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Oscar’s Producer Jeannae Rouzan-Clay Reflects on 10 Years in Entertainment    
By Betti Halsell Contributing Writer
Published April 22, 2021

 

 

“When you work with people who give you the opportunity, you can get where you want to be. In terms of keeping your integrity—in terms of not sacrificing your moral values and who you are, you have to keep those in sight.” -Jennae Rouzan-Clay (Photo by Brittany Brazil)

Jeannae Rouzan-Clay has led the creative direction of a number of identifiable shows that uplift and empower the Black community. With over 50 recognized credits under her belt, Rouzan-Clay reflects on her expertise in the entertainment industry.

Through Jesse Collins Entertainment, Rouzan-Clay was given the tools to develop her role in production with a focus on “specials.” She creates, writes, and oversees the execution of various entertainment programs.

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Rouzan-Clay’s first role as a producer was in 2006, entering TV media under John Cossette Productions; she reminisced on some of her first projects. “I loved what I was doing.  At the time, I was an associate producing. I was getting the opportunity to write and interview for celebrities across the board,” she said.

The key to long-term development with a production company is lifting people up, while climbing yourself; the VP of Specials expressed the benefits of staying committed to a growing legacy. Rouzan-Clay elaborated on her thoughts of working with Jesse Collins, who she met when stationed at John Cossette Productions. Rouzan-Clay said, “He’s always been good about wanting to elevate women of color specifically.”

Rouzan-Clay continued, “He really believes in elevating people who deserve the opportunity.”  She went on to explain the feeling of empowerment that permeates throughout the Jesse Collins company. Inspired by Collins’ ideals for growth, Rouzan-Clay added, “In return, it also gives me the opportunity to do the same for women who are coming up.”

Jesse Collins Entertainment “is a full-service television and film entertainment production company founded by entertainment industry leader, Jesse Collins.” The company’s slate or production line up expanded from music specials to original scripted projects such as “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” starring Kevin Hart, VH1’s “Hip-Hop Squares,” and the three-part narration, “The New Edition Story.”

Rouzan-Clay has been with the Jesse Collins for over 10 years, in counting; she is currently the Vice President of Specials. (Photo by Brittany Brazil)

The media company has grown in popularity; Jesse Collins Entertainment is one of the “premiere production companies in Hollywood.” Rouzan-Clay said in retrospect of her development under Collins, “He’s not one of those producers that [tries] to hold you back in this industry.”

The executive producer of 22nd Super Bowl Gospel Celebration shared that her favorite part of generating shows is the collaborative effort.  She described the process, “From the beginning to the bare bones of what the show is—and how creative you want it to be, all the way to working creatively with talent, with what their vision is, and helping them bring it to life, and the end result on show day.” Rouzan-Clay savors in the challenging moments reflecting in the final product, watching it all play out before her very own eyes.

Rouzan-Clay has been with the Jesse Collins network for over 10 years and counting.  The Vice President of Specials oversees the company’s “slate and tentpole” award shows in addition to the “must-see” specials. A few of those projects include the BET AwardsSoul Train Awards, and Black Girls Rock!

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Beverly Bond’s “Black Girl Rock!” is a special that “celebrates African American women who are trailblazers, change makers or dynamos in their respective fields.” Honorees include producer of Netflix hit series “Bridgerton,” Shonda Rhimes, Director of “Selma,” Ava DuVernay, legendary singer Patti LaBelle, and Grammy Award winning songstress Alicia Keys.

Jesse Collins Entertainment is one of the “premiere production companies in Hollywood.” Rouzan-Clay said in retrospect of her development under Collins, “He’s not one of those producers that try to hold you back in this industry …” Image: Rouzan-Clay’s daughter Savannah Rose Clay learning production with Jesse Collins. (Photo by Brittany Brazil)

Rouzan-Clay dissected her sentiments of being involved with a show that highlighted Black women; the vice president of specials said, “I have to give all the props to Beverly Bond who created that show—that is her baby that she birthed.  She really cares about it a lot. She cares about Black women and seeing them put on the pedestals that they deserve, and she is all about giving women their roses while they’re here.” she stated.

Rouzan-Clay shared that it takes a coalition of support to elevate women in this line of work.  She said, “You got so many women who are out here showing other women that they can do whatever they want to do, and they can be whoever they want to be, in multiple genres within entertainment.”

Other major projects Rouzan-Clay has been a part of include of the Oscars, Soul Train Awards, and the BET Hip-Hop Awards. The executive producer of “Saving Our Selves: BET COVID-19 Relief Effort,” said that all of the shows presented a level of enlightenment in her career. “It’s been an amazing, humbling experience to work on all of them and get to see to see all of them come to life on screen.” The 93rd Oscars looking to air Sunday, Apr 25, at 5 p.m. PST.

Rouzan-Clay shared how she overcomes the hurdles in her field, she said, “There is always some sort of challenge on every show and a challenge is just a new opportunity to find the result that you are looking for—an opportunity to take a look at something at a different direction and say, ‘how do we solve this?’ And there’s always an answer; sometimes it’s not the easiest, but there’s always an answer that you can find to fix the problem.”

With a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans, Rouzan-Clay looked at the significance of her credentials and how it played into her success.  The producer of the Soul Train Awards said,” In terms of this industry, whether or not you need a degree–I think is a personal journey on how you use it—I think college, in general, is about learning how to be out in this world, how to be social, and how to problem solve.”

Rouzan-Clay has accumulated over 50 credits in the entertainment industry, it include shows like the “Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Starring the Weekend,” (2021), “22nd Super Bowl Gospel Celebration,” (2021), “Snoop Dogg & Friends NYE Live Pre-Show,”(2020), and “John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero,”(2020), and many others. From left to right: Jeannae Rouzan-Clay, Tye Tribbett, Connie Orlando, Snoop Dogg, Russ Redeaux, Jesse Collins. (Photo by Brittany Brazil)

 

Rouzan-Clay has accumulated over 50 credits in the entertainment industry, including shows like the “Super Bowl LV Halftime Show, starring the Weekend,” (2021), “the 22nd Super Bowl Gospel Celebration,” (2021), “Snoop Dogg & Friends NYE Live Pre-Show,”(2020), and “John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero,”(2020), and many others.

She closed with gratitude for her husband who took care of the homestead during a global pandemic, while she was vigorously working through the new reality of COVID-19. “My amazing husband, who has been holding it down during quarantine, while I been working like crazy. We have an almost three-year-old-daughter who has been at-home and finally back in school now, but for the first part of the quarantine, it was a little rough.”

Looking at her journey, Rouzan-Clay parted with this critical word of wisdom, “When you work with people who give you the opportunity, you can get where you want to be. In terms of keeping your integrity—in terms of not sacrificing your moral values and who you are, you have to keep those in sight.” Follow Rouzan-Clay on social media; Instagram: @jeannaerouclay and Jesse Collins Entertainment @jessecollinsent.

Categories: Entertainment | Exclusive (Entertainment)
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