people. And I remember when Dr. Daddio, I don’t know if you remember him, but he was at KDKO in Denver. He was a black owner. It was while I was a PD and Dr. Daddio, it was so funny because he would cuss people out. He was like the six-foot-seven big man and people were so intimidated by him.
And I wouldn’t say he was pissed off, but he was responding to his inability to get what the white station owners had. And he was angry about that. And I can definitely see that. And so people were so scared of him, even his kids could be scared of him. And I remember one day I was sitting in his office and he was going off about something and I just started laughing at him and he kind of looked at me strangely, like, are you laughing?
Kevin: I was like, yes because I mean, I’m not intimidated by you. I get you. And it’s like, and I see what you’re doing. And we became best friends after that because it appears through that anger that he used as a shield to keep everybody away. But he gave me the best advice as you got, he said, “Look at your career like a race.” He said, “You are running in that race.” He said, “Keep your focus on the finish line.” He said, “Don’t ever look to either side to see how somebody else is doing, because you’ll lose time, head for the finish line.” He said, “Get what you want.” And I never forgot that. And I think shortly thereafter I created the magazine because I was like, you know what, I’m a creative person. I like working on magazines. I like putting things together.
Kevin: How can I make this work for me? Because I didn’t like radio. I didn’t like the politics. You know, like I said, a lot of the PDs, I didn’t like it. So I found my niche and I’ve been there for 25 years and I told somebody the other day, I feel like I’ve retired already. If you’re working and you feel like you’re already retired, that’s a wonderful thing.
Jasmine: That is a wonderful thing.
Kevin: Because it’s like, you still have an income, but when you can work in your drawers and get up at whatever time you want and take your nap.
Jasmine: Go to the refrigerator.
Kevin: I need to stop that part. But I mean, you know, when you can say, I’m tired, I’m going to take a nap for a couple hours. I mean, you can’t do that at work.
Jasmine: I get it. It’s like I love the fact that I can get up and go to the bar and get me a little something to drink and sit back down or even in the studio because we have a bar in the studio so I can drink. I don’t smoke, but if I wanted a cigar, I could have one. It’s amazing. That’s why I said to get paid doing what you love is such a blessing. So can you really complain?
Kevin: And it takes us a while to get there. I think as Black folks, it takes us a lot longer to get there. I was in Ralph’s the other day and there was this kid that was a stock boy. And I remember I asked him a question one day, young white kid, where something was, and I think a month later he was the manager of the store.
Jasmine: Wow! Damn.
Kevin: He had to be like 23. I’m telling you we’d have to be a hundred to get to that point.
Jasmine: And then you’re just assistant manager.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying, assistant! You’re just the assistant to the assistant manager. What do you think is going to happen in the industry? It is like, some people think that radio is on its way out. What do you think about that?
Jasmine: Part of me feels like radio will always be there. And I don’t know if I may be a little biased because I’m in it. Because I think that there’s always room for free. So, when you get in your car – not everybody wants to hook up their phone to listen to their playlist. Sometimes you just want to get entertained without having to do anything extra. And the fact that, again, like I said, that it’s free and I think even me, I listened to my own playlist a lot, but then there are times that I really liked to hear the tone of the radio.
There’s a different sound and a different feel to it. It puts me in a different kind of mood. And so I think that that will always be there, but I would imagine somebody probably thought that the eight-track would always be around, somebody probably thought blue-ray disks, if they’re still around.
I don’t know, but I’m sure somebody probably thought that they would always be around and be the wave of the future. So I think it’s kind of hard to tell, but I would like to think that again because it does add that locality, the local personalities talking about what’s going on the corner of 75th and Avalon or whatever. I think that it will always be there. I think that it will definitely change though because it has to, in order to keep up with the demand and everything from DVRs at home to playlists.
I think unfortunately people are losing their patients to wait through commercials, whereas before wait through them with no problem. But now you get a used car, you can see the finger punches where somebody has been going back and forth, changing the preset, and having all of those different options available to you when you don’t want to listen to, the mattresses that are on sale or the big white sale at Macy’s, you don’t have to really listen through that.
