You are in for a special treat everyone! Melissa got to sit down with the writing team for Marvel’s new take on Werewolf by Night, Taboo and Benjamin Jackendoff! Not only is this going to be a great comic, these are some amazingly creative people to chat with!
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Melissa Sercia – Taboo and Jackendoff
[00:00:00] Taboo: No,
Melissa: this is Barbara country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show. I am beyond excited to chat with my next guest here to talk about their new comic book series, werewolf by night. I’d like to welcome producer and writer, Benjamin Jack, and off and writer, actor, and rapper from the black IPS taboo.
Welcome to the show.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Thank you.
Taboo: Thank you.
Melissa: Thanks for being here guys.
Taboo: So we chatted a little bit. Yeah. Be on here. You know, when, when you guys reached out to me and, and I know we were trying to schedule the time to, to make this happen, but, you know, I’m glad that it all aligned. We got a lot of great news for all the people that are listening, and we’re just grateful to be on this journey in 2020 going into
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot to be grateful for. We’re all here, you know, we get to talk about comics and what we’re all doing, and hopefully bring some joy to people that are listening. Get people excited about what you guys got coming out what you have out now, what’s, you’re coming out with in the future.
So, yeah, I’m excited [00:01:00] to first of all, I want to know how did you two end up working together and like what’s your collaborative, creative process? Like.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Well, I will, I will jump in on
Benjamin Jackendoff: So we met at Comic-Con in 2017. Comic-Con has played a big part of our journey mine in particular to you know, my backstory before tab and I met.
You know, I’ve been very involved as a filmmaker and a storyteller. And I had been involved in the conflict business for a long time and then tab and I met him at comic con 2017 when we worked together a masters of the sun. And we just hit it off. We were just like, you know, you want to tell the story, how I came here.
I was like, where I’m rocking my Thrasher.
Yeah. I mean, I came out and like rocking my Thrasher. I really, you know, all bleary-eyed from the night before just coming in, you know, from LA and and he’s like,
Taboo: bro, you skate.
Benjamin Jackendoff: And I was like, yeah, man, I totally do. And
Taboo: he was like, Oh man, it’s like, yo,
Benjamin Jackendoff: we just started, we just started chopping it. He’s telling me about his toy collecting.
Taboo: telling him [00:02:00] about my love of comic books and
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, we just geeked out and then it just kind of grew from there. I mean, that was, you know, that was the beginning of our. Journey together, you know, and ultimately then we started talking about, Hey man, we should, we should find some stuff to do. I’ve been, you know, working here in LA for a long time and, and.
Animation has been a really been connected deeply in the animation space. And a good friend of mine who was over at cartoon network was like, Hey, you guys should come in and pitch cartoon network. And that was really what started us watching our company Skyview way was us pitching cartoon network and setting up a project there.
And then, you know, I mean, tab, you know,
Taboo: one of the things things have been forgot to mention is that when we did when we met her at Comic-Con I had on this, this cheap Joseph shirt that represented, you know, like my culture and just something that I was passionate about, just like I said, being a voice and wanting to do things in the in the indigenous space, [00:03:00] through a native lens, but making it inclusive to everyone so that everybody gets inspired by, you know, the storytelling and the.
The different characters and ideas that we work to create in the future. So I remember telling Ben, like, y’all want to do something in the native space. I want to have like native storytelling. So that was the initial idea of what Skyview way was to become. And you know, my partnership with Marvel started many years prior to me meeting Ben and, and prior to, to us meeting in 2007 I had been building a relationship with vendors and different people at Comic-Con.
And I just remember meeting this guy named Jason Bergman, who is a cause player. He introduced me to to this chief editor. His name was Daniel Fink. And he worked at Marvel. I think he’s still at Marvel. And he always asked me like, yo, do you have any ideas, anything that you want to do? And I said, no, actually I don’t, I don’t have anything right now.
Cause I didn’t want to just present something just for the sake of presenting something [00:04:00] without even having the content flushed out or what it was. So I held onto that card. I made sure to use that bullet when it was right. And so I kept going back and back to Comicon and I kept meeting more people from Marvel, like Jason Matory.
We did this thing called becoming which is a Marvel video where you become your favorite superhero. And I became my favorite superhero, which is red Wolf and red Wolf was a native American hero that nobody really talked about. But because I connected on a personal level, I felt like I wanted to champion this, this idea of.
A hero without a Cape, which was red Wolf. He represented you know, the first native American hero for Marvel. And that’s something that I was always trying to make sure that I got ahead of, and I want it to be a part of that journey to build up this character. And so. Ben. And I started like a ping pong in an idea.
Yes. For, for the, the meeting with cartoon network, we [00:05:00] came up with some really cool stuff and we presented it to cartoon network. And throughout that time period, we had just every day started talking on the phone and coming up with different creative ideas to the point where I remember going getting a phone call from Margo saying, Hey, we would love for you to come to New York to do this the show with Joe Casada.
And Joey Q became like a really cool friend of mine. And I kept telling him, dude, I want to do this thing. Red Wolf friend, we kept,
Benjamin Jackendoff: I kept talking about
Taboo: it and I just kept pushing red Wolf. Right? Yeah. I just knew that as, as much as I was passionate about it, they would see that I can do something with this because I was invested in it and nobody was really championing the idea of red Wolf, the way I was.
So fortunately and humbly. Joey queues told me, he said, you know what, it’ll present itself. And when it does, it’s going to be special for you. So fast forward we get to the showroom. Cause Joe, Jason Latoya is like, yo, you should come to the [00:06:00] showroom. We’ll introduce you to everybody. So I got to meet CB the chief editor, and I got to meet Tom Brevard.
And those guys like became, you know, instantly we, we started talking and I was like, yo, how, how can I write for red Wolf? Or how can I be part of this red Wolf journey? So I felt like a little nap.
Benjamin Jackendoff: There
Taboo: was a gentleman, Dan Tom says, Hey tab. Well, we got this idea for this thing called Marvel 1000. Would you like to be part of this journey? So I said, yes, they told me pick a muse. I’m like red Wolf, red Wolf was the first thing I said. And so we went back, I said, I got a partner named Ben, and we’re going to start ping pong on the idea.
And so to make a long story short. We created Marvel 1000 with Jeffrey Virgie and our muse was red Wolf and we kind of based it around the standing rock movement. Cause I was at standing rock and it was very personal to me. So, you know, it was like the, the whole concept was invisible. No [00:07:00] more protect the sacred.
Right. And it was a, it was a good. Jump off point to our partnership with Marvel, but also with Jeffrey , who is a native American artist at Marvel. So then the next thing we started working on was this idea that Jake Thomas, our editor for this, this project where we’ll finite. He hit us up and he said, Hey guys, we’ve got an opportunity to to revamp werewolf by night.
