Meet Jasmine Burke: The Rising Star Who Was Told by Jennifer Hudson, 'You're Going to Make It To The Top'
BY CHRISTINA DUGAN
03/04/2016 AT 08:35 PM EST
Jasmine Burke caught the acting bug at a young age. Having been a part of films such as The Secret Life of Bees and Van Wilder 3, the Atlanta-born starlet has now embarked on the exciting journey of starring in her first-ever TV series, Bounce TV's Saints and Sinners, a show that centers around power, deceit, corruption and murder.
"I'm excited for everyone to seeSaints and Sinners. I'm telling you, it's a dynamic series," the actress, who plays the role of Dr. Christie Johnson, tells PEOPLE. "For this to be my first series that's coming out and for this to be Bounce TV's first ever drama – there's a lot of powerful firsts going on and I'm excited for people to support that."
A natural-born Leo, Burke knew that the arts was her calling right away.
"I just wanted to be heard," says Burke, 32. " I always enjoyed being out front and performing and seeing people react to what I was doing. So, that followed me all throughout my schooling."
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Not only did Burke have a passion for acting, her interests in filmmaking, theater, singing and dancing (you may remember her from MTV's Making The Band in 2005) molded her into the artist and performer she is today.
"I like to think of myself as one of those throwbacks, like Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra. They did everything back in the day," says Burke. "They put out albums, were starring in television specials, did movies, and went on tour promoting their music. I mean, they did it all. I feel like I'm a throwback to that time where I embrace all of my gifts."
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Those gifts were far from unnoticeable to Secret Life of Bees co-star Jennifer Hudson.
"Jennifer Hudson was doing a scene and she was really quiet and in her zone," the actress recalls. "I saw her looking at me from across the room and I didn't understand why. When the scene was over, she came over to me and she whispered in my ear and said, 'You know, God told me to tell you that you're going to make it to the top. So keep doing what you're doing.' That has always stuck with me on my journey."
With a new TV series coming out, Burke is quickly becoming a breakout star to keep an eye on.
"I never feel like, 'Oh this is what I'm supposed to have. I deserve this, I deserve that,'" Burke says. "My mom is like, 'No. It's a treat. It's a gift. it's a treasure.' Feel honored, feel privileged, always feel grateful."
She ads, "I take everything one project at a time and I'm just really appreciative to just continue to be able to do what I do. "
Saints and Sinners premieres on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bounce TV.
THE YEAR OF JASMINE BURKE
Jasmine Burke has almost quietly been positioning herself to be on the biggest young names in entertainment over the last few years. Seems she’s just about where she wants to be to make 2015, the year of Jasmine Burke. You may have first encountered the singer,actress and film maker Jasmine Burke during her run as a finalist on MTV’s Making the Band, season 3. Since then, she has co-starred on The CW’s Vampire Diaries, Disney’s Let It Shine and most recently in VH1’s Drumline: A New Beat. She has also appeared in several blockbuster movies including, Ride Along, The Secret Life of Bees and Big Momma’s House: Like Father Like Son. Currently, Jasmine is set to star in the newly airing 2015 television series, Bossip TV based on the #1 urban site in the country, Bossip and she will also star in the Lisa Raye McCoy directed indie drama,Skinned. While she hasn’t been on the forefront, she has been on the foreground building momentum in the industry. We recently caught up with the budding star to discuss the new film, the industry and working with the lovely Lisa Raye McCoy.
“I like to joke with Lisa Raye McCoy when I tell her, ‘I popped your cherry,’” Burke says of working with McCoy for the directorialdebut of the veteran actress in the film “Skinned.” Burke says the movie follows the journey of her character, Jolie and the struggles she faces being born with dark skin and having to face the social stigmas she has to endure and overcome.
The synopsis from the movie website says, “Jolie is very complex character. Though she’s dark, beautiful and appears confident at times, her self-esteem is extremely low.” Jolie’s character faces depression and problems with dating as well. When asked how she prepared for this role and dealing with such an intense subject matter, Burke said she was able to meet and speak with two advocates, Blessing Adube and Lotten Yeaney, that have been a force for change and who have helped other dark skinned women see the beauty in their skin.