Jasmine: So I think that radio will definitely have to change in order to keep up with the demand for the attention or lack thereof of its consumer.
Kevin: Oh, funny you should say that because like I said, I’m in Palm Springs and I was talking to my good friend, Ken Wilson, and we were cracking up the other day because I told him, I said, “I don’t have cable in LA, everything is digital. So to come here and see TV, there’s some stuff that you’re like, wow, I didn’t know that or, maybe I should watch that show more often, but then every commercial is buying incontinence, diarrhea, walk-in bathtubs.
Jasmine: It reminded you of your mortality.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying, walk-in bathtubs, medicine, it’s like every medicine you can think of.
Jasmine: And all the disclaimers that come with, this will cause anal leakage, put this around your back. There is always something. You’re like damn!
Kevin: Right, right. They cause you to breathe fire out of both ends. They have all these commercials that absolutely – you’re just like, I can’t believe. But then you realize it’s the market. It’s like, this is the market for people talking about hair replacements and whatever else and trying to sell cars when you’re having, not even a midlife crisis, an end of life crisis, you know? You get so accustomed to not seeing commercials when you watch digital that I cannot believe, even when you watch CNN, it seems like there are more commercials than there is news. And on top of the fact that the news is only repeating itself over and over and over again,
Jasmine: That’s why radio is going to have to change because, and I don’t know what that change looks like, just because, like I said, I know how I am when I’m watching a movie, thanks to DVR or on-demand. Just the name of that on demand. And I think people get accustomed to it. So now, I get upset when I’m online or on social media or YouTube and a commercial pops up and I am forced to continue watching.
Kevin: Yes, they get much worse on YouTube.
Jasmine: I’d like to be able, I can’t wait for the 54321 countdowns so I can skip that damn Ad.
Kevin: Especially a song. When you want to hear a song from back in the day and some dumb commercial pops up about gum or something and you got to listen to the whole thing and that’s how they get us.
Jasmine: Like stinky feet.
Kevin: So it’s like, it’s only going to get worse. I mean, people are making money from that so I can’t blame them. Speaking of which, and it’s so funny that we should talk about that because I was talking to someone else about this the other day. It is really ironic and I know that you do some social media stuff, how we have allowed as an industry, everybody else to come in and take what they wanted. Okay. I’m not going to talk about comedians because you work for one and DL does a great job and he’s been in radio almost as long as I have. So I haven’t complained about him.
Kevin: I think he’s perfect for it. But I’m saying at first it was the comedians. Then you moved on to the singers, then you moved on to the gospel people. Now you got podcasters and then you have the audiobook industry. I mean, it’s like everybody has taken a piece of what should have been ours, but the part that’s really, I think that’s really fucked up is that we’re not even fighting it. We’re like, I’ll just wait for the next gig that pays $15 an hour and I’ll be fine. What is that about?
Jasmine: I think that we’re in this age of warp-speed where nobody really cares anymore that you’ve put the time in, that you’ve studied broadcast journalism, that you understand the do’s and don’ts, you even understand the regulations from the FCC. Like people who are students of radio; to me, it reminds me of a lot of the music industry. There was a time when you go into the studio and you did everything live, you sang live, the musicians were live, everything was authentic. And then even the process of, not only recording, but the printing and all of those things, and then you fast forward a decade or so, and things began to change. And now we’re all the way to the point where people are releasing projects that were recorded in a freaking bathroom, or just somewhere in a restaurant, and it’s got a million downloads. And so I was very, very, very pissed at one point because I felt like I went to school for this. I paid money for a college education to study.
Kevin: Paid dues for it.
Jasmine: And I had to work that lonely, overnight shift where I would fall asleep while the record was playing. And I only had so many seconds to cut that tape and market and, you know, stick it together with a piece of sticky tape, roll it back and play that contest. Like, I came from that and so now to see other people who have no idea what they’re doing, it takes them
Kevin: And making money.