You know, the Jack Russell from back in the day, but we want to give it a new, like a facelift, the new reimagination. We want to add it. To, to this to the, to the new world, by adding new characters, but also making it to a native lens. So that’s all he told us. And then he said to Ben and I, he said, and just think of it as like think of like Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford in the future.
And we’ll throw in red Wolf, you can have red Wolf be part of this journey. So Ben and I started ping pong in on [00:08:00] this idea, cause you said sure, we got it. And then Benny go ahead and take the rest.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah. I mean, you know, just kind of picking up there. I mean, I think, you know, obviously being a horror fans, but also looking at this as being fathers, you know, both of us are fathers and having our kids, we said, look, you know, we really want to tell a story that our kids can love and that they can have heroes and where.
You know, again, we were like, okay, we’ve got a 17 year old boy. Like they wanted to make him younger making the teenager. And I was like, well, what can we do with that? You know? And we didn’t really want to lean into the original kind of. European werewolf, where it’s very much about the curse, as opposed to looking at it from like more of it’s a blessing and it can be a curse.
It depends on how you, you know, as we put in the metaphor, what Wolf you feed. And that was an issue one, you know, and we really kind of looked at that of like, how do we make an inspirational hero? That is a native hero. Where every kid can look at
Benjamin Jackendoff: And it’s, you know, same with like, we, we were [00:09:00] looking at black Panthers, like great jump off, you know, go on.
Taboo: wouldn’t it be amazing to
Benjamin Jackendoff: have a wearable finite movie, just like black Panther and you know, and obviously black Panther has been around for a month. You know, that character has been around for a very long time.
Melissa: Yeah. You have to. I mean, you really do. If you’re going to do it, like go big or go home. Right?
Taboo: Yeah. You know about this idea was to be able to pull from my personal experience so that we could implement a personal story going into conversation where it’s like, it’s not a native story. And, and I know when we hear native, we think like, What has been put out in the past and stereotyping and kind of like the, the whole idea of what native American people are.
And so we wanted to break that misconception and that whole stereotype. And so we made it more with heart, with family where there’s a grandma implemented, which, you know, kind of derives from my own personal story of his Jake’s relationship with his best friend, which kind of derives from Benny story.
We also put my [00:10:00] daughter Giuliana in, in the in the book as. Serving as red Wolf’s partner a girl from Oklahoma. So, you know, it just, it, it kind of added this new feel this new flavor to it, but more of a personal touch where it wasn’t like. So old-school where you get lost in, in, in a time piece or a period piece.
We wanted to modernize it. We added amazing villains that we created from scratch. It was inclusive because there was so many diverse mosaic of characters that, that, you know, anyone can be inspired by it. And it wasn’t necessarily directed to one sector or to one demographic. We wanted to make it so that everyone, whether it was a young.
People or, or, or older people can really gravitate to it. And we specifically made it so that there’s no cuss words because we have kids and we want our kids to appreciate, you know, the storytelling in our writing. So it just kinda, it kind of lent itself to. To our mission [00:11:00] statement of creating content that is edutainment.
And we say, it’s educating, it’s edgy, it’s educational, but it’s also entertainment at the same time.
Melissa: I like that. That’s a cool play on words there. I’ve never heard that before. I liked that.
Benjamin Jackendoff: There you go, you can use it now,
Melissa: now. Perfect.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah, no,
Melissa: no. I think that’s it’s really inspiring, you know, you’ve, I’ve, you’ve mentioned, I’ve done my research.
You’ve mentioned your, your grandmother and many articles and I had a close relationship with mine as well. I’m first-generation Sicilian. And you know, that culture stays with you even after they’re gone. How big of an influence has she had on you in your life and, and in, in your creativity?
Taboo: I mean, if it wasn’t for my grandmother, I wouldn’t be having this interview with you.
Because I believe that everything is destined from, from when you find your aha moment. My aha moment was in my grandma’s living room at five years old. She was the one that pushed me when my mom and, and, and you know, my family was telling me to go to school and get an [00:12:00] education. My grandmother is like, yes, I get that.
But also if you love to dance, Follow your dreams. So, you know, my mom’s very traditional and like, you know, you got to get a job in which I did. I worked at Disneyland during the day, picking up horse manure during the electrical grade. And at night I performed with the black IPS in 1995. So I was dealing with a lot of shit back then, metaphorically.
Can I see that word? Absolutely.
Melissa: Now it’s a podcast, so you can
Taboo: let it go. Let it go. When I was working at Disneyland, but it was my grandmother that fueled my energy. She filled my fire, my passion, my, my you know, the ability to dream. Beyond any, anything that was attainable because I always shot for the stars because my grandmother told me to shoot for the stars and go beyond what is what’s at your graphs?
Like shoot bigger, think bigger, go bigger. Like, like, you know how in skating or BMX biking, you go big, big air. That’s exactly the mentality that my grandmother gave me. She gave me that, that energy and like I’m fearless [00:13:00] when it comes to to going after things that are, may seem uncomfortable
Benjamin Jackendoff: or
Like I welcome those uncomfortable moments. And I always tell Benny this, like, yes, you, we can, we can embrace the uncomfortable conversation. And like, even though I didn’t start in the, the writer world, as far as writing with Marvel, that was in my jump off my jump off black IPS. It was a smooth trans transition cause I’m already a storyteller through music.
So to be able to find someone like Ben, who his life has been this world to be able to partner up with him and he brings out the best of me and I bring out the best of him. And then for me to listen and to learn from him, it’s just been a blessing, man. He’s he’s like the ultimate. Teacher coach you know, player, teammate, he’s all that because I’ve learned so much from him because of his work that he’s been doing in this space for a long time.
And, you know, I kind of feel like I’ve built up his confidence too.
Every day we build each other up. And it’s because my [00:14:00] grandmother gave me that, that essence of confidence, not arrogance confidence. She built me up today this way.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah, no, I mean like, I mean, jumping in real quick on that too. I mean, I think, you know, I have been working here in Hollywood for going on 20 years now, you know, and it’s a long, I mean, look, you know, no, one’s an overnight success.
You know, it takes time and you know, for us, I mean, I’ve gone, you know, and jumped from PR you know, look any sort of creative thing, whether it’s a marriage or whether it’s a business creative
Benjamin Jackendoff: exactly the same.
Taboo: Like you have to have trust, you have to have faith in each other and you have to dream.
Big like tab. And I always talk
Benjamin Jackendoff: about that. Like, what do we want? Let’s dream for the biggest things we can have. And we, we were just going to go after them. And like you said, it’s fearless. And I think it’s that confidence. We give each other too, you know, I know myself, like, I mean, look, I’ve been a film editor, I’ve produced cartoons, I’ve produced movies, you know, and some of them,
Taboo: a lot of them suck a lot of,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, like, but it’s always [00:15:00] about the group of people that you do it with.
And yeah, and I think that’s really what it comes down to, you know, and I think, you know, speaking to that, like, I think, you know, when you are doing a creative process and especially with writing, I think writing, you know, it is solitary in some ways, but it’s also not like you can’t write in a bubble as writers.
