When you’re an entrepreneur in the media industry, rebranding yourself can get a little tricky. First, there’s the risk of losing your readers/viewers, and second, rebranding can be a very long (and sometimes costly) process.
Yet, sometimes, a new career shift can be a refreshing start to a new business endeavor. Meet Detroit entrepreneur Jenifer Young. Five years ago, Jenifer made a big career shift from hosting the popular iRoc Jesus podcast show to creating a web series called To The BEAT.
With over one million listeners, iRoc Jesus focused on various faith-based topics such as “why it is challenging to trust in God’s will for our lives” and “discovering your identity in Christ.” Jenifer’s inspiring work on iRoc Jesus also won her a 2014 Stellar Award!
After winning her Stellar Award, Jenifer felt called to venture into television and create To The BEAT. Together with the help of co-host and business partner Mikhaelia Norwood and a multi-talented production team, the crew created and produced ten episodes for the new show, with only three of the episodes released so far.
Soon, though, Jenifer decided to reach even higher and pitch To The BEAT to a major network. “People are looking for something that’s real. They don’t want fake.” Jenifer explained to me during our phone interview.
“They don’t want scripted. They don’t want the typical reality show where everyone is fighting and arguing, pulling out hair. They really want the real deal and so I think they’ve been waiting for that for a very long time. What better way to put Detroit on the map, number one, but also to let the young people speak.”
JENIFER’S SWITCH FROM PODCAST HOST TO T.V. HOST
It wasn’t an easy decision for Jenifer to rebrand her radio personality to a television personality. “When I switched over to television, I had to really make a tough decision if I was going to bring Jenifer iRoc Jesus over to T.V. because that’s where everybody knew me,” she said.
Taking a leap of faith, Jenifer decided rebranding her business was the right decision to make. She also saw it as an opportunity to reach a larger audience. “I think the concept of [To The BEAT] is important for this generation because one– there isn’t really on the mainstream level, television content [that is] wholesome,” Jenifer continued.
“Christian content is kind of in this box, like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to do a show about Jesus? I don’t believe in Jesus, therefore, I won’t support your show.’” But Jenifer didn’t let the naysayers stop her from reaching her dream. She kept working hard and trusted God’s calling for her new career.
WHAT MAKES TO THE BEAT UNIQUE?
Filmed primarily in the city of Detroit, To the BEAT delves into topics about faith and other important life issues such as mental health awareness. The first episode aired in 2016 and featured an interview with hip hop artist Mahogany Jones. “We got some really good interviews in the city,” Jenifer told me.
Even though To the BEAT features faith-based content, Jenifer emphasized her new T.V. show is a show for everyone– not just Christians. “To the BEAT isn’t just a Christian show,” Jenifer said. “It’s also a platform for young people to express themselves and become a part of the show and I think that’s what makes it so unique.”
The show will also feature interviews with guests from all walks of life on a local and national level. For instance, on one of the To The BEAT episodes, Jenifer interviewed Grammy Award-winning recording artist Erica Campbell— also ½ of the duo Mary Mary (one of my all-time favorite Christian music singers)!
FEATURING INSPIRING + RELATABLE CONTENT FOR THE YOUTH
Creating encouraging and relatable content for youth is something Jenifer is passionate about. On the show, there’s one segment in particular that Jenifer feels is an important part of To The BEAT because viewers will find it relatable.
Likening “Let’s Talk” to the 90s BET talk show Teen Summit (Ananda Lewis was my favorite!), the T.V. host said “Let’s Talk” gives the audience the opportunity to participate in important discussion topics.
“It kind of gives a voice to this generation and allows us to really speak about things we’re passionate about,” she explained. “I think it’s honestly the most important part of the show. I can sit and have an amazing conversation with anybody that comes on the show, but [with] ‘Let’s Talk’ I want to make sure I give young people a voice.”
Jenifer also wants people to know Detroit is a city of creators. “I want Detroiters to take away [from To the BEAT] that we (Detroiters) are multi-talented. I know that we are known for Motown and the automotive industry, but I also feel like we are creators!”
You can watch To The BEAT on its official website here. There are currently three episodes available, including Erica and Warryn Campbell’s interview with Jenifer. Keep a lookout for upcoming episodes of To The BEAT! Jenifer exclaimed, “I really believe this is going to be the new thing of T.V. and I’m excited about it!”
HOW TO CONNECT WITH JENIFER YOUNG
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All photographs are courtesy of Jenifer Young.