Jasmine: It takes 50 takes to do a ten-second reel, and I’m like, you can’t like, come on. And so, but now I get that being angry about it doesn’t do me any good, nobody cares. It doesn’t change anything. So the best that I could do and the best thing that I try to tell other people is to always move with it. Like, don’t become archaic. Don’t become a dinosaur move with the times. It’s uncomfortable, there are things about it that you don’t like. I can remember a time when you would never cut corners on the radio. There were certain things that you had to do and you had to do it right. You had to hit that post, you had to make sure that – just a lot of things that nobody really cares about now. And so it’s almost like, this thing that I love so much people are just abusing it and I just sit and watch. And it’s like, well, there’s really not a lot that I can do. I can’t salvage it by myself. So the only thing that I could do is try my best to keep up and be better, on top of what I think I am already, as far as the basics. Do you know what I mean?
Kevin: I actually give them credit because I think that to a large extent that our era comes from being trained.
Jasmine: Yes, agree, agree. I agree with that wholeheartedly.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying. Had we not been the baby elephant with the huge rope tied around our foot that grew into the big elephant with the pin string, we would train to just basically shut up, do your job, and get out. You weren’t trained to be an entrepreneur, you weren’t trained to have extra jobs, you weren’t trained to sell yourself, and you weren’t trained to have value. So I get it. I get that we are sitting here and saying, well, I can’t move.
It’s like, I want to, but I can’t move. But if somebody in jocks knew what some of these people are making; like if you go on YouTube and you see some of the worst videos. I mean, they’re put together so, so, about the industry or about some singers, but are stuff that we could do hogtied with an Apple and a mouse, they’re doing and it sounds really bad, but they’re making money, a ton of money. They got so many followers. All it takes is a thousand followers, 4,000 hours of watching, you make money and we’re settling for,” I’ll just wait for the next gig.”
Jasmine: I think that is our fault.
Kevin: It is, it is,
Jasmine: You know, it goes back to what you were saying earlier. You can’t be a “one-trick pony.” You have to be a pony, like the one in the Wiz, and change colors based on whatever the flavor of the month is. It doesn’t mean that you lose your integrity, you know what I mean? Like you still remember who you are, what you learn, but you have to learn how to build on to that. And that’s what I’ve tried to do. I’ve tried to make sure that I still do other things. I jump on social media. I do videos. I try to do voiceover work, I try to do every, at anything that I can to enhance what I’ve learned and what I think I have naturally. And that kind of keeps me in the game.
Kevin: I told somebody else that I interviewed that being in this position for 25 years, it was always the same set of circumstances. I see people out of work, they can’t get back in, nobody’s returning their calls, they get depressed, they get sick, and they die. 99.9% of the time those are the exact same set of circumstances. So I tell everyone, while you’re working, find more work, always work. It’s just like when people retire, I mean, you no longer have a purpose, you no longer have a drive, you no longer have goals if you just sit around watching TV all day. So what’s next? So it’s whatever you have to do while you’re in it. And so many people are scared. I really feel for them because the corporations are like, you can’t do anything without talking to us first.
Jasmine: It’s so sad, and I fear for them because there are times I could do interviews with people, but I’m like, well, is it okay with your corporation? Because I don’t want to get you in trouble. I generally always ask that question. And then a lot of them are like, “maybe I shouldn’t do it.” And these are people with morning shows and.
Jasmine: Wow! It’s so sad.
Kevin: But, I guess the good and bad thing about it, is it’s not just on the urban side. I talked to people on the rhythmic side and pop side. They said it’s the exact same thing over there. The jocks are scared to move.
Jasmine: You sell everything.
Kevin: And then it’s like, you’re supposed to have everything with the job, but then when you don’t have the job, you have absolutely nothing.
Jasmine: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Kevin: So there’s that black and white again. So tell me about the adoption. I know that’s how we met. We had a discussion about the whole adoption. How are you feeling these days about that? Is that something that you ever move past or is that, how do you deal with that?
