*Recently EURweb’s Lee Bailey spoke with burgeoning pop artist Ashley ‘AJae’ Jackson and her mother Dr. Karin L. Stanford, an educator at Cal State-Northridge. 15-year-old AJae is also the daughter of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
In our previous article, young Ashley talked about blazing a trail for herself that was independent of that which was set upon by her parents. However, speaking to Lee Bailey as well, her mother, while very supportive of her undertaking, had to be convinced that this is the proper path for her child.
“Why couldn’t she just become an academic? Why are you doing this to my life? I want her to be happy, I really do,” Dr. Stanford bemoaned to Lee Bailey. “But I came kicking and screaming. You know, with kids they see that people in the industry get a lot of positive attention.”
AJae’s first single is titled “Just Do Me” and she’s currently hard at work trying to find a place in the game. But her mother tells Bailey that she was diligent in explaining the nature of the music business to AJae. As many of our readers can attest, it can be a dirty business.
“I’m an academic so I don’t know much about the entertainment industry, but it just seems to me to be as hustle. You just move from one job to the next. I tell her that even with Brad Pitt after he finishes one job he’s unemployed.”
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“I tell her that I want her to maybe get some internships next summer. Work in a production office or something like that. That way, if things don’t work out in one area there’s always something else that you can do. You can offer your talent in front of the camera, but be able to offer more in other areas.”
Despite her mother’s consternation and concern, young AJae has been steadfast in her belief that this is her lot in life and has been doing so for quite some time. Ms. Stanford says Jesse Jackson has expressed his concern over her career path as well.
“She’s very strong headed. How she would bring me along, and him to and I’m not sure he’s there yet, is she would say something like ‘Hey Mom, there’s a play at school today’ and she would be the lead. Or ‘Hey Mom, there’s something going on in the park’ and I’ll show up and she’s the keynote speaker or singer. I put her in a film class and she was doing all the acting. I put her in the class to learn to work the camera. She still doesn’t know how to work the cameras. That’s when I said ‘Okay, I’ll go along with this.’ I wanted her to see how hard it is to be an entertainer. It’s all day and all night. It’s really hard.”
AJae aka Ashley Jackson is a very talented young woman whose pop sound is very different from much that appears on the radio these days. Karin L. Stanford told our Lee Bailey that she does not want AJae to be targeted and lambasted because of the nature of the one-time relationship between her mother and Jesse Jackson. It is indeed a hard row to hoe, as the old folks used to say.
“I just don’t want her to be labelled. I don’t want her to be labelled she’s a kid and she’s doing her work in the entertainment industry. I don’t want our experiences to mar her future. I think that, you meet people who want to exploit her father’s legacy. They use her to get to him. I’ve had people come into our lives who weren’t genuine, who were selling stories to the tabloids. Most of them not true. I don’t trust people like I did before he was born. I don’t know what the future bodes for her. Especially since the industry she wants to be involved in is one in which people do exploit others.”
Despite all the perils of fame that Prof. Stanford has worked to ardently to impart upon AJae, she tells EURweb that her daughter’s resolve remains unshaken. The nature of her upbringing is unique among her circle of friends and fellow students and has likely helped foment her worldview. One that incorporates aspects from both her parents but is an independent source of light and matter unto its own.
“She said ‘Mom, I’m never going to be a professor. I’ll never, ever be a professor’. But teaching is still an option for her. She grew up on a college campus. Her Dad and I are really involved in social movements and civil rights and politics, he does his thing in his world. But I am very much engaged with issues on campus. She went to a school where all of the homes were intact. So, she was something of an outlier in that respect. Then, when he comes to town, she takes off for two or three days to spend time with him. Then, his lifestyle is very different than ours. So, when she’s with him everything is first class. When she comes home she has to do the laundry, do the dishes, she has to clean up. So, it’s a very different lifestyle. So, she has to go back and forth between those two worlds. There’s a major class difference between here and there.”
As stated previously, Ajae’s first single is titled “Just Do Me” and is currently available on iTunes. Additionally, she’s gearing up to drop some songs as soon as possible. In the interim, she’s still a student and a daughter. However, her indomitable will and self-awareness is already apparent. Positive attributes to be sure. Though any parent would be right to show concern, from our vantage point it appears as if AJae “Ashley” Jackson is already well on her way to success in whatever career path she chooses.