We had the good fortune of connecting with Diaunte Jenkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diaunte, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want the name DiaunteJ, to live on far past the days that I will be walking on this earth. DiaunteJ is not just a name but a walking billboard and legacy. When I think about the legacy I want to leave, it is far beyond just the impact I have made in the arts but the imprint I have left on individuals’ hearts and lives. The brand is dedicated to artists and creatives that were always the underdogs but became the flower that bloomed from the concrete and grasped the attention of many by doing what many said was impossible. I want my name and brand to be remembered by my perseverance to always push for the arts and mental health. I pride myself on reciprocity and the act of always pouring into others even when my cup is empty. The arts have been my main outlet in which I have been dancing, choreographing, creatively directing and producing for over 10 years. I pray that people remember me for being that one individual that always pushed them to follow their dreams and their heart no matter what the world told them they were destined for. To be remembered for being a creative genius with a genuine soul and welcoming spirit. The art that I produce along with the extensive resumé I have should speak for itself as to how I have successfully accomplished these things.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets me apart from everyone else in my field is my story, passion, and drive. I am a living testimony that you can do and be whatever you put your mind to. If you believe in yourself and continue to pray about every decision and opportunity given, you will succeed. My creative ability and God given talents naturally sets me apart as well. My village of friends and family, continues to push and motivate me to be my best self which means always outdoing the last thing I previously did, and living for me. I believe at this point in life, I am truly most proud of my self-confidence and tenacity to keep pushing even after being denied by professional companies, working with certain choreographers, and facing denial from opportunities not because of my talent but because of performance perceptions.
The Journey to getting to where I am professionally was not easy at all, but also was not that difficult. I thank God for the foundation that was set by my first few dance teachers because they taught me how to have to tough skin to deal with this industry, and how to maneuver professionally in certain situations. Without a doubt, it took several sleepless nights, sacrifices from both my grandmother and I, and many failures to rise to the occasion. Surrounding myself with a genuine support system, good energy, and a circle full of winners is what created a leeway for me to be where I am. Most of all trusting in God’s plan for me, especially when my plans were completely different, allowed me to get to where I am. Though there were several bumps and bruises on the road, I still managed to come out victorious.
Certainly, the journey is truly just beginning for me, however, I’ve learned so much so far that I would love to share with the world. The first thing is to always stay true to yourself, know your worth, your value and your purpose no matter where you are and what you are doing. Know that what is for you, will be for you and no man or human can ever take those things away from you. I’ve learned to take time to get to know myself not just as a creative but as an individual as well. Once you know who you are in which of course is something you are learning daily, you can truly understand and appreciate your own value and move accordingly. I’ve learned to have patience with the process and to not set goals in life but set milestones so that there is always something to look forward to and not just one thing to work for and stop at.
I want the world to know that Diaunte Jenkins aka DiaunteJ will be someone that is easy to remember but hard to forget. What is happening at this very moment in my career is just the peak of what is to come. Not only is my success a win for me, but a win for my village, my friends, and those young artists who were told to have a “backup plan” when they expressed their true love for the arts as a career, major in school, or their passion.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First stop- (Historical Landmarks) I would take them to my hometown Liberty City to show them the places that groomed me to be the individual and the artist I am. Starting off with the African Heritage Cultural Center in which groomed several legends from my community. I would then take them by my alma mater the historical Miami Northwestern Sr. High to allow them to see first-hand why so many people love and respect our school.
Second Stop- (Food)
It would not be right if I didn’t take the people by World Famous Rib Shack and Seafood, which used to be called “17th Avenue Seafood” and owned by my great grandparents and family. Throughout the week I would make sure we visit, House of Mac, Perry Wings, Finga-lickin, Sunday’s eatery, and a special catering from the infamous Keanna’s Cookbook.
Third Stop- (Let the fun began)
You can’t visit Miami without hosting a boat party, visiting DaCave Lounge, Brickhouse, Gulfstream and going to top golf. A couple other things to do is to visit Bacon Bit*h at bayside for good vibes, great food, and great music.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First off, I would like to give a huge shoutout to the big man above. Shoutout to my Grandmother Eloise, Grandma Kate, and Great Grandmothers for always supporting me.
Special Shoutout to my mom, supportive aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends that turned to family.
Shoutout to my siblings for always pushing me to do better and being my “why” when I feel like giving up.
Shoutout to my close friends (from Antioch, Ailey Camp, UF, MNW) for never letting me settle for less in life.
Shoutout to TitaniK, and my supportive prophytes and Neos.
Shoutout to my teachers that have poured into me in these past few years.