Meet Jayla Johnson, Your New Favorite Culture Creator

Zoe Selesi

Meet Jayla Johnson, a junior at Drexel University studying Entertainment Arts Management, with a minor in Business Administration and a concentration in Sports Entertainment. She was apart of CLLCTVE’s Fall 2020 Beta Class, and she’s currently a College Marketing Representative at Sony Music Entertainment. In honor of Black History Month, CLLCTVE celebrates Jayla and all her amazing achievements.

You work with a lot of cool brands and companies! How’s that experience been for you?

Honestly, it’s been a great time. They know that I’m a very honest person, and I’m unapologetic. I don’t want to sugarcoat anything. So when I do see a problem, I make sure that I reach out to either management, my directors, whoever is in a leadership position; I make sure saying “Not only am I either an employee of you guys, or I’m a brand ambassador, but I’m a human being.” I think that’s what they need to realize. But so far, so good, cannot complain. And if there was something bad going on, best believe I would leave and say “no more.”

How do you stay motivated to create content during a time like this and as a full-time college student?

The motivation is just seeing myself happy and saying, with what I can produce out; not only are they happy, but I know that the following that I have there also like, “Wow. That’s cool.” “I want to check that out.” But I would definitely want to say my good friend, Sandra, who goes to Drexel with me, is always killing the game! Every day It’s either a new brand partnership and “oh, Jayla, I put your name down.” Or if I get something, I’m like, “oh, Sandra, I told them about you.” We have a really good connection of making sure that we’re both in the room. She just did a puma collection, so I’m excited for her to drop that. I really think it’s the people I’m around. I like to say, “you got to make sure your circle is tight.” Your successes are their successes, and they’re not the type to be like, “Oh, well, how does she get better?” “Why didn’t I get that?” And I always go back to that patience and just working hard. I think especially now with quarantine, it’s like, I have the access and the resources to be the best. I understand that everything takes time, patience, and really just believing in yourself. That’s what my motivation is. It’s like I know what I’m capable of, and if you don’t best believe, I’ll show you.

What’s life been like for you as a Black creator?

I’ve seen a lot of brands and companies want to reach out to me. And I’ve had to make the decision on saying to myself, asking myself the question, Why now? It’s very performative in my eyes. And I believe that I understand the climate that we’re in, but there’s different ways to ask for help or to say, “I would like to work with you,” or “I would like to highlight you x, y, and z.” So I think right now, it’s a struggle between a, “okay, do I really want to be a part of this? Because it’s gonna help me and help them?” Or “are they just doing it? Because they need black people?”

Instagram: jaylaj_

What advice do you have for Black creators trying to get their foot in the door?

Don’t be afraid; literally go for it. Don’t be afraid. Once you get your first either brand partnership or brands reach out with you that’s paid, it’s on the go from there. It’s like a domino effect. I would just say, study your craft, understand your audience, figuring out if I do this, what will it look like in the long run, and just really understanding who you are, understanding who your brand is, who your audience is, and what the message behind everything is.

Instagram: jaylaj_

I always say, I aspire to inspire. But I want to be authentic. I don’t want to ever have to say, “Oh, I did that just cause,” or somebody’s like, “Jayla’s never done that before.” But it’s like, no, that’s who she is like, she’s always been like this. For a Black creator coming into something, know your worth, once again, America thrives off Black creativity, whether or not they want to believe it and see it. So understanding who you are, what you can bring to the table. And once again, just believing in yourself is key.

Be sure to stay connected with Jayla on Instagram and Happy Black History Month. 🚀

Zoe Selesi
Zoe is a rising Senior at Syracuse University majoring in Magazine, News & Digital Journalism with a minor in Asian/Asian-American Studies. She is currently the Content Manager at CLLCTVE and the Arts & Culture Senior Editor for Affinity Magazine.
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