We Are Not a Monolith: JaNeika and JaSheika James on Their Book, Living Double | Interviews

And why did it help that you had worked on shows of various ethnic backgrounds and cultures? 

Fortunately, we’ve always been able to work in diverse writers’ rooms and on diverse productions. It’s all we know, and to be honest, it’s how all writers’ rooms and productions should be. Having a room full of people who actually reflect the television viewing audience networks desire only increases a series’ appeal to larger portions of the population.  

JaSheika and JaNeika James, authors of Living Double.

Okay, spill the tea on combining a successful career and a successful social and personal life. How has this evolved for you? 

Honestly? Finding and creating balance is an ongoing battle for us both. Our lives look very different, personally, as we discuss in the book. JaSheika is married, JaNeika is single, and although we absolutely love what we do, we recognize that what we do is not all encompassing of our existence. So, we work very hard to create the balance we desire so that we may grow and expand our families, our wellness and self-care practices, as well as our health and service to others. Not only for our own sanity, but because without balance—we lose sight of what we love to do in creating, as it becomes that much more difficult. We are still very much “works in progress” when it comes to this.

The last question I like to ask: If I could wave my magic wand and grant your every wish. What would you wish for generally for the world? 

For folks to have unconditional, undeniable, unapologetic, and uninhibited love for one another. Grace and mercy are somewhat difficult to find in abundance throughout the world right now, yet so desperately needed.

And which projects would you like to see funded immediately?

Two projects we’re developing that we’d love to see greenlit are based on books written by Black women with two vastly different lives. My Soul Looks Back is a memoir we’ve optioned written by renowned cookbook author, Jessica B. Harris. We’re also developing a pilot titled Philly Reign, based on the life of Thelma Wright as told in her book, With Eyes From Both Sides: Living My Life In and Out of the Game. These are two women whose powerful stories are told throughout the same time of the 70s and 80s. Although they take place around the same period, the vast difference in their experiences (one at the tail end of the Black Artist Movement in New York, the other in the drug game at the center of the City of Brotherly Love) help showcase that we, as Black women, are not a monolith, and that our unique and powerful stories deserve to be told. 

For more information on JaNeika and JaSheika James or to purchase their book, Living Double, visit their official site.

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