Jasmine: I mean, I think it’s different for everybody. I think you have some people that it doesn’t bother at all. They have great stories about their adoption. It doesn’t affect them. Me personally, though. I think that there is something that it’s hard to get rid of when you think about the trauma, at least for me anyway. At birth is when I was given away. So when you even think about that, right, a child normally is born, they placed the child on the chest of the mother to bond right? Now, when you are adopted, you don’t do that. The child is taken away and basically cleaned up and set aside and waiting to see if somebody is going to adopt them, which is what happened to me. And I think that there is something deeply scarring about that, almost like such a blunt cut.
Kevin: Like you never made the connection.
Jasmine: Like you never made the connection and the way it showed up in my life, even now, it’s very difficult for me to make authentic, real connections with people because of that abandonment issue. I’m always thinking people will leave. And I never knew where it came from. I had to go into therapy to kind of figure out why am I okay when people just walk away? Or why am I okay with just walking away from people and not concerned about the trauma or the disaster that I leave in my wake. And I realize now that that goes all the way back because I wasn’t adopted until I was almost five years old. So for a good five years of my life, I went through four foster homes. So I was always being placed, then being taken out of there, then placed, then taken out of there, just kind of back and forth.
Jasmine: And even though that’s a very early age, I think there’s a lot of repressed memories, I’m sure that are there that affect me in my relationships and the value that I have to fight for professionally how I feel about it and sometimes take it personally. And so for me, as much as I can do to help other young women or men who were in that position. My brother who was also adopted. He’s not my blood brother, but he was adopted prior to me. He, for years, didn’t want anything to do with his biological family. He was like, I don’t care anything about them. You know, these people, they raised me. I love them as my mom and daddy, and that’s all that matters. But then years later, like, I don’t know, he went into the military and he had been in the military for about 10 or 12 years and he called me and he said, how did you find your biological family?
Jasmine: And I was like, “I thought you didn’t care anything about that.” And he was like, “Well, it’s really for health and medical situations, I need to know about my history and anything that I might need to know about.” But then he admitted to me maybe a couple of years after that, that he really did have a desire to know but was a little embarrassed to say so. So I think for guys, they really just, you know, men you are all easy. I like it is what it is. You just move on for the most part. And I think women, we have to have closure. It’s one of the reasons why I think in relationships, for the most part, men handle it differently than women. Women, you know, we yell and scream and we’re going to make it known that you know that you hurt me.
Jasmine: Men are hurt, but they don’t really vocalize it in the same way. We’re going to follow you around a bust the windows out of your car so you know you broke my heart, now, I’m will break your car. We do things like that so I think for me, it was important to find closure. I had to find them, I needed to seek them out so that I could find out what was wrong with me. Why did you give me away, I was a baby? How could you leave me in the world like that and go on, like, I’d never existed? It was important for me to kind of get the end of that story.
Kevin: Did you get your answer?
Kevin: You didn’t?
Jasmine: You know, I did, but you know, it’s one of those things where I think you’re never really satisfied with what you find out. So I met my biological mother, but there was nothing that she could tell me that would fulfill what I was looking for. I always equate it to like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I went all the way to the Wiz, right. All the way to the city of Oz, which for me was New York. So, to find something that I already had at home. So it literally was like, I never got the answer that I wanted. I wanted my story to be such that, you know, “Oh, she had a terrible childhood and she had this horrible hardship or somebody stole me away or, you know, and now she’s this Uber successful woman. And you know, it’s going to be like on a lifetime movie.
Jasmine: No, sir. It was none of that. None of that at all. She was 22. She was old enough to have kept me. She decided not to because of a situation with her mom. And she went on to have two more kids and had a “husband” and she didn’t bounce back. She became an alcoholic and she died from cirrhosis.
Kevin: Oh God!
Jasmine: Yes, it’s not at all what I thought it would be. And so that’s another thing that I’m on a mission is to dispel the belief or notion that it’s always a positive experience because I think that sets people like myself up for another disappointment.
Kevin: I think Iyanla has fixed that.
Jasmine: Iyanla, she keeps coming up damn, damn, damn.
Kevin: I mean, I think she has certainly painted an extremely negative.
