Former “Love and Hip-Hop New York” cast member Jhonni Blaze (née Jzapal Jackson) has now joined WeTV Network’s hit reality series “Growing Up Hip-Hop: Atlanta.”
Moving over from VH-1, Blaze intends to take advantage of this new venture to further develop her music career.
During her childhood, Blaze was subjected to many emotional and physical hardships. When she was 15 years old, she was unfortunately forced into prostitution. While living with her father in New York, she traveled by herself to Philadelphia without his knowledge.
Explaining how she was forced to submit to teenage prostitution, Blaze said, “I was taking a bus to Philly, and I thought it was for a photo shoot to make some money. I was like a bad kid. I really wasn’t too close to my dad, so I was just like a rebel. So I got myself into something, and ended up being into prostitution at 15 years old until 17 years old until I was legal enough to switch and just dance.”
Blaze began appearing in music videos as a video vixen for artists such as Jim Jones, Chris Brown and Yung Berg. She also modeled for magazines such as “XXL,” “B.A.D.D.” and “Hip-Hop Weekly.” After dancing and modeling for a while, Blaze decided she was ready for a career change.
Reflecting on her journey as a stripper, video vixen and model, Blaze said, “I just got tired. The money was cool. That was the only reason why I did the dancing. The money was helping me provide for my family, so I did it. I don’t regret anything I went through or that I did. It’s about now, taking it and showing somebody else that’s out there, that you can be at your lowest. Then you look up and you’re at your highest peak, and you keep going.”
As a child, Blaze’s mother introduced her to classical music. Her mother bought her a keyboard, and Blaze used it to teach herself how to play piano. This same musical curiosity resulted in her successfully teaching herself to play the clarinet, violin, drums and acoustic and bass guitars.
Blaze’s time as a cast member of “Love and Hip-Hop New York” increased Blaze’s popularity, particularly as a multifaceted musician and singer. She ultimately aspires to create “everlasting music,” that people will be able to continue to enjoy listening to many years from now.
Acknowledging her family as her primary support system and motivation for succession, Blaze said, “I want to provide for my family. I don’t really think about money, because I know it will come. When it does come, I’m not the one to go and buy fashionable stuff. I want to be able to hand over money to one of my family members who maybe wants to open up a company. My thing is to see my family be successful.”
Witnessing her mother combat ovarian cancer three times while simultaneously providing for their family, Blaze became inspired to participate in humanitarian endeavors. Recently, she partnered with an Atlanta Salvation Army to provide 400 turkeys to families for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Along with donating the turkeys, she also plans to donate toys to needy children.
Part of the transition to becoming a new cast member of “Growing Up Hip-Hop Atlanta” will involve Blaze showcasing more of her evolving music career. She recently released an EP titled”5:12.” She explained that the EP was named after an episode of heartbreak that she suffered one morning at 5:12 AM. She is currently promoting her two hit singles from “5:12”: “Bad Woman” and “Elephant Man.” Her mixtape “Breaking Point” was released in August.
Blaze has worked hard to create and maintain inner peace, despite all of the troubles she faced when she was younger.
“I used to worry myself, and be depressed about things not happening,” she said. “You can’t put too much pressure on yourself. Stress is one of the top things people die from. People are trying to be accepted, but we weren’t put on the Earth for everybody to accept us in the first place.”