It’s like, we draw from who we are. And I think, you know, it’s a constant state of learning and I’m learning so much
Taboo: from tab, like with his family, with his. Growth with who
Benjamin Jackendoff: he is as a native, who he’s grown up in, in his, you know, in the, in the Latin community and the Latino and Latin X community, like, and all of
Benjamin Jackendoff: we bring to our party and we’re like, let’s put all this together and make this amazing, you know, we, we call it our mythology through music because, you know, I grew up on mythology.
Like that was my thing. Oh, I love it. I was like, I read everything from Italian speaking. [00:16:00] Italian fables
Benjamin Jackendoff: Catalino. You know, I was reading, that was my book at nine years old. I didn’t have a TV. I was a weird kid. I was reading like the old Testament, Celtic tales, North mythology. Like that was, that was my jump off.
That then jumped me into comic books. I was like, Oh my God. Like at 10 years old, I was like, I love Marvel comics. My dad’s like, go back and read your Norse mythology. And I’m like, but I want to read for, I love we’ll raise the real floor. Dad, you know, like that was, that was minor isms, but I think,
Taboo: you know, it’s who we
Benjamin Jackendoff: are that we bring to the table and we bring it in our authentic selves.
And then we created together
Taboo: and I think that’s, that’s what makes us
Benjamin Jackendoff: we’re I don’t know. I mean, dude, I mean, I couldn’t do this
Taboo: without you brother. And honestly, the thing, the thing that. That binds us together as that we’re fathers first and foremost, number one, we make our content so that our kids can embrace it and be inspired by it.
Because if our [00:17:00] kids are inspired by it, then the world can be inspired by it. And we feel like if we’re doing ourselves, if we love it and we’re laughing about it, that’s all that matters, dude. It’s like when I make music, if I’m jumping around and I’m dancing to it, let’s go. That’s that’s how the frequency needs to be put out there to the world because, you know, I vibe off of the things that I create.
And, and I want the world to receive that same energy and always create with love everything from my music to content, to our Marvel comic books, we always create. And we lead with love because that’s what we have. We have love for comics. We have love for toys. We have love for or movies. Like, you know, we grew up on darker and Freddy Krueger’s and the child’s play.
Benjamin Jackendoff: grew up on all there.
Taboo: But also we grew up on GI Joe and Voltron and Thundercats, and you know, the justice league back in the day, but now we’re with Marvel. So now it’s the Avengers. So it’s like, we just always had [00:18:00] love for pop culture, cartoons, animation, and storytelling. Well, I think, you know,
Benjamin Jackendoff: speaking to that real quick too, I think, you know, it goes to the love for our own self.
Like we’ve never, you know, people can be like, Oh, you’re a weirdo. You like toys, like, you know, whatever. And it’s like, no, like, I mean, again, like now nerdism has been embraced, but I am a huge, like I grew up on D and D I still play it. I run, you know, it’s like, I embrace it. I’ve been doing this
Melissa: now. I played magic the gathering for a little
Benjamin Jackendoff: bit.
Thousands of magic cards. Original.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Embrace it. It’s like when we can embrace that, what you know is like that thing that made us who we were when we were 10, 11, 12, do
Taboo: like tablets
Benjamin Jackendoff: going to BMX biking tablets like bro.
Taboo: Well, the thing about it is that I live through my kids and a lot of the movies that I grew up on, like back to the future or, you know, the Goonies or gremlins or even rad Show the movie that [00:19:00] came out of back in the day, I was a big fan of GT performer, bikes and BMX bikes, but I couldn’t afford them.
So, you know, my thing was like, if I could tap into, you know, my childhood through my kids, but still relive my childhood now at, at, at 45. And I don’t mean to date myself, but it’s okay.
No, it’s like, I feel like. This is the world. This is my act too. I’m creating content so my kids could be inspired by it. I don’t want to just leave a legacy of, I mean, a catalog of music. I want to leave a legacy for my kids to be inspired by that’s the, that’s my main goal. I did everything in music that you could even.
Think or magic. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry, just to finish this thought that reality is something that I lived in the first half of my life, and then I’d be cancer. And I started dreaming a different dream that goes along with my, my first dream, but it’s like now I only live for my wife and my kids. Like that’s my main goal is.
Every day, I [00:20:00] think, how can I continue this journey that I started on a solo mission to now piggyback that same energy in that same hunger and that same urgency that I had when I was by myself to create now for my family, my wife and my kids, because that’s who I work for. That’s that’s my everyday life.
Melissa: Well, and that’s like what you said, you know, that’s super inspiring because the possibilities are endless, you know, you can’t let no or rejection get in your way, you know? And like you said, you’ve achieved a ton of success, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to just sit back and be like, all right, I’m good.
Benjamin Jackendoff: You’re
Melissa: you’re like, I want more, I want
Taboo: it’s not even a monetary thing. It’s not even like, Oh, I need more money. It’s more like, no, I want to create more avenues and more possibilities for others because the, the success to me is to be able to, to, to create the next, you know, the next Person that’s working at Marvel that is from an indigenous community or from an underserved community.
And [00:21:00] we propel that. We’re the bridge to that. And we always say that that if we can be the studio that is championing new directors, new screenwriters, new artists and illustrators new musicians, producers, then that’s the next vehicle for us to, to, to live our. Our our next life, like act two as we call it.
Benjamin Jackendoff: And that becomes our act three. I mean, we got to build the house actually is when we become the mentors. We’ve, we’ve both gone through a lot. Of growth and a lot of, you know, different sort of avenues, you know, and like, like I said, I mean, it’s like, I have learned so much on my own personal journey and it’s like, I’ve been a film editor, you know, producer cartoons, like, and now all of a sudden it’s going, all right, well, how do we
Taboo: build this together?
Benjamin Jackendoff: Because we’ve got so much in relationships.
Taboo: Cause I’ve always been about
Benjamin Jackendoff: building community. Like one of the things I’m known for here in Hollywood has been building. Communities. And I built a community for a comic book, animation and film [00:22:00] folks and video game as well called comic books, Sunday and complex Sunday was really like, I did it for 10 years.
And it was a networking community, but it became like really a family where all these
Taboo: people got all these amazing
Benjamin Jackendoff: opportunities. I mean, the Witcher
Taboo: literally came out of it party. I throw
Benjamin Jackendoff: wow. Because two of my friends. Right. Like, and the new final fantasy is about to come out of same thing. Like my friend, Jason Brown met another cat named Adam Sullivan.
Adam Sullivan is the head of legal at square edX. Jason Brown ends up becoming a you know, producing. They had met at the party and they became friends. And then now that’s how the Witcher came about. So it’s like, I’ve seen that happen. I’ve seen platforms get built because you just create a. Fertile environment for people to come together and be able to be their authentic self and not come in with that.
