Hailing from Chicago’s South Side, I witnessed firsthand not only the disparities that exist in the city regarding race relations, but also the many voices that have not been heard. So in 8th grade I decided to do two things: 1) be active in ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to speak regardless of how loud, how poor, how passive their voice was and 2) be heard myself. After high school, I set sail for the Missouri School of Journalism on a quest to get that sought after degree from the best J-School in the nation. I graduated in 2007 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and like many college grads right before the recession, I had no job. This was quite possibly the most humbling experience for me, as it showed me that I wasn’t immune to the harsh realities of life despite my qualifications.
So there I was back at home with the folks and no job. I was lucky enough to get an internship with Chicago Public Media, one of the nation’s most prestigious public radio firms to ever serve the community. There, I gathered lots of skills and got to put that journalism degree into action. So I went from intern, to freelancer, to part time host/producer, to production coordinator and eventually to be the host and producer for the Vocalo Overdrive, Chicago Public Media’s PM drive time show on 89.5FM. These days you can catch me working at JET as the publication’s Digital Content Editor. My beginnings are very humble and no matter how far I get in this journey, I’m committed to remembering that.
Shantell Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on how to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at amazon.com.