Interview

All Hail the King and Queen: Jay “Mr. Real Estate” Morrison and Ernestine Johnson [Part 1]

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We’ve watched their black love grow for 5 months all over social media, and I could not be happier for Jay “Mr. Real Estate” Morrison and Ernestine Johnson. When their love, but most importantly their black love comes to mind, you think of firstly POWER, STRENGTH, and KNOWLEDGE. As many other words do come to mind, Jay and Ernestine represent us. They are the voice of the voiceless, and the backbone of the weak. They speak truth and pour love, support, and facts into our black communities. They advocate for our rights. They are proud Entrepreneurs and Activists of our time. Young Malcolm and Young Betty some may refer to them as; what an honor to be put on such a pedestal and high regard. They deserve it and everything that’s in store.

You may know Jay Morrison from a multitude of platforms. He is a real estate investor, realtor, TV personality, entrepreneur, bestselling author, social activist and CEO and founder of the Jay Morrison Brand and the Jay Morrison Academy. JMA is a real estate investing school with a physical campus in Atlanta that offers online course and mentorship. He has found great success in out working the work (fool!) and helping restore and repair our men and women.  He challenges you to use your mind and regardless of your circumstance, you can make a difference. He has used his troubled past as leverage to overcome what many may have had doubts that he would have today. Ernestine Johnson’s man is resilient and that speaks volumes as a black man. That example is contagious and that’s exactly the message he is spreading. There is hope.

Ernestine “The Dream” Johnson is truly a force to be reckoned with. The Dream is how he references his Queen in his poem dedicated to her back in May, when he “proposed” to her to be his lady. He professed his love for the mass to witness all over social media and every one at the Corner Class that day. Ernestine is a keeper. She is strong and a true representation of a woman standing by her man and backing him. He can lead the pack and she lets him and follows. Yes, yes, she is a boss of her own right; her art is beast. You may have seen her on The Arsenio Hall Show, where she performed her original spoken word piece, which went viral with over 40 million views on the internet. “Average Black Girl” may be the name of the poem, but EJ isn’t that. She is far more than what meets the eye. Jay Morrison’s woman is a Businesswoman and hard-working Actress, always seeking her next venture. She left her day job in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. Thank God she did, because if she didn’t, she may have not been in place to meet her King.

As a union they found a perfect marriage between his financial literary and her art, and mutually took it on the road and combined their same love for our people and our communities. Neither one of their lives were painted flawless, but they persevered; you should see them now. I saw them and several others gathered around the park, Malcolm X and MLK in SE D.C. To see the response they received and the influence was mind-blowing. It was breath-taking. I heard someone say, “He is taller than what I thought he is in person.” I heard others around their hood walk up and ask, “What’s this? Who is he? What is he talking about?” While everyone else knew who he was, and many like myself travelled various distances to see this moment in fruition; others were being introduced to the Jay Morrison Brand for the first time. Those that inquired stayed. Jay kept the attention for 2.5 hours none stop of content and realism. All ages and all walks of life stood before him, with open ears and minds to soak up every word he spoke. He couldn’t go without introducing his Queen, of course, at the closing of the night. He spoke his famous poem about her, in which until Tuesday he had never officially named; it was fittingly unnamed. I gave him the name, “My Queen, Ernestine.” That’s what I hear when I hear him speak those alluring thoughts about her. In summary she is the Queen to his King. She couldn’t go without speaking in true Ernestine-Fashion. She performed not only one, but two poems for the wide-park-audience. She performed her legendary, “Dear Black Man” and another poetic original for our people.

I took away most the ownership and freedom takeaway. It’s simply, own or be owned. We have to know our abilities and what we are capable of. Jay preached to all that listened with crowd participation and frankness. My favorite was the mention of their “JMA policy,” it’s a stapled rule to be called KING AND QUEEN, no matter your position. I love that. Thank you for a memorable night for our own and the opportunity to speak with you, twice. I appreciate your humbleness and pure truthfulness during our chat.  I had a lot of fun with these two.  You can read on and hear the authencity and the laughter (which we did almost throughout the entire conversation), especially if you know EJ and Jay.  If you don’t, then after this, you are sure to.

There are countless things to know about EJ and Jay, but one thing is for sure, they are “Partners in Power,” and there is no doubt about that. There are also a number of reasons to get to know them and why you should. I have a few (and there are more): if you love our people, if you are educated, if you are open-minded, and want to advance to the next level. Then level up, and follow this rooted black couple. Read all about Ernestine and Jay and get to know them here, but as Ernestine mentioned, Rolling Out also wrote an amazing piece with reasons why you should get to know them, which further justifies my case. Needless to say, I agree.

“I know that nobody out works the work like E.J. and Jay.”

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PYNK: For you, Ernestine, I want to ask, who is Jay Morrison? If you had to describe him professionally and personally, how would you describe him?