Like what can you do for me? Because tabla, I never about that. Like, it’s never about what you do for me. It’s more of a, what can we do for you? How do we all fit together? [00:23:00] Let’s make dope
Taboo: shit. That’s it. And I think, you
Benjamin Jackendoff: know, that’s where we come from and I did the same on the music tip. Building a very kind of underground music community.
That was it’s called jam nation. And we get together every month, obviously not with COVID, but we had a residency over at the rainbow on sunset, on sunset strip. And it was amazing watching just like we just threw an open jam and people that were just guests there hanging out, coming in from London, whatever, hanging out, wanting to play guitar.
Could come into our open jam and play with us.
Taboo: And it was again like Tom and I are all about
Benjamin Jackendoff: community like that for us, it’s like, it takes, it takes a village, you know, all ships rise at the tide
Taboo: and all the different sayings,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, I think that’s, that’s really our big, our big you know, our big thing.
Melissa: Yeah, well, I think there’s there’s room for everyone. And I think that you just, you know, especially now, right, it’s an exciting time because you know, I get to talk to people like yourselves who are championing, you know, inclusivity and and creating more diversity [00:24:00] so that every child can read and listen and watch something that they can relate to and see themselves in.
You know, how important is that for you and how many possibilities do you see yourselves? You know, creating in the comic book industry for this specific story and spinoff stories.
Taboo: Well, I mean,
Benjamin Jackendoff: I, I mean, I’ll just jump on that real quick. I mean, I think we’re we’re we
Taboo: can’t stop. Won’t stop
Benjamin Jackendoff: is my say, you know, dad is like, let’s
Taboo: go like kids stop.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Won’t stop. I mean, we, we are an energy. We are an engine that will continue
Taboo: to move
Benjamin Jackendoff: that will continue to champion. You know, the voices you know, that, that need to be championed. And, and, and I think, you know, I mean, my, I speak to my own specific background. I was raised multi-religious. So I had to come to terms with my own sort of sense of spirituality and understanding both culturally and religiously, where do I fit?
Benjamin Jackendoff: I think that’s what’s happened. I always look at it’s it’s coming [00:25:00] into this multiculturalism multi-racial. You know, and creating
Taboo: like a mosaic, as we always say,
Benjamin Jackendoff: like, you know, tab used that word earlier. And that’s the word that we always go back to because we find that the word diversity, you know, the word diversity has the word divide vision.
So we try to stay away from that word because it really means like, Oh look, yeah, everybody’s othered. And that’s a way for control points to be created.
Benjamin Jackendoff: other people to come in and move you around. And it’s like, no, we’re creating a mosaic. We’re creating a tapestry, you know? So that’s how we look at everything we do.
Taboo: Yeah. And honestly, we like to have a modern day approach to everything that we create, where as you mentioned earlier, the word inclusivity is very important to us because, because, you know, I come from a very di mosaic background with the black APS. We have a Filipino, we have an African-American native American and Mexican.
So the makeup of our group. Is very non-traditional, it’s different, it’s night, nothing out [00:26:00] there. So we’ve always had the motto of, we are one, one world. The idea of being able to, to be the, the the people that can think internationally with our music, but also with our storytelling so that it just doesn’t live in one lane.
As I mentioned earlier, I, I, I want it to be where. How black Panther, although it was a African American superhero and there was African elements to it with Wakanda, I felt connected to it. Even as a native kid, I felt connected to it. And it spoke to me in many levels because I had never seen a superhero to that caliber where I really connected with.
And I love Ironman love captain America. Love those guys. But I connected with the idea of having a different type of superhero without a Cape, a hero that doesn’t necessarily look like every other hero. And we wanted to create that same idea and the philosophy of, [00:27:00] of championing communities that don’t really have the same seat at the round table.
And that being indigenous communities, that being. Latino communities and everybody else that feels like, Oh, we don’t really have representation the way we should. And that’s something that we are very keen on and we do that with music, you know, like I was very fortunate to have the first native American group ensemble of seven MCs when.
A MTV award with the song that we did for standing rock. And it was the first time in the history of the MTV awards that there was any native people, women and men walking the red carpet to receive an award. There was the fight against the system and that’s because we rallied in the troops to be able to stand in solidarity with, with indigenous and non-indigenous allies.
To stand against you know economic imperialism. And that was the dapple, that was the Dakota access pipeline. And you know, it just shows that when you bring people together and you act like the [00:28:00] conduit to be able to bring all these energies good things happen to good people. And that was just a way to, to be able to give back and show that, you know, we, we work well in numbers and we’re always able to, to change the narrative.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s really powerful. And I just started reading, you know, the first issue where we’ll finite and in the very beginning, you mentioned something, the character mentioned something about one w one of the, I think it was one of the white characters in the beginning was saying something about a melting pot and the female character is like, no, it’s the mosaic.
And I’d never heard that term before. And you know, I’m 40, we’ve used the term melting pot, you know what I mean? And you don’t worry about it. But I really liked how. That changed too. The whole idea of a mosaic, you know, like a collage in a sense right.
Benjamin Jackendoff: That has been something we have been pushing.
Taboo: you see how I catch myself when I’m like,
Benjamin Jackendoff: language is powerful. Language is very, very powerful and we all know this and I think. You know, it’s, [00:29:00] it’s very noted, especially in indigenous cultures as well. I mean the power of the spoken word and the power of intention. And I think, you know, a lot of times we lose ourselves in the lack of understanding of what words.
Me, you know, I mean, I come from like, my uncle is a linguist. He’s like one of the top languages in the world and I didn’t really know what that meant growing up. But now as an adult, I’ve been doing a lot of, you know, and being writers. It’s like, we need to understand what does that mean? How does language affect our cognitive thought?
And, and the semantics behind it as well. And I think, you know, there is a lot of, for us to be able to present to people, you don’t even realize it. And you’re like, like you said, like, we use the word melting pot, you know, it was growing up.
Taboo: Like you heard that
Benjamin Jackendoff: in, in school, it was like in your history book, Eric is a melting pot.
Right. And, and I think that, you know, we’re going, no, no, no, no. Let’s, let’s find new words. You know, let’s find the words [00:30:00] and let’s embrace them. Yeah,
Melissa: well, and a lot of words get lost in translation. I I’m a writer myself and I like to study like the etymology of words, like the root of them, where they come from, whether they’re Latin or dramatic or whatever.
And there’s a lot of stuff that actually gets lost in translation. Because if you look up the root meanings, they mean completely different things than how we like interpret them today, you know?
Benjamin Jackendoff: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. I mean, we, I think, you know, again, it’s like
Taboo: language, the English language.
Benjamin Jackendoff: It’s a very limiting language as well.
And it’s a very controlling language. And I think it is, you know,
Taboo: speaking about, you know, language
Benjamin Jackendoff: from colonization. I mean, it’s a language that, you know, was used to control and, you know, I mean, yes, we’re, we’re here with it and we try to find, you know, the use through it’s
Taboo: what are its limitations and what are its
Benjamin Jackendoff: positives and things like that.
