This Week’s Everyday People
That’s right, you like to be called Jhazz, but, you don’t spell it like the music Jazz?
That’s correct! I have the H in there because the H is silent (laughs) (haha)..now the origin of that comes from when I was in high school, cause of Jazzy Jeff, and then little by little it just kinda got shortened to jazz, and when I went to Miami University, I just decided to just..make it a little more unique and just made the H, the H is silent, J H A Z Z! (laughs)
I love that! That is awesome, I’m definitely putting that in there! Ok, man your place of Birth?
Occupation: Actor/Martial Artist
Ok Jhazz, what kind of kid were ya?
(pause) growing up, very interesting question, growing up I started off more like a extrovert..always needed that attention, you know, class clown, everything, uh, you know actually growing up I also didn’t do so well in school cause my attention was everywhere else but (laughs) you know, on the academics and stuff…yeah and by the time I got to, uh, maybe seventh grade, I started to get more of a pronounced speech impediment..and that brought me back into being more of an introvert..I didn’t speak too much and I was very aware of what I was going to say before I would say it..part of it was my Sh and Ch sounds were part of the problem, and that was from like, seventh grade, no, from like sixth grade summer going into seventh grade and to the early part of my eighth grade year…now what helped me was Martial Arts..I got into Martial Arts right along that time and I didn’t have to speak when I was in martial arts, I would just go to class and listen and learn, you know so that was my safe haven. So that helped me and that was what I needed at the time. Now, when I came out of it, right around the early part, maybe the mid part of my eighth grade year, then I , guess what? Became an extrovert! (laughs) All that time of not speaking (laughs) I let it out and it came out LAARRRGE! Larger than Life! (laughs) To the point where people couldn’t shut me up! Yeah! You know, and that continued thru high school, you know, and I would, I could sit anywhere and pretty much start a conversation, and part of what carried on when I went to college was that, and this is funny now you’re gonna see a twist of things..um, I was still a extrovert again, but what happened was, like, you know, when I first came in my freshman year, I would never, you know, let anyone sit by themselves, cause I remember what it was like in, you know the earlier days when I had a speech impediment cause I was kinda by myself and isolated myself and I hated that feeling. So what I ended up doing, and that’s kinda how I got to know people too, and, uh being one of the only African americans at the school, it helped too.
There was not that many, that’s for sure! That’s how we met. I was doing that movie and I was the only African American in the film and it was a fraternity and I demanded that they scour the campus and find me another Black person and you showed up!
(Laughs) That’s right, that’s right, and you were so nice to me, the minute I showed up on the set.
I was so happy to see another Black person! I’ll never forget your huge smile! Ok man, if you were to win 1 million dollars in the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with it?
Ok 1 million dollars, what I would do is put it right in the bank (laughs) literally I would put it right in the bank. I wouldn’t touch it, I would continue to live as I’m living, and then maybe in a little time, after, as I had a chance to think about and work things through, make sure my bills and everything are covered, so forth, and just keep it down or what have you, that would be something that I could use, hopefully as time goes on I have something now established in the bank. A million dollars won’t go as far as it would have back in the 70’s or 80’s, but let me just continue to keep working hard where I am now and maybe I can get a little something earlier retirement than expected.
That’s a very cool answer man. Ok what’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for you?
You know what? So many people have done so many nice things, but I tell you just, right in the midst of what we’re going thru now, this was one of the nicest things (laughs) and other people would be, like, “that’s it?” but it meant a lot to me… While I was at , uh, a grocery store, and you know how sometimes they have a cart off to the side? And as I walked by I saw a couple of bags of caramel corn and I had a taste for it and that’s what I was looking for..I had asked the lady, who was a little bit down further, I said “Excuse me Miss, is this your cart?” and, she said uh, “Yes it is yes it is” and I said, “Do you know where you got this caramel corn from?” and she said “It’s just right down, it’s just a little bit down..” and I kinda figured they didn’t have any more but she actually grabbed the last one, she told me “these were the last four”..so I, you know, whatever, it is what it is..um, and then about 5 minutes later when I was in the next aisle over, she found me and she was like, “Would it be ok if I gave you one of my bags of caramel corn?”
And I said, “No, no, you keep it. I really appreciative of that, and, and I’m good, but I thank you, that means, that means a lot to me.” And then, she kept, she was so persistent, so I ended up taking the one bag…now, about 5 minutes later, I’m in another aisle (laughs) and she’s like “You know I have three and you have one, how bout I just give you one more of mine and we’ll both have two!”..and I was like “Wow” and I just said “No, thank you, I’m good with just this one, you keep that, you’ve blessed me with this so I’m good but thank you so very much..”..but that’s the most recent of, you know, kindness. It blew my mind cause in this time everybody’s like only in it for themselves, whatever they can get for themselves that’s what they’re going for, you know, just me me me me mine mine mine mine you know, but that gave me a chance to say, maybe there is some humanity out there!