Jasmine: I wanted to create this initiative called “Hashtag adopted and winning.” Because it’s always such a negative thing or either you feel as though you’re inheriting somebody’s problem or we grow up to be these problem type adults from problem kids, and we are going to end up all year at Iyanla, busting, somebody head to the white meat and my thing is it doesn’t always be that way. I’m adopted and I’m winning. And if you’re adopted, you can win too.
Kevin: So let me ask you this. So you didn’t get the answer you wanted and did you get any resolution, I mean, within yourself?
Jasmine: I did. And so for that I was grateful for the journey, and the thing that I took away most was she was a young woman like I was, and it took me living some, you know what I mean, to get some living under my belt to understand what it means to be a young woman, going through a lot of shit in life. And sometimes you have to make the decision that’s best for you, and I got that.
Kevin: And at the time, and I can’t speak for her, but I’m saying sometimes you can make those decisions, not realizing the impact that it will have on the child’s life or your life, you know, many years later. It’s like, you’re making that decision now because you feel like you have to, and then it’s like, you could regret that for the rest of your life.
Jasmine: And I didn’t understand that at the time, but again, after a while, the resolution came because I understood that even looking at my own life. And I was like, now, after I’ve done some living, I get it. I never held any kind of animosity towards her. I just wanted to know why. And I realized it wasn’t me, it was her, and that was the most valid
Kevin: Maybe that’s all you needed to know.
Jasmine: That was what I needed to know.
Kevin: So was she happy to see you?
Jasmine: She was. She was very happy to see me at first and then, listen, I’m a true Scorpio. I move how I want to move. So once I found her, we talked on the phone maybe twice and I packed up all my shit and moved to New York and I was like, knock, knock, knock your turn, here I am. Are you ready to be a mama now? So I think the constant of me being there under her roof was a reminder of what she had done. And so that began to be an issue with her being able to look at me face to face and have conversations. So we were never able to connect on that plane, and then I guess maybe a year after I moved there, she died. I’m not saying I killed her. I didn’t do that. My presence didn’t do that. But you know, just years of drinking and, and I guess making improper decisions.
Kevin: She had a lot of problems.
Kevin: What about your father?
Jasmine: Never met my father,
Kevin: Okay. Welcome to the Black community. No, I’m kidding.
Jasmine: There it is. Never met him.
Kevin: I couldn’t resist.
Jasmine: And you know what, that was a good joke. But you know what, I’ll say this though, the journey with my biological mother, again, being the Dorothy in that story, what it did do was it allowed me to realize how much I needed to love and cherish my adopted father. And so before he passed away, I was able to really in my way, show him the love that I never really showed my adopted mother. So that was an important thing for me to do. And I’m glad that, if nothing else out of the relationship between me and my biological mother, I got that.
Kevin: Life can be so unfair. Isn’t it really unfortunate that we really don’t learn what life is about until our forties or fifties? I mean, you go through all those years,
Jasmine: Yes, they say youth is wasted on the young.
Kevin: And you know, nothing. My mother always told me that life doesn’t begin until you’re in your fifties. But that’s around the time you find, “Oh, that’s why that happened, and that’s why she did that, and that’s why he did that. You don’t get it, and you do, you take responsibility for other people’s shit. For so many years, a PD doesn’t like you. I remember one PD, I’m not going to stay on him too long, but it’s like, I hated this dude for like 20 years because he just did things. And I probably was feeding into that because I needed my job. So I tolerated a lot of shit, and long story short, he fired me in a meeting and in front of everybody and I literally thought I was going to physically attack him. And I said to myself, “no, let me just leave.” I left, and then I poured all that anger into writing about it and sending it off to about 50 people.
Kevin: That’s when Radio Facts was born. So I turned that those lemons into lemonade when I found out so many other people felt the exact same way, but I could have kicked his ass, ended up in jail.
Jasmine: You could still do it.
Kevin: I have.
Jasmine: That’s what I’m saying, this ass-whipping is for 20 years ago.
