In honor of Black History Month, GG+A is celebrating members of our team and the ways that they, as Black Americans, enrich our community with their insights and perspectives. Today, meet Jarel Loveless, Vice President.
Who are your greatest influences? Do you have any role models?
I have an unexpected one: Lightnin’ Hopkins, who is known as one of the greatest guitarists of all-time and the primary influence for Jimi Hendrix. He’s a relative of mine, and he might be the most influential musician you’ve probably never heard of.
I’m a musician in my spare time, primarily playing bass guitar and trumpet. I grew up immersed in music, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s still such a large part of my life.
What is the best advice you have ever received? What are some words of wisdom that have had the greatest impact on you?
My dad passed away last year, but he was a wealth of knowledge and advice throughout my career. It’s hard to pick just one thing he taught me – but from him I learned the value of keeping cool in stressful situations. I don’t have the luxury of anger in the workplace, so I replaced it with what I call “firm kindness.”
Because of him, I could see myself in a leadership role from an early age. That modelling was incredibly important.
What do you value most about being a Black American?
There’s a lot to love. We have a rich cultural heritage, shaped by a history of resilience, creativity, and community. We take pride in our cultural traditions, which are endlessly imitated.
How has being a Black American shaped you personally and professionally?
Professionally, it has placed an immense amount of pressure on me. My entire career has been spent in fields lacking diverse representation. Often times, I’ve felt like I’m representing all Black Americans every single work day.
On a positive note, I have had the opportunity to push organizations to begin to value diverse philanthropy and representation within the profession. There’s still so much work that needs to be done and the progress has felt slow, but I can note a few big shifts over the last three years.
Do you have a favorite Black author or book about the Black experience that you recommend?
I believe that too much of the entertainment world relies on Black trauma – it is tiring to consume media that shows nothing but pain, but it is important to learn about the Black experience of others that have come before me.
Anyways, let’s go with one of my favorites from the past few years: The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb. Yes, the main character has to overcome quite a bit, but it was still an incredible read. I also recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates.
How do you like to celebrate Black History Month?
I support Black-owned businesses and direct my personal philanthropy to Black-led nonprofits and organizations directly impacting underinvested communities.
Learn more about Jarel and his role at GG+A.