“What others tell you is their belief. It’s up to you to believe it or choose to be different and take your dreams as far as you want them to.”
I used to dream of being a professional dancer and gave up on that dream because I didn’t think my career would last that long and my confidence level went down when dancing with more experienced dancers. This allowed me to think I wasn’t capable of progressing.. However, after interviewing professional entertainer, Jennifer Slaughter; I’ve realized that I let my challenges cause me to give up on that dream instead of finding a way to overcome my challenges.
Jennifer is proof that no challenge is too great to live the dream you believe you deserve and desire.. Jennifer has overcome many challenges such as believing that she doesn’t have a typical dancer’s body and not being tall enough. Although she admits to giving up at times to pursue her dreams as a professional entertainer, she has stayed true to living the life she’s always dreamed of and more.. From touring as a dancer with Young Money to playing the bass guitar on stage with Jason Derulo, she is living her dream.
Jennifer considered dance as a hobby in high school as she accepted the same belief that she wouldn’t go far professionally. It wasn’t until her senior year of college at Michigan State University when she was Performance Director for Urban Dreams that she decided to pursue dance as a career.
It was her struggle of being laid off from her public relations position at Henry Ford that led her to chase her dreams in the entertainment industry. Many of her friends found opportunities to pursue dance professionally in Atlanta and only 5 days after losing her job, she moved to do the same. Although it seemed like Atlanta had an opportunity for her, she temporarily moved back to her hometown, Detroit, MI a week later to perform in Producer, Angela Barrow Dunlap’s Church Girls. She focused on dancing and acting but also became a choreographer for the play.
She then moved on to bigger opportunities such as performing for stars such as Drake, Lil Wayne, T.I., Jazmine Sullivan, Miranda Lambert and even performing with Heavy D in his last performance.. Jennifer has also worked with Professional Choreographer of Dreamgirls, Aakomon “AJ” Jones and Fatima Robinson, choreographer of the HBO Inauguration event for President Barack Obama.
Jennifer’s favorite job thus far was performing in the James Brown movie, Get On Up because she grew up with a musical family and James Brown was one of the reasons she realized music is her passion. Even with all her success, she is grateful for every job she’s been blessed with and is always looking for her next opportunity.
Although Jennifer’s dream seems to be filled with a lot of glitz and glamour, she says it is a road less traveled for a reason. She’s been unemployed at times, slept on other people’s couches and broke and says it’s a constant grind until you make it to the top.. As I said earlier, she sometimes gave up on her dream and would resort back to a regular job but she’s realized that if she never gave up, she would’ve missed out on other opportunities..
There was a time she gave up and became a retail Store Manager and quickly realized that she hated having a regular job as she felt unfulfilled physically and spiritually.. So she transferred with her job to New York and landed a job with BET in production. She enjoyed this role because she listened to music all day and wanted to figure out how to be a part of dancing in one of the female bands but was denied. Although this was disappointing for her, it only led her to explore other opportunities to fulfill her passion in music..
Jennifer realized that she enjoyed instruments and wanted to become a musician playing the bass guitar. One of her friends owned a bass a guitar so after playing it she fell in love and found another passion within her passion. She knew that music was her calling but she didn’t know her next step after dancing what it would entail. It only made sense for her to see herself as a musician as her grandfather was known as a jazz trumpeter who toured with Motown Records artists such as The Supremes and The Jackson 5.
She explains that being a dancer and a bass guitar player are completely different experiences in the entertainment industry as far as her capability to truly be herself.. Her image is important in the entertainment industry no matter what role she is in but she feels like she can be more of herself as a musician compared to a dancer. As a musician, she doesn’t have to count calories or wear certain hairstyles and can express her creativity more. Yet in either role, she is accountable for how she performs.
As Jennifer followed her dreams and overcame her struggles, she learned a lot a long the way. She’s learned to always look at the best-case scenario and not even acknowledge a worse-case scenario because she doesn’t acknowledge that there is one.. She believes something great is going to happen in whatever she does. She also believes it’s important to travel the world in order to change the creativity of your mind and gain inspiration. More importantly, when chasing your dreams she believes in following these steps to ensure you achieve them:
1) Think about them
2) Speak about them
3) Find a plan of action
4) Allow God to lead you to it.
Jennifer is currently starting a band with musicians in Los Angeles, CA and is focusing on being the best musician she can be. She wants to play with as many musicians as possible. Although her focus is now on being a bass guitar player, she sees her musicianship as an addition to being a dancer and not necessarily as a transition in living her dreams. I am sure much more is to come for entertainer, Jennifer Slaughter.