I mean, I, you know, I wish I spoke more languages. It’s not something that I really, you
Benjamin Jackendoff: Really took on, but tab, I mean your tabs multilingual, and I [00:31:00] think that you can, you know, I think.
Taboo: You can speak to that. I
Benjamin Jackendoff: mean, what that means
Taboo: and how you think. So the reality is, is that growing up in the United States, a lot of times you lose track of, or you lose connection to your roots.
If you’re multicultural meat being of native and Mexican descent growing up in Los Angeles, a lot of times you were getting made fun of, if you spoke Spanish, they would call you like mojado or wetback, or, you know, all these. Derogatory names that sometimes people that are born in the States, they think that they’re better than, you know, our, our, our competitors in Mexico.
So for me, as I got older, I started learning about both cultures and really embracing both cultures and knowing that my grandmother was my, my connection to my native. My love and appreciation for my native culture, but then also knowing that the beauty of me being able to speak Spanish and being a bilingual would take me further because if you go to different parts of the world and you’re able to speak Spanish you know, a lot of the times people, someone in that part of the world is going to be [00:32:00] able to speak that same language.
And in Spain it’s Castellano so. You know, I really embraced the idea of wanting to educate myself and wanting to better myself and practice my Spanish. So through the journey of being a black IP, we always implemented, you know, Latin rhythms and we, we we collaborated with Latin artists in the past and now to have our friends.
Album translation be a body of work where we celebrate and honor the LA Latino culture by having huge Latin artists like J Balvin Maluma all sooner. And Shuchita just to name a few. We just really dove into the love and appreciation for. For my background as a Latino, as a Mexican American and just wanting to better my skills in Spanish.
I implemented Spanish in, in some of my verses just to, to show the world that, you know, we’re, we’re proud of where we come from and we’re proud that we, we celebrate and honor both cultures. Yeah,
Melissa: absolutely. And you’ve had, I mean, you’ve had so much success with [00:33:00] the IP is you’ve also had personal struggles as well, which you’ve talked openly about how do you, how do you balance all of that?
Like how do you stay grounded and humble and, and positive really through, through everything, you know, the ups and the downs and the, the, you know, the fame and, and then the personal struggles. I know you’ve, you’ve talked about your battle with cancer and and addiction and things like that. How, how do you stay grounded?
Taboo: Well, first of all, I have a strong foundation with my wife and my kids. You know, the first and foremost they are my everyday rock, my stability without my wife or my kids, I will not be able to function. I wouldn’t be in a place where I’m at. As far as my Headspace, as far as my, my balance My wife is, is such a inspirational figure in my life.
Cause I met her in 1999 before I had anything. She was kind of like, I was inspired by her because she had an apartment. She had her thing going on and here I was a broke wrapper, sleeping on my mom’s couch. And you know, my wife saw something [00:34:00] in me prior to me seeing that same light in myself. And so, you know, I, I take the relationship with my wife and my kids as, as the, the, the energy and the fuel to be the person that I am, you know, overcoming addiction.
I’ve been, I’ve been Away from that life for 13 years. So sobriety has been a very amazing journey because all of the things that are positive and beautiful in my life happened because I’m sober and I’m clear-headed and I’m focused. And then my battle with cancer was something that, you know, it was not in my control and I did have to go through trauma and, and, and trials and tribulations.
But at the end I was able to survive that. And once again, my wife and my kids and my, my bandmates, my family, my friends, and now this journey with Benny, Benny has been such a blessing to me as well. Like, you know, there’s never a day that, that doesn’t go by that. I, I don’t call him just to hear it, his spirit, his energy that keeps me motivated.
Like, you know, his [00:35:00] idea, his brain has genius. Like this guy is, is an amazing genius. And he’s not paying me to see this ladies and
gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen that are tuned into this podcast, I’m speaking from the heart Earl Benny blessing to my, my survivorship. I’ve been cancer-free for six years. And as soon as this man came into my life, besides will I am an Apple I found another spark, something that I’m very passionate about.
You know, the, besides my love for black IPS, I have this love for Skyview way studios. Like I’ve never felt before because I’m able to create, I’m able to be myself. I’m able to create content that my kids are inspired by. I get to like check in with them. Like, yo, what do you think of this comic book?
Benjamin Jackendoff: Oh man. No, I mean, honestly, Bromo like, I’ve never had any person in my life, like tap. [00:36:00] I mean, I’ll be honest, going back to the sobriety, I’ve quit drinking. I’ve been sober for two years now.
Benjamin Jackendoff: honestly, that was, that was a big part because of our, our journey and our partnership and our friendship and our brotherhood.
And the love we have together is. Fathers. I mean, you know, I was in a, you know, I was in a place to where, you know, I was like, man, I’m not being the dad. I want to be, I’m not being the best person I can be. And Tabitha are just starting up. And I was like, you know, I gotta be there for tab. Like I gotta be, you know, obviously I gotta be there.
Taboo: But I want to show up every day
Benjamin Jackendoff: for tab, just the way I would be showing up for my son. And I don’t want to, you know, get lost in that. And I was getting lost in it. And all of a sudden, when I did
Taboo: that too,
Benjamin Jackendoff: then we started selling days where we’re sitting, you know, 2019 was a year of just setting everything up.
And then 2020 honestly has been an amazing year for us because we’ve been developing, we’ve got three cartoons in development right now. We’ve got a scripted series in development. We’re about to be looking to [00:37:00] meet
Taboo: with writers.
Benjamin Jackendoff: In the next coming weeks, we’ve got a feature film, a dance film, you know, Chad was like, I’ve been wanting to make a dance film.
Melissa: I’m so down for that dance though, I’m a sucker for dance movies. I love to step up. And yeah,
Benjamin Jackendoff: yeah.
Taboo: I was going to say, just to add onto that, it’s like, you know, the trust that Benny has had in me as, as you know, saying. Hey, I wanna, I wanna, you know, be there for you and, and every day that you call me, I’m going to answer, and we’re going to ping pong for six times a day or wherever it is, like he call them early in the morning and and he’s waking up and he’s like, what’s up, dude.
I’m like dope in here. I’ve got this idea or he’ll call me and be like, Hey, I want to run this by you. What do you think of this? But the reality is is that we never. Neglect the beauty and the magic that we’re creating together because you know, when you know that it’s right. And, and my wife is, is a stickler when it comes to like being honest and she loves.
And appreciates [00:38:00] this energy that I have with Skyview wish he’s like, dude, he brings out the best in you and you bring out the best in him. And I want to champion you guys because I want to support, even though nothing really big has happened yet, it’s going to come. Yeah. I believe that, that we were destined to do this.
