I am a partner in AFROPUNK. We are most known for producing events and our social channels that celebrate alternative culture. Our biggest events are our festivals in Brooklyn, Paris, and Atlanta. I have worked in the music business in some form or another all of my life, and I am extremely blessed to have turned my passion and love of music and culture into my profession.
Building the AFROPUNK platform and growing the business globally is powerful work and I don't take that for granted. I am reminded on a daily basis, by young women who reach out to me, [how] the work that we do is helping to push culture forward and is changing the perception of how people of color see themselves. The work is intense and so much fun at the same time!
WHAT SHE DOES FOR LOVE: My sister tells a story about me being obsessed with Julia Child on PBS as a toddler. So naturally, my favorite thing to do in the world is cook! Some of my fondest memories are spending time with my grandmother in her kitchen as her little "sous chef.” She made some of the most delicious delights I have ever tasted in my life - smothered chicken and greens, fried fish with stewed tomatoes, okra and tapioca pudding. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina and her table represented that tradition.
The joy of preparing food is my creative expression and my art. There is no better feeling of accomplishment for me than sitting down at my dining room table with my family and friends after preparing a meal that I have poured my heart into.
HER 2016 GOALS: My goal for 2016 (and 2017) is to follow the sun and live in warmth throughout out the year. As much as I love New York, the winters can be brutal. AFROPUNK's biggest communities online, outside of the US, are in South America and Africa. So, the idea is to produce festivals in warmer environments when it is winter in the city. I will be working hard scouting locations this year. :)
A LADY SHE ADMIRES: There are many dynamic and influential mentors that I have been blessed to have in my life -- from playwright Ntozake Shange to Sylvia Rhone, a successful music business executive -- but my friends, who have all achieved a great deal of success professionally, are my greatest role models. I am very fortunate to have a group friends that have been in my life for 30 years or more that have integrity, are incredibly loving, smart, silly and beautiful - especially, my best friend Jill Jefferson. We support and love each other unconditionally. Since the loss of my mother, I understand why people over the years comment about how amazing our friendship looks from the outside.
NOMINATED BY: Michele Harper
WHY SHE’S A LADY GUN: "I have known Jocelyn Cooper for 30 years and think she should be featured on Lady Guns. We attended college together and along with a circle of friends have remained close over the years. I have bore witness to the many successes in her career, have seen her be challenged as a loving step-mother, as a devoted daughter to an aging mother and find her center as a yogi. She is a great friend, fierce competitor and terrific cook. As an entrepreneur who runs her company, AFROPUNK -- a music festival in New York, Atlanta and Paris -- she is helping to change the cultural landscape globally for people of color. I think she, and her work, should be celebrated."
HER INITIAL REACTION TO HER LADY GUNS NOMINATION: I was unfamiliar with Lady Guns, but I LOVE the idea of celebrating "The Ladies." Feminine energy is one of the most powerful forces on earth, so I am thrilled by the nomination!
HER STYLE : I wear black most of the time -- it is simple, easy and chic. I am obsessed with Rick Owens and my favorite piece of his in my closet is my black leather jacket I've had for 10 years. It's comfy and the silhouette suites my body.
ON HER HOMETOWN: I live and work in New York City, the county of Kings, Brooklyn! It is the place of my birth and my hometown. I love the vibe, the diversity, the access to culture in this town. There are so many things to do, so many amazing places to eat and you can even surf here!
RECOMMENDATIONS IN HER CITY:
• Integral Yoga is my place of peace. I was introduced to the institute when I was 14 years old and have practiced there on and off over the years.
• I am a member of one of the oldest food coops in U.S. and I love to discover new ingredients. The produce buyers do an AMAZING job of picking interesting fruits and vegetables that you can not get anywhere else in New York City.
• Parks are so important for city life. Prospect Park is my favorite. I lived two blocks from it growing up, but still find new places to explore. Taking a moment to be still, to look at the water and listen to the birds sing at the boathouse near the Audubon Center is like taking a mini vacation. Being in nature surrounded by the city never gets old.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP THROUGH CHALLENGES: My mother recently passed away, and she was my biggest cheerleader, supporter and -- it goes without saying -- nurturer. Her transition has been the saddest period of my life. I realized how much my mother’s presence and that feeling of being unconditionally loved permeates my relationships within my circle of close friends. We get together a lot and recently had a conversation over dinner about all of our mothers and growing up feeling smothered in love. The level of trust we [share] shows up in our relationships with each other as we are modeling what we learned in our homes. My friends help me to stay positive and bring good energy into my life -- both personally and professionally. It is so wonderful to have that level of comfort and [know] their support is carrying me through.
HER WISDOM TO FELLOW LADY GUNS: Love more! As James Baldwin said, "Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within."