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summer in roxbury

Absorbing hometown traditions of telling the truth without filter and never forgetting where you came from, Boston-born independent television producer Tishani “Nan” James consistently asserts herself as a raw and real storyteller. Collaborating on projects for the likes of Radical Media, Boardwalk Pictures, The SpringHill Company and more, she has augmented and facilitated the creation of hundreds of hours of content viewed by audiences of millions worldwide. Through and through, she presents a dynamic, diverse, and deep perspective of her own.

“Energy means a lot to me. I try to make every experience feel good and collaborative,” she explains. “That holds true for my colleagues and viewers. When you see a project I’m a part of, I hope you not only learn something, but you’re entertained and leave feeling better than when you came.”

Proudly hailing from the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, Tishani was adopted at a young age by a strong and empowering black mother. “She changed the whole trajectory of my life!” she continues. Gravitating towards movies as a kid, she underwent a crucial realization. “If I can’t control things in my life, at least I can make stories with the endings I want to see,” she admits. Upon graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she turned an internship at BET Networks into her first full-time job. During her time at the company, she worked in development on projects such as Kevin Hart’s Real Husbands of Hollywood and Michael Jackson’s BAD: 25th Anniversary. Rising through the ranks, she assumed the role of Preditor for various music specials, shooting, editing, and producing interviews for the likes of Notarized: Top 100 Videos, The Message, BET Jams, and various Music Matters initiatives.

Relocating to Los Angeles in 2016, she became a sought-after Emmy nominated producer. To date, her credits span The History Channel’s LA Riots: 25 Years Later and Rap Caviar Presents... in addition to producing six episodes of American Gangster: Trap Queens and five episodes of Unsung. During 2020, she served as Story Producer for the critically acclaimed We Need To Talk About Cosby on Showtime. At the same time, she developed an in-demand concept based on a series of unsolved murders, teaming up with award-winning producer and writer Dream Hampton [Surviving R. Kelly] to bring it to life.

Simultaneously, she maintains a presence at home in Roxbury. Under her Summer In Roxbury Inc. umbrella, she owns and operates the boutique and clothing line Madrugada. The name holds a special significance and hints at a theme of her own creativity.

“In Spanish and Portuguese, it translates to ‘The moment before the sun rises’,” she explains. “Everything I do is an ode to the neighborhood I grew up in because it’s where everything started. There’s the stigma around urban neighborhoods but Roxbury made me who I am. I feel like I owe everything to the people there. My only goal these days is to tell stories and have moments that leave imprints on people’s lives.”

Nan does just that with more projects on the horizon in 2022 and beyond.

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