I was a rough kid who had been through a lot so could never express myself. This saved me, for real. I’m exposed to many different things; good, crazy and beautiful. It’s definitely made me more cultured and forced me to meet people, see places, and experience things I could never imagine. I don’t come from a rich family so I’m truly blessed!
On 10.17, BET’s The Mane Event took over the Internet. While it’s easy to become captivated with the fan fare around the union of Radric and Keyshia Ka’oir Davis, this story is a reminder that productions are team efforts with individuals who are committed to telling our stories. Enter Chassidy Jade, a professional who’s been working since the age of 15. The Palm Beach, FL, Memphis raised, editor, writer, and creative director is on a mission to produce high quality and diverse independent projects.
Chassidy’s career runs the gamut of high profile media companies such as HBO, BET, We TV, Apple Music, NBC, Warner Brothers, and more. Born a military brat, she was exposed to diverse ways of life, sparking her creative plug. While finding many creative outlets with an elder sister who studied ballet, the two were criticized for not fitting the “black stereotype” by their peers and denied opportunities for being African-‐American in predominantly white environments. This is something that stuck with Jade and influenced her rebellious spirit and feminist attitude
“We’re taught to relate, not to think for ourselves so that it’s easy to find comfort in boxes that fit a specific character. Once you step outside that character, you become human.”
Serving as the TV special’s Segment Editor/Producer, Chassidy shares her journey in television production within the entertainment industry, how she lands her jobs and what surprised her the most while working on The Mane Event.
Have you always wanted to work in TV production? Tell us about your journey and what led you to work on this special.
Well I’ve been working in production professionally (as in getting a real check from real companies lol) for about 7 years now but I started when I was 15. I’ve always been a creative and interested in entertainment, I was just never sure what role I would play. When fully indulge into production in high school, I was sold with living behind the scenes — where the magic really happens.
I’ve worked on many productions so this job came like any other: a referral & a good demo reel. I’ve worked with BET for a few projects. I guess this project stood out because it’s something my generation is genuinely interested in. Gucci Mane is one of the biggest soundtracks of our adolescence. It’s not often I get projects that hit home.
What lessons did you learn – personally or professionally – from working on this project? Was there anything that surprised you?
I was surprised at how friendly the crew was. On Big productions like these egos & politics can turn these into a competition game but everyone was super supportive of one another and all about getting the job done. Definitely my top 3 crews to work with!
Working in the entertainment industry, even with all of its highs, is a tough process. How have you learned to embrace the challenges?
This industry is very tough and behind the camera is even harder. The biggest challenges I face are respect and security. I’m always the youngest, the only female, and black who’s actually in the field. They’re not a lot diversity with editors, camera operators, lighting techs, etc. I always get this surprise look when I walk in the room. I constantly have to prove myself to Senior Editors who’ve been doing this for 20+ years but it’s life. I’ve learned to not internalize that and just do great work so that nothing else about me matters.
As far as security, I’m a full-time freelancer so they are no guaranteed check every two weeks. I’ve been blessed to have consistent contracts but it gets tough. A lot people think “oh she’s work on big shows so she’s balling”….it’s NOT that simple shawty lol. I do what I have to do to get by – even if that means taking work outside the industry.
For those who want to do similar work, what’s one step they can take today to kick off their journey?
I’ve been hustling for a longgggg time, this did not happen overnight. My thing is this: if you don’t do what you’re striving for every single day, you don’t want it. It’s like if you want to lose weight you need to exercise & eat right everyday. I edit everyday, I write everyday, I watch lame tutorials and round tables everyday. You have to fully indulge yourself into your craft and do whatever it takes to get out there. Research local production companies and show up, LITERALLY, if that’s what it takes! No excuses.
What’s next for you? What can our community do to support you in your next big step or milestone?
While I’m working on building my own company Crown Me Royal Labs. I would love to start producing my own original content, branding visuals for creatives/small business, and live shows. Be sure to checkout my website at crownmeroyallabs.com to see a few things we’ve done so far and follow me at @crownmeroyalxo & @crownmeroyallabs!