STRANGE FRUIT PRODUCTION TEAM
Mic check 1,2,1,2. Not the words you expect to bust out of Orange County, California, but that's where Deborah Jane found her funk. Daughter of Guyanese immigrants, Deborah grew up in an all-white suburb where she was one of the only black kids in her school. (Fun fact: She didn't make her first black friend until attending Stanford University). Hip-hop gave her a voice and helped her discover her roots. Now she is an emcee and writer who both spits raps and writes film and television hip-hop musicals! Growing up in Orange County, she was haunted by black women’s slave narratives, and felt compelled to write a story that told their incredible stories. At Stanford, she wrote and produced an award-winning hip-hop musical, Strange Fruit: The Hip-Hopera. After an immensely successful run, a standing ovation, a plaque for artistic excellence, and an elderly black woman’s tears (“Thank you for telling my story,” she said) – it is now in development as a feature film. Deborah also launched her hip-hip theatre webseries, The HOTT (www.youtube.com/TheHOTTtv), and is penning her first hip-hop album, “Do You Love Me Deborah Jane?” She has worked at BET, TBS and Fox.
India Alston is a native of Washington, DC with a passion an enthusiasm for creative direction. After graduating Stanford University with a B.A. in African and African American Studies, she worked various positions in Marketing and Brand Management, later launching her company BEAM Marketing and Management, LLC. With a focus on developing go-‐to-‐market strategies and brand identity for globally positioned, emerging and corporate brands, India builds from her core desire to help entrepreneurs stand out in competitive markets. With a passion for people, critical thinking and creativity, India revels in the collaborative success of her clients. India currently represents clients in various industries, including: clean-‐technology finance, early technology start-‐ups, international commercial development, film, television, music, and sports. She also currently serves as Secretary of Board of Directors for the Chamique Holdsclaw Foundation, Inc, and is also a Northwest Regional Board Member for Operation Hope, Inc.
Jamie Ann Burke
Nabila is a Producer/Director as well as a Singer/Songwriter/Actress from Harlem, New York. She recently was awarded Best TV Pilot by the Caucaus of Producers, Directors and Writers for her role as Director on TV Pilot "In Brotherhood". She earned her undergraduate degree in Media and Education from The University of California, Berkeley and her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts. Nabila has created 20 films, 3 theater projects and has performed all over the world including in India, Cuba, Sub-‐Saharan Africa, Paris, Brazil, Mexico, Barbados and Jamaica. She has won various awards for her films at film festivals such as The New York Film Festival, Slamdance and Sundance. Her life purpose is to contribute to a major aesthetic and political paradigm shift within Hollywood, bringing volume to traditionally muted voices. Currently, she is producing the upcoming epic film; Strange Fruit: The Hip Hopera.
Jamie Ann Burke is an actress who has starred in independent films like “Close Call,” “The Garden” and the “The Pink Conspiracy.” She studied digital filmmaking in Paris through the New York Film Academy, and comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade, Monkey Butler and Actor's Comedy Studio. She has performed improv on various stages in Los Angeles including Improv Olympic and The Danger Room. Jamie is currently performing in the theatrical stage play and musical experience “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely.” based off the musical “My Fair Lady.” with Theatrum Elysium in San Pedro. Before entering the artistic world she graduated from UCLA with an Electrical Engineering Bachelors of Science Degree with a Computer Science Emphasis. While at UCLA, Jamie also served as the head of the African Arts Ensemble, which focused on bringing singing, dance and spoken world to the university and community at large. Currently Jamie Burke enjoys the Brazilian Martial Art of Capoeira and riding her motorcycle in her spare time.
Digital Media Manager
LaToya 'Blaze' Edwards
LaToya Edwards, or 'Blaze' as she is known, is a Media Specialist from New Orleans, Louisiana. She began her career as an Entertainment Writer and columnist for local and national magazines, interviewing some of music and film's top stars. Blaze studied Mass Communications at Texas Southern University’s Tavis Smiley School of Communications, and later discovered Marketing and Promotions. She began working for KPTY Party 93.3/104.9 in Houston, where she could also be heard on-air, Sony BMG, and a few other agencies, before connecting with Lunaface Promotions as a Marketing Assistant and Consultant. Throughout her career, Blaze has worked in several different capacities, and in 2013 she formed her own agency, Creative Itch Media Group, the culmination of her experience. Blaze’s mission is simple, to help the manifestation of others’ dreams, while simultaneously manifesting her own.