Ernestine Johnson: Jay Morrison is probably one of the most resilient men that I’ve ever met, one of the most innovative men that I have ever met. He’s a natural leader. He’s brilliant. He operates from a very brilliant mind. He’s really a genius in the way he’s been able to mix social activism in real estate and all of the keys and tools … The life skills that he’s learned through prison and just living life, and how he’s been able to create products that all kind of intertwine with all of those different aspects and make a living out of it. Not only just make a living, but make an impact. It’s really deviant. So he’s an amazing man.

“He’s a leader.”

PYNK: Awesome. For you, Jay, if you had to describe Ernestine?

Jay Morrison: In regard to my woman, my queen, some of the first words that pop up in describing her are strong and resilient. Ernestine is very bubbly and friendly and high energy. Gregarious is the word she uses. So I try to stay right. But under all of that, she is very, very strong, has survived more; and accomplished more through her struggles than almost anyone I’ve ever known. She hides it well. She has a real depth and strength for survival, but not only survival, in thriving also. She’s very loving and extremely nurturing. Not just towards me, but just towards people in general, towards women in general, towards black men and women in general.
One thing that really caught my attention before she and I had a personal relationship was through her poetry and her art, how much she wanted to put love into black men. That was something that we as black men don’t see very much, is a black woman rooting for us unconditionally, despite all of our vestiges and baggage. She is a nurturer. She herself is a leader. She’s very, very bright, very articulate, very thoughtful, is a great networker. She is great at nurturing relationships and she thinks about everybody. She was raised well, and she has a lot of etiquette and class. She exudes a lot of things, but at the same time, she’s a rider, and her nose not stuck up in the air.

“She’s very down to earth, and a very amazing woman.”

Ernestine: Thank you, Jay Morrison.

PYNK:  I love how you talk about her so passionately. I’ve been following your relationship, because of course it’s all over social media and I’ve always admired the love that you all have more than anything because you lift each other up, and that’s so important. So I really admire that.

Ernestine: Thank you.

PYNK: You’re welcome. If you had to say, the both of you together as a union, how would you describe Jay and Ernestine together?

Ernestine: We are many things. Power is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think about us as a collective, as a unit. I think of a force. I think of power. I think of leadership.

“We are the Bobby and Whitney of activism.” -Jay

Ernestine: We do what we wanna do.

Jay: We live life how we wanna live life.

Ernestine: We live life how we wanna live life, and create our own lanes and we live by our rules.

Jay: We really enjoy life. We care about other people at the same time, but are very fun. We can be wild when we wanna be. We are very open and high energy. We’re both high energy, it’s a very intense relationship.

PYNK: That’s awesome. How did you come up with the names “Young Betty” and “Young Malcolm”? What was the inspiration behind that? 

Ernestine: Before I met Jay, people called him Young Malcolm, because he lived by the ideology and philosophy of Malcolm X. He branded “Young Malcolm” I did this subliminal Instagram post one day. I have this picture from a still shot from one of my short films, Formation. It was me and two little girls with our right fists in the air. I posted it. The caption said, “On any given day, I’ll be your Young Betty”. And Young Betty is for Betty Shabazz, who was Malcolm X’s wife.  It started off as a subliminal little flirt seen on Instagram, and then people just ran with it. Now it’s Young Malcolm and Young Betty.

PYNK: I think you all get called Young Betty and Young Malcolm more than you do Jay and Ernestine. It’s kind of funny how it’s completely switched.

Ernestine: Yes.

Jay: She got mad at me. In the beginning, she was mad at me because she’s like, “My name is Ernestine Johnson. I have a brand. My name is Ernestine Johnson.” She was a little mad, but people were like, “Where Queen Betty at, Where Young Betty at?”

Ernestine: People literally call me “Betty.” They’ll see me on the street, and they’ll be like, “Betty. Oh my God. I love you.” I’m like, “Yeah, but it’s really Ernestine Johnson.

PYNK: That’s hilarious. But at least it’s a good problem to have. It could be worse, you know? It could definitely be worse.

Ernestine: Absolutely.

Jay: People call you worse than that, correct.

PYNK: Exactly. So talk about the beginning. How, when, and where did you guys meet?

Ernestine: I walked right into his office. I have a friend that was working for him, and she’s like, “Yeah. I have to go to work tomorrow.” I said, “Work? You have a new job?” She’s like, “Yeah. I’m working for this guy named Jay Morrison, a real estate guy.” I was like, “Yeah. I follow him on Instagram.” I said, “I really love what he does.” She goes, “Oh my God, you guys should meet each other. You guys are so much alike. You guys could bring a lot of synergy to each other. You guys operate from the same frequency. Oh my God. You guys totally should meet.” I was like, “Cool. Let’s meet. Maybe we can build; we can synergize and intertwine our clients.” It was a business effort. She walked me right into his office, and then what happened, babe?