Kevin: Yes, I already have. So that fight is done. It’s been done for a while, but I’m saying that it’s really unfortunate that you run into people who can push you to that extent, but it’s also good that you have people who really do look out for you. And it’s like I said, I look at the industry. I’m like, damn, I love this industry. I really do love it. There are some things I don’t like, not a lot; some things I don’t like about it, but overall I could have been putting together cereal boxes in a factory.
Jasmine: Or cleaning toilets.
Kevin: You know. So anything else besides this. So this industry, I definitely am grateful for everything that has happened.
Jasmine: As am I.
Kevin: As I can tell. So what does the future look like for Jasmine?
Jasmine: Wow. Well, I’m working on so many things. I’m working on a book that I’m excited about talking about all of the things that we’ve kind of discussed here. It will be part fiction and partly based on my life. I’m working on a beauty line. I’m working on a beauty website for women of color specifically. And then I hope to have my own production company so that I can tell the kind of stories that I would like to see from the lens of both men and women. So I’m super excited about that.
Kevin: DL Hughley personally told me, he said the fans love her. He said, “I can’t go anywhere without people asking me about her.” He said they love, love, love Jasmine. I don’t think I got the print that.
Jasmine: Well I’m trying to give them a little bit more. And I’m developing a podcast called “Don’t tell me to shut up.”
Kevin: Good for you. Oh, okay.
Jasmine: How do you like that side, Kevin?
Kevin: That’s a good idea now. And the thing is that you know, so funny, I was really early on that I did “Pennies from Kevin” and about five years ago and I had one podcast that had 790,000 downloads, but it was before advertising kicked in. It was just like seven years ago, and I was like, had I been on time with it? And sometimes, every now and then, I might do another podcast. And a matter of fact, a couple of radio stations called and wanted to run it. They thought it was a segment.
Jasmine: Oh, wow!
Kevin: So it’s just like a two-minute thing where I’m giving advice about life and just talking about different experiences. And it really
Jasmine: Don’t miss the messages that the universe is sending you.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying? And especially if it works, when you get that many downloads you’re doing something right. So anything else you want to talk about?
Jasmine: No, I think we’ve covered just about everything. I could talk all day, honey.
Kevin: And that’s okay. And I could talk all day, especially to somebody from radio who has kind of the same outlook as I do, because so many people are so careful. It’s like, “don’t talk about the negative experiences,” but how do people learn?
Jasmine: You have to leave your imprint in life?
Kevin: You know what I’m saying?
Jasmine: Otherwise what’s the point of being here?
Kevin: Yes, absolutely. So I thank you very much as always. And I don’t know if the audience knows that Jasmine has been helping us out with interviewing some other great industry people and we will definitely be hearing a lot more from you.
Jasmine: You know what, before we go, I will say this, you owe me another barbecue plate. That’s all I’m saying.
Kevin: And you know what I’m going to tell you.
Jasmine: I’m just saying, you owe me a barbeque plate.
Kevin: Let me tell you something. Are you going to come from me for that? Let me get you with something. You talked about DL Hughley being late for the dinner.
Kevin: I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything.
Jasmine: Yes, damn, you got me again. Where is Iyanla when you need her?
Kevin: So maybe you owe me a barbecue plate.
Jasmine: I owe you a barbeque plate.
Kevin: I’ll sit on one side of the street, you sit on the other side of the street, and we’ll talk like that.
Jasmine: We’re going to have to, right? All the way into 2021, I think?
Kevin: Yes, because I don’t know what the hell to expect. I mean, I kind of like it. There’s a part of it that’s extremely therapeutic. It’s like I’m at the greatest peace in my life right now, but there’s another part, it’s like the Twilight Zone. It’s like, am I going to wake up and realize this was all a really bad dream?
Jasmine: Yes. I feel the exact same way, it’s been so crazy. But I got that barbecue plate for you. I got you covered.
Kevin: Great. Okay, you go ahead and send it to me and I’ll go ahead and send you one too. We’ll go ahead and make it even-steven.
Jasmine: I like that.
Kevin: All right, Jasmine, you take care.
Jasmine: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. You take care too. Happy holidays to you as well.