The movie has two pivotal messages it wants to get across to viewer; the first is about the dangers of skin bleaching and the second is a sociological message of the importance of loving the skin you’re in. Burke also stepped back in the sound booth, after a hiatus and came out with a soundtrack title, “Skin I’m In.” She recently shot a video for the song, which will feature clips from the movie. The tie in message of self-love continues across the board. Additionally, the movie is pushing for a Love The Skin You’re In Movement to promote the importance of self-love and uplifting the beauty of the natural skin as well as rejecting the notion that your skin, in all its different shades is not beautiful.
Besides working on Skinned, Burke is also working on a short documentary to give an explanation to her supporters on her ten-year hiatus from music. She hit the scene hard and became a finalist on Making the Band 3, then slowly drifted in the background. She feels now is a good time to come back center stage. “The Making of Me: Jasmine Burke” will give the fans a first person perspective of what really happened on Making the Band, the years that followed and how Jasmine rebuilt her career, as Jasmine says, “the good old fashioned way, not relying on my stardom from the hit talent competition.”
When she’s not on set or in the studio, Burke can be found giving back to her community. She’s a huge advocate for children’s rights and says she could picture herself as a lawyer or advocate for young children if she had never entered the entertainment industry. Since college, Burke has been a volunteer for the nationwide non profit organization, CASA. Additionally, she works with the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. and Miss Black Teen – Atlanta, all of which she had some involvement with or was a recipient of services during her childhood. Within her company, Jasmine Burke Productions, she also offers an internship where she mentors young women and gives them real world assignmentsin hopes of teaching them about the industry.
Burke seems to be on a roll and you won’t want to miss it. Keep an eye open for her upcoming projects, “Making of Me: Jasmine Burke” in early February, a series on BossipTV and in Lisa Raye’s directorial debut, Skinned in spring 2015.
Burke is active on social media and invites her supporters to spark up a conversation via her social media handles@TheJasmineBurke and visit her website www.jasmineburke.com.
Lisa Collins-Haynes graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia Southern University and earned a BS in Business Administration with a Hospitality & Tourism concentration. She is married, the mother of one daughter and currently working as an International Freelance Entertainment and Travel Writer. Not only is she a passport stamp junkie, but she’s also a self-professed out of control travel spirit (O.C.T.S). She invites everyone to follow her travel blog at http://octsblogger.wordpress.com. Lisa is currently working on a MBA. Follow her on Twitter @OCTS_Blogger. Read more articles by Lisa.
Jasmine Burke stars in ‘Skinned,’ a new film directed by LisaRaye
Jasmine Burke is an actress on the rise, her latest project, Skinned, features the directorial debut of actress LisaRaye.
“Society has warped her mind into thinking she needs to bleach her skin to be accepted,” Burke said of Jolie, the character she plays.
“These types of roles don’t come along for actors period, but especially for a Black actress, a young rising Black actress, so I am honored to be chosen to play this role,” she said.
Burke had great things to say about the Skinned director. “Lisa is definitely a gem … she’s so grounded and a salt-of-the-earth kind of a spirit. She did a very great job directing. She has a gift.”
In a short period of time, Burke has accomplished a lot and worked with big names, none bigger than Kevin Hart, who she had a chance to work with in “Ride Along. “He was funny even when the cameras were not running,” she said with a laugh
Burke worked with another comedic legend, Martin Lawrence, in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. “Martin is a legend in every sense of the world,” she says, and she was inspired by watching him and how much he enjoys his craft, adding that he inspired her to “enjoy the moment, enjoy my family, enjoy my friends.”
Burke is an intelligent, educated woman who knows that longevity in the industry is usually for people who create behind the scenes, which is part of the inspiration for her launching Jasmine Burke Productions.
“Early on in my acting career I really was curious and fascinated by the production of everything, how they worked, why it worked. Luckily, I have a real gift for being a writer and a problem solver, which is basically what a producer is,” she said.
Follow Burke on Instagram and Twitter @thejasmineburke and if you reach out to her, don’t be surprised to hear back. “I talk back when I have downtime, I enjoy responding,” she says, before adding, “thank you guys for wanting to interview me. I’ve been reading rolling out for years and now I get to finally be in it.” Follow Derrel Jazz Johnson on Instagram or Twitter