Jay: We professionally hit it off, and we had follow-up meetings. We hung out, we talked about community, how we could synergize our brand, what she knew, who I knew, what we could do, etc.; and that built. At that time, I was just getting out of a relationship. That came to an end. She and I more progressively started hanging out, and getting to know one another. She performed at one of my corner classes, and she did an amazing job. I was like, “You know what? We do more of it why don’t you come on tour? Would you go to these next 24 cities?” She came on tour in a few cities in from our tour. I was trying to take my time and not hop right back into another relationship. I took a little bit of time, but the energy was right. I knew I needed a strong woman by me, one that had the same passions and love for our people as I do, and the one that could support me on this journey. It was at a point where I felt it was right, pray on it and all that good stuff. May 2nd of this year at our Chicago corner class I claimed her as my woman.

Ernestine: With a poem. He wrote a poem for me. He performed it at our corner class in Chicago, and that’s how he introduced me to the world, live on Facebook and Instagram.

PYNK: Speaking of touring, how has it been touring together?

Ernestine: It’s been really, really amazing. Being that Jay and I were still new, not only are we on tour together, but we’re getting to know each other on tour. Our getting to know each other process has been on a plane, in the hotel, every week after week. So it’s been a really interesting journey. You get to know somebody really quickly when you’re traveling together every day, and things go pretty quick. But it’s been really beautiful.

Jay: All day, every day.

PYNK:  What does Black Love ultimately mean to you?

Jay: I’ll say, first and foremost, as a black person or as an African in America or of African descent, or African in the world, you have to love yourself, first and foremost. So you can’t love your black woman or a black man until you first love yourself as a black woman or a black man; and really adopt and embrace the fact that you are of African descent. You are an African by nature; you’re one of the original people on Earth. You come from the original people on Earth, the original civilization. Royal people, and love yourself and to love your community, and love your lineage, and then to find a mate; if it falls within a mate that is in our community and of your same heritage to find a mate; and for you all to love each other the same way. Not just love each other the same way, but love your community together the same way. A lot of times men and women fall in love together, and it’s all about them and their family, they don’t think about our extended family, the community that they should love, and the community that they should teach their children to love.

“Black Love, to me, is comprehensive, it’s holistic, and that’s what it looks like to me.”

Ernestine: Ditto. Just to add to that-

Jay: She had to.

Ernestine: I had to. I echo everything that my man says; I wanted to add that for me how to repair the black family is repair the relationship between the black man and the black woman. So black love, to me, is that repair process, a black man and a black woman strengthening that relationship again, and building the foundation to build a black family.
I had to add that in there.

PYNK: For all of the black women who may be looking for love, Ernestine, do you believe that there are still good black men left?

Ernestine: Absolutely. The misconception that there are no good black men left, I think that’s ridiculous. I think that a lot of women are too quick to try and jump into a relationship before they have jumped into a relationship with themselves first. For me, it took a lot of self-development. It took a lot of self-reflecting and a lot of self-work before I was ready for Jay. You have to be ready for the person God has designed for you. You have to be prepared. I asked God to prepare me for Jay. I asked God to prepare me for the man that he had for me. A lot of the times, when we’re so quick, we just want to be in a relationship, it’s all so quick. We just want to have Him making us partners, and we haven’t done the self-work yet. I believe there are plenty of good men out there, and those men have to work on themselves as well to be ready for you; to be ready for the woman. Had I met Jay two years ago, we wouldn’t have this love that we have, because I wasn’t ready two years ago, and neither was he.

“You gotta be ready yourself, you have to know who you are and love who you are first before you can invite that love into someone else.”

PYNK: That’s so true. I totally agree. For you, Jay, especially, do you agree that many men base their actions from the fear of real love? They base their actions on that, of being afraid of love?

Jay: I don’t know that men are afraid of love. I’m better with it now, but I definitely struggled with accepting love and being loved, because I grew up hard. That’s how a lot of black men grow up, we wear armor. We wear our shell. But I think men avoid relationships more from fear of commitment and building something substantial with someone. I think it’s a maturity thing a lot of times, a discipline thing, and I think that we want someone to love us. Some loves are our providers, our protectors, and wanna love somebody, but we get caught up in more of the unsubstantive things like the physical and sexual and all those things that are promoted and perpetuated in media and through life.

A lot of time we get distracted with that. We’re not really taught at home what kind of woman to look for and even how to find that woman, how to see past just her physical and sexual mystique; to see a woman as a potential partner. Don’t breed for beauty. As you’re making babies and creating families, breed for legacy, and for brains, and for strength, and for power. I think just being mature to the family structure. What we’re looking for in a woman, what our goals for a woman and family, I think those things need to be prioritized, and men won’t running or turning away from what a relationship looks like and what a relationship can be; the good side of it.

Get to know Ernestine and Jay more on tomorrow with PART 2.  We discuss the business perspective of all things EJ and Jay, and more about their personal lives, including abstinence. 

Ernestine talks about what else she is up to, most pressing and highly-anticipating, the release of #DigitalLivesMatter.  This movie is all black everything, and EJ is a major player on the field helping navigate the film and what she does best, act.

Check out #DigitalLivesMatter tomorrow (Saturday) night at 8 PM EST on BET.

Photo Credit: Ernestine Johnson and Jay Morrison

 

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