Monday, February 5, 2018

Women of the Word - Jozanne Marie

When we first moved to Los Angeles in 2007 we attended cultural events as a way of getting to know our new city better. In 2013, I was reading the LA Times when I saw a review of the play Beautiful. Here's an excerpt from that Critic's Choice review:
"If Jozanne Marie can’t persuade you to let go of that old grudge you’ve been nursing, nobody can. In her stunning and courageous autobiographical one-woman show, “Beautiful,” produced by the Latino Theatre Company, she describes a childhood blighted by betrayal and abuse, redeemed by forgiveness.
Born in Jamaica, a child of rape, Marie had the luck to be taken in by her warm, fiercely protective grandmother whom she called Mummy. Other adults in her life proved unworthy, often monstrously so, of her trust."

What initially stood out was that the play's setting traversed Jamaica and New York. Out of curiosity, we went to see the play and we were blown away by its storyline and the work of Christian redemption. I  met Jozanne after the play and wrote glowingly of this experience. Since that time, I've followed her on social media and have recommended that all my friends see this play. Meet this month's Woman of the Word, a Christian playwright, an actress, a poet, and an ordained minister - Jozanne Marie.
Jozanne Marie

1. As an actress and playwright, how does the Bible inspire your work?
JM: I am extremely excited to read and meditate on Scripture because it strengthens me to serve better in the world and community where I am placed. After being ministered to, the Holy Spirit never fails to move on my heart to create art that caters to my environment and fulfill the purpose for why I am here.

2. How does inspiration work for you? How do you know that what you're creating or understanding is as if God is moving and you're just the vehicle?
JM: Most times when I am inspired to write or perform in a project, I either feel burdened or elated with joy in my soul. I become passionate about the project. These are signs for me to know God is moving in my heart. Whatever it is, I have learned to say yes and let God take care of the rest. One of my favorite scriptures is “For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

3. How do you handle complex topics that may not align with popular views? Can you give an example?
JM: First, I pray. You probably will hear me say that a lot. Prayer is a huge part of my daily practice. I believe every person and situation is different and unique to God. While knowing scripture, prayer gives me perspective, wisdom, and solution in dealing with different and difficult subject matters. I need direction from the Holy Spirit always. For instance, when I was getting married, I invited someone to my wedding that hurt me tremendously in the past. Most people would say that was a foolish decision based on the magnitude of that individual's sin. But I prayed about it first and it was in prayer, I knew God wanted this individual there. In a world where most people seek vindication through revenge, God wanted me to forgive this person and show them His amazing grace when they were the least deserving. As a result, it not only granted me freedom but enabled me to understand the magnitude of God’s love for me.

4. Your solo play "Beautiful" deals with many difficult topics. When confronted by the truth of scripture, even for difficult topics, how does it re-orient you?
JM: Life can be difficult and people are complex. Today, we live in a narcissistic world where everything is about how “I” feel and what “I” think, which is cool to some extent. But it is also a fearful thing when no one wants to be corrected. Scripture does that for me. It reminds me that I am not all-knowing. It sets my boundaries in a healthy way that ultimately guides me for success not just in my professional life, but my personal life as well.

5. Who is your target audience and what is your overriding message?
JM: Oh, women! I love talking to women about their purpose and identity. Women tend to be the most scrutinized species. As a young lady growing up, the journey to womanhood was filled with many questions that most times were unanswered. After the age of 16, I found myself apologetic about almost everything. But the older I got, I saw the women around me also struggled with who they were and their place in the world. After much soul-searching and my encounter with God, I found not just my freedom but also my identity. All that to say my overall message is that God loves women way more than society or even religion expresses. And for what Jesus did on the cross, we no longer have to live in the shame of our past. Freedom is our inheritance. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

6. Tell us a little bit about yourself, current projects you are working on and where you can be found.
JM: I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in the Boogie Down, Bronx. As a child, I had a passion for people and wanted to see a better world. But the only way I was able to express myself was through the arts. Movies like “ The Color Purple" and TV shows like, “The Cosby Show” were very significant in my life. From my tiny room, I believe God used them both to inspire me to pursue the arts. First, I am a child of God; acting, writing, and speaking is the medium; and God uses my voice to tell His story. Currently, I am working on my second solo play. Recently, I finished writing a screenplay, a TV Show and getting ready to release my memoir, “BEAUTIFUL, No More Secrets, No More Shame” this year. In addition, I am still touring with my solo play, BEAUTIFUL, a show that every woman should see. Trust me, it will change your life. For more information about me, I can be reached at www.jozannemarie.com or follow me on any social media platform at @JozanneMarie


7. How do you deal with discouragement and doubt? (Bonus question)
JM: First, I pray for myself or ask for prayer. I also read the Bible to remind me of God’s promises. Outside of that, I have an amazing community of friends who I am able to share my struggles with and lean on in the time of need.




--Nylse

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8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for introducing us to Jozanne. I have a friend in LA and I’m going to share this with her. I know she’d love it.

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  2. I'm glad to learn more about Jozanne. Thanks for sharing this amazing woman with us!

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  3. I love this. I would love to meet her and to see this play. Thanks so much.

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    1. Hi, Amy! Would love to.meet you too. Do you live in LA. I am performing , Beautiful on March 17th

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  4. She sounds like an amazing and interesting woman. I would love to see her play or does she have any books? It seems like she would be an interesting read.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. If you are in LA, I will be performing on March 17th. Book is on the way :)

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  5. Thanks, Nlyse for an amazing interview and support! Blessings.

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