Our partnership with Marvel is just starting, you know, we’ve had an amazing two two issues that we put out. Our third one is coming out tomorrow with werewolf by night. You know, we did the Marvel 1000 thing,
Benjamin Jackendoff: but
Taboo: indigenous voices, the best is yet to come. We’re just chipping away at the idea of being part of the Marvel universe.
Like we are writers. That write for Marvel.
You know what, speaking
Benjamin Jackendoff: to our kids, you know, again, it’s like, everything really is driven by that fact that, you know, we want to be inspiration for our kids. Because we can be as brazen for our kids. We can be inspirations for all kids. Like, that’s a big thing because, you know, I had that dream at 11 years old.
I was like,
Taboo: I want to make
Benjamin Jackendoff: stuff with Marvel. I want it to be an artist, [00:39:00] but I didn’t really follow that path. And, and it kind of was a dream that fell by the wayside. Cause I wasn’t really pursuing it. I ended up going, I want to make movies in Hollywood. I want to tell stories. I want to. You’ll create content.
And you know of speaking to that, like here I am, my son’s nine years old, you know, he picked up a copy of Maestro. Right. Which is the whole series. So he’s like reading and he’s like comes, he’s like runs and he’s like,
Taboo: yo dad,
Benjamin Jackendoff: I got the Bicester period. Number one,
Taboo: I turned the page.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Guess what? I saw advertisement.
There’s . Yeah. Like,
Taboo: I’m so proud of you dad, so proud of you guys. And I’m like
Benjamin Jackendoff: nine year old son saying he’s proud of us for like what we’re doing and we’re inspiring, you know, our kids, like they can have that dream at nine
Taboo: years old and go,
Benjamin Jackendoff: Oh my gosh, I can really do that. Like why, why couldn’t I, why should
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, That’s it, you know, it’s, that’s the dream.
Melissa: It also sends a message to you to like, to [00:40:00] everyone, because, you know, we, we tend to, you know, tell kids, of course you can do anything. You can be anything. But sometimes when we grow up, you know, and we, we become adults, we start thinking we’re too old for stuff. And I think it’s really important that people realize, you know, especially if you’re a writer, you know, there’s no expiration date for dreams.
Taboo: Can I, can I tell you, can I tell you Melissa, just Someone that inspired us on a firsthand about never too old was Stanley. We got the honor to go on a different you know tour with, with him being on a panels with us at New York. Comic-Con at San Diego. Comic-Con in LA Stan Lee Comicon, and we were.
In his presence, absorbing knowledge and information, and just peep in his game and wanting to learn and wanting to apply his energy at 90 something years old, rest in peace, he was still very energetic and enthusiastic about holding onto the imagination and everyone in a grow old and still being excited about heroes [00:41:00] and comic books and toys and everything that embodies your childhood in the nostalgia of your childhood.
So if Stan Lee. The great Stanley gave me that energy. You best believe on the run with that energy and continue that legacy that he started because now we have the Baton to be able to do it on a smaller scale and we’re not competing. I’m not comparing ourselves to Stanley at all. Just the energy of being in his, in his presence of learning of speaking to him one-on-one and getting that, that information of him.
Co-signing the first thing that we did with master’s son, black IPS, but now like doing that with Benny and having that same energy, that Stanley exuded and that he, he you know, expressed to the world through his storytelling and his love for comics and, and, and superheroes. What do you think,
Benjamin Jackendoff: Stan, Stan, such a great story, you know, because I, you know, I have such an interesting connection to stand.
I, so one of my very first mentors in the film business was this [00:42:00] guy, Larry Cohen,
You know, amazing man
Taboo: recently passed
Benjamin Jackendoff: away, you know, but Larry was, was also close with Stan. You know, they came up in New York together and, you know, they also had a very similar kind of mindset. They were very Maverick.
They were Mavericks, you know, and Larry always was like, Ben, come on, just do it. Just, you
Taboo: know, you
Benjamin Jackendoff: it’s very, very independent. He was a big. For us in my early career, in my early twenties, because I had done a documentary on comic books and I ended up meeting Stan Lee
Taboo: at con in 20 gosh,
Benjamin Jackendoff: I mean, it was 2002.
I’m going to like 22, 2002, 2001. And I ended up sitting next to Stan Lee and Guild champion and his, his business partner. And here I am a kid
Taboo: who’s got like a
Benjamin Jackendoff: film under, you know, literally in my backpack. That we’re going to be screening at con this documentary and, you know, he was in the doc,
Taboo: but I hadn’t,
Benjamin Jackendoff: I didn’t get to go to fly to LA to shoot it.
I was shooting all the New York interviews
Taboo: and I did all the editing for the film [00:43:00] and, you know, I, and I
Benjamin Jackendoff: introduced myself
Benjamin Jackendoff: it was just like one of those like fanboy dream moments. But then, you know, obviously having been later connecting with Larry Cohen and him and Stanley.
Taboo: You know, it was just that same kind
Benjamin Jackendoff: of New York mentality.
I mean, comic books only recently have really become, you know, obviously in the nineties of course, but I think Marvel in it, what it is. Really blew up, you know, because of that big vision, but Stan never gave up on that vision. Like he always had that vision since he was always doing comics.
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, I have another friend you know, my buddy, my
Taboo: buddy, Dave useless, his father, Michael
Benjamin Jackendoff: useless is the one who did Batman.
And he was the one who championed Batman and pushed. And he has the rights to Batman. If you are every, every Batman project you ever look at us as Michael useless on it. And David’s a good friend of mine and, you know,
Taboo: looking at all these people
Benjamin Jackendoff: that I’ve come up with. And, and, you know, in the film business and everything, it’s just, it’s watching how we all
Taboo: are just championing
Benjamin Jackendoff: our dreams, you know?
And like you said, it’s like, you can [00:44:00] never, I mean, here I am at 40 years old, you know, and it’s like, just starting on this dream journey, you know, just start, you know, and
Benjamin Jackendoff: that’s, that’s so inspiring. I mean, it’s like, you never, you
Taboo: never have to get
Taboo: It’s funny because you never know where the inspiration is gonna.
The inspiration is going to come from, you know, another person besides Stanley that inspired me with their act two was the late great recipes, Kobe Bryant. Who’s a personal friend of mine and my family and his family. And to see. Life beyond basketball and what he was as a husband and as a father and as, as a, you know championing of storytelling through a lens of like wanting to, to empower girls because he had daughters and he was a girl dad and doing it through a sports lens, you know, for me and adding fantasy to it.
For me, I always looked at Colby as a person to, to, to be inspired by, but also to, to [00:45:00] champion, to want to, to want to live up to those expectations of like, you know, life beyond my, my day job, which Blackwoods is black IPS. And, and I love my day job. I love being a black IP. But also like there’s more story to tell and there’s more things that my kids can, can really gravitate to.
And, and that’s why I was like, man Stanley and Kobe Bryant had been two big forces in my life.
Benjamin Jackendoff: They’re good heroes.
