Interview with April 2021 Diversity Winner - Jason A. Coombs
How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place?
I have always loved writing, I remember in 6th-grade, writing my own version of Cinderella after watching the Whitney Houston version! I had high hopes that our music teacher, Mrs. Patterson, would produce it with us because I was obsessed with the film. She was so supportive even though the script was a hot mess! Which gave me a bit of confidence to continue to write as I got older. However, I always struggled with actually finishing my plays, novels, and screenplays.
It wasn't until I moved to NYC in my mid-twenties and was balancing auditioning full time for minor roles as an actor and working in production offices that I felt my creativity was not being fully realized. I ended up taking a writing class for fun and met a mentor, Victor Verhaeghe, who reminded me that my voice was important and I deserved to take up space. Having that affirmation made me really work on the craft of writing and start centering Black and Queer characters in my narratives which I felt was truly lacking in the media I've consumed.What genre do you prefer to write in? What draws you to that genre?
I honestly enjoy writing across multiple genres, though I always have to add a bit of humor to the stories I create. I've always loved comedy and I love to make people laugh, so even if it's a drama or horror thriller, I still add some moments of levity!Tell us three things you're currently digging (show, book, food, podcast, whatever!)
The first thing I am currently digging and have been telling everyone to watch is I May Destroy You created by Michaela Cole and currently on HBO. It is one of the most brilliantly written and genuinely told stories I've watched in a long time. I've been a fan of Michaela since Chewing Gum but her work on I May Destroy You is on a whole other level. She also has mastered adding humor to such high drama which leaves audiences crying from laughter in one moment and then crying from the high stakes drama in the next!
Second, I have to shout out the In the Thick podcast co-hosted by journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela for keeping me sane through the last election cycle and the first few months of the Biden/Harris presidency. I love how they touch on such important topics of what is going on in our country from a Latinx perspective and do so by reminding listeners that there are still reasons to smile in the world. And that finding joy is also a form of activism which is an important reminder when there's so much out of our control. I even got my seventy-year-old Jamaican mom into listening to them when I take her to doctor appointments!
Lastly, I spent most of Saturday in bed watching a Living Singlemarathon! It's such a classic 90s show that I watched growing up, but now viewing it as an adult, there's so much I missed and didn't fully grasp, which makes it even funnier. Looking back and seeing such a diverse group of young Black professionals was so inspiring and ahead of the times in a way. The women were all different body types, Queen Latifah's character owned her own business, there were a lawyer, a stockbroker, and a struggling artist among the group. It's such a pleasure and I see why it's still in syndication 25 years later.What interested you about the Roadmap Diversity Initiative?
I really enjoyed how the Roadmap Diversity Initiative uplifts underrepresented voices. I just started taking general meetings after my pilot script Chasers got some positive feedback on the Blacklist website. So having access to develop my pitching skills with industry professionals is so important and necessary for me, especially where I am in my writing journey.Where can we find you?
You can find me at @JasonACoombs on IG, Twitter, and Facebook. Fun fact, after having a Twitter for 12 years I finally mastered the basics! Next stop, Tik Tok!!