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Interview: Jae Joseph on communication, cultural appropriation and being successful

Photos: Breanna Nichelle
Jae Joseph
Photos: Breanna Nichelle

Have you ever been in a room, and an individual walks in and shifts the energy? It’s the kind of experience you encounter in Jae Joseph’s presence. He’s one of the youngest and best figures in a global, thriving art world. Physically hovering over many and as confident as they come, he is a visionary, creative director and businessman who knows, understands and embodies the many vital traits of success and its maintenance. If you’re a young boss looking for inspiration in someone who has a very unique perspective on the business, this interview is for you. Take notes.

Update (February 16, 2016): Joseph no longer identifies with the FREIDE+CO label. He simply goes as “JAE” now.

Tell us about your beginnings: Where are you from? Where we were you born? What are your parents like? What was your favourite part about growing up?

I’m British West Indian. My early beginnings were heavily influenced by my grandfather Brennon Joseph, who was undoubtedly the patriarch of my family and such a legacy in his own right. Being nurtured in house where my grandparents had 6 girls and 2 boys of their own, I have always been looked at as the youngest of their own. My family has always been very creative and entrepreneurial, from designing clothes, to painting, and literature. I was always surrounded by a myriad of talents. So I would say my most covet part of childhood was having my family there as an integral part of my development.

Were you “the tall kid”? How tall are you? Do you think your vantage point on life, physically, has anything to do with how successful you are?

Always been the tall and slender kid since about 9-years-old, although I was quite a chubby youngster. And yes to be honest, at some instances I do feel it has been an advantage to me in some cases.

How does culture and [mass] communication play into your everyday life? What makes one “cultured”?

I am constantly communicating and relaying messages whether it be professional, personal, or social. Communication is vital in reaching and connecting with others. It’s how we build, it’s how develop, communication is the key point to making magic in our every day lives. Culture is something that you are born with and continues to develop over time through self-education, travels, enlightenment, and through influences such as literature and music.


Talk to me about your taste, and where you believe it comes from? If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, would life be different or would you apply the same drive?

I would attribute my taste again, back to my family as I mentioned earlier, through the leading of great minds and creatives in my family. I developed certain tastes, wants, and desires through the lifestyle, that led in front me. I believe I would always apply the same drive to whatever my life profession was, whether is was a music career or being a librarian.

We’re living in a time where the term “cultural appropriation” is alive and well. What are your sincere thoughts on the topic and which groups of people do you believe is entitled to such a privilege, if you will?

“Borrowing” is a key component of cultural appropriation. In the 1950s, for example, white musicians borrowed the musical stylings of their black counterparts. Cultural appropriation remains a concern for a variety of reasons. For one, this sort of “borrowing” is exploitative because it robs minority groups of the credit they deserve. Art forms, music forms, etc., that originated with minority groups come to be associated with members of the dominant group. As a result, the dominant group is deemed innovative and edgy, while the disadvantaged groups they “borrow” from continue to face negative stereotypes that imply they’re lacking in intelligence, creativity and more. In addition, when members of a dominant group appropriate the cultures of others, they often reinforce stereotypes about minority groups.

Are you a product of cultural appropriation?

I am only a product of love and creative influence.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be? (You can answer this with a real location in mind or cognitively.)

In my mind, I am always in the South of France enjoying a plate of artisanal cheeses and baguettes and Bordeaux.

Share a story about FREIDE+CO. How long has it been in existence? What sparked the idea?

FREIDE+CO has been in flight for 8 years. It started out as a means of being able to display my own creative ideas and collaborating with established brands, as well as emerging artists and designers to build new and exciting vehicles of communicating and developing new avenues of brand messaging.

What do you think are the relevant characteristics of someone who truly aspires to be a successful human being?

Success can be reached and determined by many factors. For me, I believe that the key is to persevere, stay focused, and practice time management.

What are your biggest fears as a visionary? What are your biggest fear as a leader?

Fear is not is my part of my vernacular.

If you could change one thing or anything about the method of currency valuation, what would you alter? Would this system exist? Why or why not?

I think it’s all as simple as knowing the supply and demand of your current economy and how it affects your life and personal assets. Not sure that much of this can be altered in the way that our systems and governments are in place.


What mark or impression do you want to leave on Earth?

I want to be known for my burgeoning passion for all things in life, love, and human connection.

As a culture with magnificent creators and visionaries like yourself, in ten years, where do you see the world? Do you think it’ll change for the better?

The world will always be in a constant change with creative climate; this can only open the doors and avenues for future creatives, and the sustaining success of the visionaries of this time.


Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is the North American Press Agent and US Business Manager for Oxlade; Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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