Melissa: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. You know, Kobe Bryant. That was, yeah. I, I didn’t know. He was a friend of yours that was super. Crazy tragedy. Very, you know, it’s just always when it takes you by surprise like that, you know, and it, and it literally rocked the nation, the world, you know, everybody felt got that loss and, but you’re absolutely right.
He was him and Stanley both were just so inspiring. Just what they did beyond, like you said, beyond the initial, you know, just whatever their day job was and how they reached so many people inspired so many people. And I think you guys are on your way. You know, to [00:46:00] doing that as well with, with the stuff you’re doing and the way that things are changing too.
There’s so many indie comics now, you know, Kickstarter campaigns and people that don’t feel like they can get a seat at the table are like, you know what, I’m going to take it on my own and do this my own way, you know, self published it. And that’s, you know, huge as well. Have you guys ever thought about completely just doing something on your own?
Benjamin Jackendoff: Like with beer. I’ve already done. I did the very first Hollywood Kickstarter here. I did. Yeah. We were the very first Kickstarter ever featured in Hollywood
Taboo: reporter because of the cast we got.
Benjamin Jackendoff: I did it with Tim mouse, animation studios and John Schnapp and it was a cartoon and we raised $190,000. I brought in my friend, Lena Hedy to star.
She was in the Lena is a very close friend who I was like, Hey, leave, you know, I got this like cartoon we’re putting together, we’re raising the money on Kickstarter, you down to do the main characters voice. And she was like,
Taboo: yeah, sure. Whatever. I was
Benjamin Jackendoff: like, okay, cool. So we, this amazing cast together. And we had Titmouse animation studios
Benjamin Jackendoff: we made the [00:47:00] cartoon and we just did it.
And we raised on it. Like I said, it was the hardest 45 days of my
Benjamin Jackendoff: I was also going through a divorce at the time and I had a 10 month old son. So look, you know,
Taboo: but yeah, it’s, it’s, it is
Benjamin Jackendoff: a challenging
Taboo: possibility. And I think
Benjamin Jackendoff: I would always encourage anyone to
Taboo: do it,
Benjamin Jackendoff: especially if it’s a project they believe
Benjamin Jackendoff: and that doesn’t fit into kind of the current.
Taboo: know, I don’t know temperature
Benjamin Jackendoff: on what’s going on, you know, where you really kind of want to be your own your own machine. And it’s amazing.
Taboo: I mean, look, when we got made
Benjamin Jackendoff: the money was us, me and John were like
Taboo: in the studio everyday going I, where we do it, it’s
Benjamin Jackendoff: our money. Like, let’s go. So yeah.
Personal experience, but it’s a lot of work.
Taboo: Yeah. I would say this just to have a You know, a perspective from a person that has been part of a major label for many years, and then, you know, getting kicked off [00:48:00] or getting, let go, and then getting signed by another major label and knowing how the machine works and the power of association and affiliation being part of, you know, the Marvel arm has been such a blessing.
You know, and without that flexing, you know, and, and yes, you have to flex, you have to have that. That partnership where it’s like indie. I respect that, but I love the idea of having such a global partner like Marvel and being able to, to say, look, you know, we know that it’s going to come out or we know that we have a better chance at whatever success is, whatever, you know, it’s going to get in the right places.
For me, That’s just been my personal experience on the music tip. Like I try to do stuff independently on the music tip and it just didn’t, it didn’t have that same velocity and that same urgency that when you’re part of a major label and you have a machine, a actual machine behind you that, you know, it moves fast [00:49:00] and unless you’re putting up the capital and you have, that’s your money that you’re willing to spend and take a gamble on, you know, then that, you know, Be about it.
I would prefer
Benjamin Jackendoff: to be partnered up
Benjamin Jackendoff: right? Yeah,
Melissa: yeah. No, totally right. There would be a, yeah,
Taboo: he had an amazing cast.
Benjamin Jackendoff: We had Chris Hardwick
Taboo: on it in the, in the cartoon
Benjamin Jackendoff: voices, but he was an amazing, honestly, you didn’t know, you don’t know about it. I put this, you know, like be in step with this amazing God love that, man.
You know, he’s gone too soon and he was a brilliant, another genius that, you know, unfortunately the cartoon didn’t work.
Taboo: It didn’t catch
Benjamin Jackendoff: on. It was, it was something that, you know, and I’ve been there and I’ve seen that disappointment
Taboo: that we had.
Benjamin Jackendoff: And, and if only, you know, we hadn’t had the machine of a Warner brothers or Disney or whatever behind us now, again, some people really want to do it their way.
And John was very much like that. John and I respect John [00:50:00] a hundred percent. He was always, John did many Kickstarters. You know, he did. And he had very great success with them and it works for a certain personality tab. And I are here to work
Taboo: with the machines to make them
Benjamin Jackendoff: how we want to tell our stories in the machines.
Taboo: And we have, we have great partners, like, you know, I have to say that the vision that we had going into creating world by night, It’s exactly the way we designed it from scratch. When it was just a conversation
Benjamin Jackendoff: we wanted to tell,
Taboo: we told the story, we wanted to tell, we got the right artists, Scott Eaton to, to, to visually you know, let the world know what was inside of our heads and how we created this story and our villains.
And. Oh, everything was dead on. Yeah.
Melissa: Awesome. And know, so early you guys mentioned a masters in the sun. So hip hop played a big role in that story. Are there, I’m curious, did you guys have any musical influences for, for werewolf by night? Like, do you have playlists that you like,
Benjamin Jackendoff: Oh yeah, I’ll be talking [00:51:00] about playlist.
Taboo: I’ll attach
Benjamin Jackendoff: it. His dad was like, yo bro. He’s like, y’all, ain’t got no playlist.
Taboo: That that has been a personal connection to our creation and how we create is the fact that we have a musical component that goes along with. The experience, you know, using our strength, using our weapons that we already have in the game, the game, which is the music component and being able to create, you know, original songs for our cartoons and our animation, but also creating playlist that inspire the writers or the animators to go on this journey.
And we had different playlist that were part of the world by night journey. And I felt like. Like different moods would evoke different experiences in different type of, of, of,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, of
Taboo: coloring and animation. And just, that was the, the, the way that we can incorporate music to be part of this journey and where we’ll finite.
If you look at the the comic. He’s listening to I don’t know if it’s, it’s like a musical MP3 [00:52:00] player that,
Benjamin Jackendoff: because she’s got the iPad, she has the iPad. Is the headphones
Taboo: controlling his playlist. Yeah. So that’s how, you know, he’s listening to chop suey by, by a system or sound. The music has always been part of our journey.
And we just want to continue that idea. Cause we always say music through myth mythology or mythology through music. It just it’s part of our strength. And we always want to implement that whether it’s original music for scoring or a playlist that we create on Spotify.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah,
Melissa: that’s cool. I think music goes hand in hand with everything really.