Absolutely Jhazz, that’s a great story. Ok who is the funniest person you’ve ever known?
Ever known? Oh my goodness..lemme take a step back on this one…ever known..(laughs)..let me see..this is a good question..uh..(pause)…that’s a good question..Imma have to go back through my life (laughs)..I’ve met soo many people that’re just so silly, can just make you laugh on the drop of a dime, umm..you know, um, wow, good good question…wow..lemme think about it..I know I’ve seen a lot of stand up, and Chris Rock is one of my..but I don’t know Chris…
He’s funny! We can come back to it if you want?
(laughs) yeah, let’s come back to it
Ok, so you can go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where is that place and why?
Ok, OuterSpace..no ifs ands or buts, I want to go to OuterSpace, you know, um, that’s always been my vision, and, you know, part of the unfortunate thing why I’m, why I didn’t get to go or to have that opportunity..I was in the Air Force ROTC when I was at Miami University and part of why I ended up leaving, you know..had to have perfect vision, didn’t have it, I had an irregular heartbeat, so, I just kind of let it go you know, I had qualified for a navigator slot, um, you know and at that point they were having so many cut backs, and some of the navigators I knew were bumped down to tech/non tech and I didn’t even have a guaranteed navigator spot, I just qualified because I did ok on my test, and so my whole goal was like “Let me do everything else” ..Air Force fraternity, played on the basketball team, but when I did the physical, it was kind of almost like a wash, so I said “Let me just keep flying and see where it goes”..and I had other opportunities, one was for zero gravity, um, research project at Houston Johnson Space center and I washed out of that too, I was really close to getting in there, um, and once again I didn’t get in because they found out about the irregular heartbeat and, also, my blood pressure was a little lower than what they needed, they had like, they needed consistency in the data, all the candidates had to be in a certain, you know, percentage of this and this and mine was, um, a little lower and they said “the angles that we’d be working with might drop your blood pressure even further, which would, you know throw our data off but also might put your health in jeopardy” so that was kind of like the last opportunity I had but I haven’t given up yet. Chris, ever since I dream of Jeannie (laughs) I’ve dreamed of, ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to be an astronaut, when Star Wars came out Battlestar Galactica..and that was kind of the things that, uh, catapulted me into wanting to go, so I would say if I could go anywhere, it would be OuterSpace! Please let me get up there I would be the happiest person!
Wow! That’s a first! You know, I think we had talked about that a little bit but I didn’t know that was your dream
Yeah I’ve always been fascinated and amazed by the space program…and not just the astronauts but everybody who came to put that whole program together from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo all the way through the Space Shuttle program, you know all the risks that they took..just to be able to do the Space Walk! Ohhh!
Well I hope that happens for you man, I really do, Ok man you’re going to live the rest of your life on a deserted island, but you can take only one of each. Which?
Candy Bar? (pause) I’m gonna take a Hershey’s pure chocolate, milk chocolate candy bar, yeah, nothing necessarily fancy I just need my chocolate
I love it! I love it! Ok, which type of Food?
I love Lasagna! I love to make it from scratch, don’t get the chance that often though.
(laughs) Ok, which Album or CD?
Ok, very good..very good question..but I think my favorite artist is Roger Troutman and Zapp , but I think if I had to take just one..oh that’s a good question Chris, um, I’m gonna have to go with….(pause)…ohhh…um, I’m gonna go with Songs in the Key of Life Stevie Wonder
Oooh! What a classic, you can’t go wrong there. Ok, which movie would you take with ya?
Ok….ooh…mmm..I’m gonna have to go with…Star Wars A New Hope
Ok, very good, Book?
Book? Ok, I’m gonna have to take the Bible with me
Yes, a popular answer! Ok Jhazz, you can take 2 people with you. One for conversation purposes only. Who?
I would like to take…Benjamin Franklin. I get to take 2 people?
Yes , so Ben Franklin for conversation purposes, and one other person for romantic purposes only. Who?
Ohhh, um, one for romantic, ooh that’s a tough one…I never really thought about…(pause)..ummm
Remember, you can always pass, you don’t have to take anyone with you for romance…
No I absolutely would! (laughs) lemme see…(pause)..now is it someone who’s still around?
No it could be anybody. Someone from history…anyone
Oh then I would like to take Vanity
Vanity? Purple Rain Vanity?
Yeah! Yeah remember The Last Dragon? She’s always been one of my…Denise Matthews aka Vanity! I do my research! (laughs)
(laughs) yes you do! Ok Jhazz, final question, what would you like for other people to say about you?
To say about me? Umm, (pause).maybe that despite whatever’s going on I’ve always tried to remain optimistic, tried to give an optimistic outlook..no matter what
Now I can definitely vouch for that, you are one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met. Jhazz, thank you so much for doing this! Did you want to go back to the funniest person you’ve ever known?
Yeah, I’m gonna go with my pastor. Yeah, he’s a riot!
Excellent man, excellent. Thanks again Jhazz!
It’s my privilege!