I mean, any type of art, whether you’re painting or writing. I mean, I’m just speaking from experience, I guess, but I think that music really does inspire and sort of like boosts the creative juices. You know what I mean? Cause like, if I’m blocked with writing, I just put on a playlist and it can put me in that mood right away to write
You know, what’s crazy, Melissa, is that in 2000? From 2011 until 2000 I want to say maybe 15 or 16. I spent [00:53:00] like those years creating music that I thought I was going to release a solo project, but I never did, but I held onto those songs in my hard drive and I revamped them to kind of, to be tailored to each of our cartoons that we created so that we have like a re-imagined version of something that I created in the past.
Right. That kind of goes along with our storytelling and theme songs and possible songs that we could have throughout the cartoons.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah. I mean, it’s music for both of us, I think has always been something that speaks to us. I mean, I’ve, I’ve been playing music since I was 13. I’m a bass player and you know, and I love it.
I’m not professional, but I play it. I love it.
Benjamin Jackendoff: there’s a passion for it.
Taboo: And I think for both
Benjamin Jackendoff: of us, we speak through music.
Taboo: I mean, we speak, you know, will send me a song
Benjamin Jackendoff: and be like, yo, check out this vibe when you think girl send me, you know, it’d be like, yo, that sounds dope. Like, and, and, and I think that is like our fluidity.
Comes from almost a jazz style. I mean, I love playing jazz, you know, because
Taboo: it, for [00:54:00] me is something
Benjamin Jackendoff: where we create we’re creating
Taboo: together. I mean, that’s why, like,
Benjamin Jackendoff: even with our music thing that we were doing, you know, on sunset strip, we were just getting a jam. Like, we’d be like pull out a key. Right?
Cool. What’s the tempo. Get our drummer on it, click clack, click cut that. And then we’re just like feeling it. And that’s how it’s happened. I work. We feel it, we just go with it and if it doesn’t feel right, like he said earlier, if we’re not laughing, we’re not going, if we’re not high five and through the phone, he know he’s not going in.
And you know, we’re always, we’re not always right, but we’re doing it from the heart and that’s,
Taboo: and the cool thing is that, like, we don’t have an ego about listening to each other. And like, if we, if we feel, you know, if we feel strong about something and Benny will say like, nah, I’m really not feeling that.
And then we’ll. We’ll go through this. Why? Why not? Maybe. And then finally we resolve and say, yeah, you’re right. Okay. I get it agreed. Like we always know that we can, we can depend on each other to not have an ego, not [00:55:00] take it personal. If we don’t agree on something, you know, yesterday we had a conversation about something and you know, it was as easy as okay, cool.
We, we set our, our, our points and we, we we know each other so well that by the end of that conversation or that end of that thread, We know that we’re going to come to, to a common ground and really agree on the final decision. Yeah.
Melissa: Well, like you were saying earlier, it’s about the relationships that you build.
It sounds like you guys were like, meant to be, you know, destined to be together.
Benjamin Jackendoff: I absolutely agree about that. I mean, I think, you know, I’ve been learning so much about just like, you know, surrender to the universe, so to
Taboo: speak. I mean,
Benjamin Jackendoff: I think it really is something where, you know, if, if
Taboo: anything, 2020 has taught us.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Is that just expect the unexpected and just let go. I mean, Joel is an illusion and if you
Taboo: know, when the right person comes to your life,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know it, and you just have to go with it and you
Taboo: got to trust.
Benjamin Jackendoff: I mean, I think trust, that’s the biggest thing. I mean, I’m learning that for myself, like tab teach me, teaches me to trust myself because he [00:56:00] believes in what I’m saying and what I’m doing.
And I do the same. I’m like, yo, that’s
Taboo: brilliant, bro. Like,
Benjamin Jackendoff: You’ll let
Taboo: the GS idea, let’s go with that.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Like, you know, and I think that’s the thing it’s like when we know, we know, and when there’s something that’s like, not sticking, we go art. Why, why is that not working? You know, or why,
Taboo: how do we
Benjamin Jackendoff: present it back to our editors or how we present it to our,
Benjamin Jackendoff: know, executives?
And then we build our front and then we come
Taboo: back and say,
Benjamin Jackendoff: all right, well, this is where we are. You know,
Taboo: and I think that’s,
Benjamin Jackendoff: that’s the most healthy look. We both have been, you know, we’re both married. I am no longer married, but I love
Taboo: my ex wife and we have an amazing, healthy relationship.
Benjamin Jackendoff: She is awesome.
And she’s an amazing mother and I’m
Benjamin Jackendoff: blessed to have her in my life because she is raising our son. To be a wonderful child. And I think
Taboo: Tom and I,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, we take
Taboo: those relationships, like Todd says with his wife,
Benjamin Jackendoff: like, we
Taboo: bring those relationships to our
Benjamin Jackendoff: relationship. That
Taboo: becomes that same
Benjamin Jackendoff: thing of like, all right,
Taboo: we’ve got
Benjamin Jackendoff: to trust each other and
Taboo: go together.
It’s just easy as [00:57:00] like taking the, the the philosophy that I have on stage when I’m performing, you know, it’s like fearlessness the, you know, I like to take the mama mentality as, as Kobe Kobe Bryant, did he, he would go into his games with that killer mentality and, you know, take the last three second shot.
And that’s how I feel like what, what I do in, in my day job is like, I love to be under pressure when I’m on stage, whether it’s a thousand people, a hundred thousand people or five people in the audience. Like, I love that feeling. And so, you know, what I bring to the table is I bring that reassurance and that, that comfort.
For Benny, when he’s feeling a little uncomfortable and he’s feeling like, God, I don’t know if I’m going to take that three second shot. I’m like, no, take the
And that’s the thing that, that hit he’s. So in his own head sometimes. Because he knows that he gets in his way and I’m like, no, Benny, you do this. Let it go, bro.
Benjamin Jackendoff: You know,
Melissa: it’s hard to get out of your own head. I mean, you have that imposter syndrome a lot, you know, I’ve written some books, [00:58:00] I’ve published books and I’ve had, you know, a little success on an energy level, but yeah, you still have those moments when you sit down to write a new book where you’re like, Oh my God, how do I do this?
You know what I mean? Like you just it’s that, that doubt that creeps in and you got to just champion over it and I’m kind of be like, no, I got this, you know what I mean,
Benjamin Jackendoff: a hundred percent. I think it really comes down to trust the process, you know? And, and when you
Benjamin Jackendoff: amazing champions in your corner of the trust, you
Taboo: surround yourself by
Benjamin Jackendoff: those that light you up.
Because if you’re not getting lit up by the people in your corner,
Taboo: if you’re not getting lit up.
Benjamin Jackendoff: You know, we don’t want to be, you know, nobody needs extra toxicity in this world because the world is already toxic enough and you’re already choking on spare. We don’t need to be choking out each other’s area.
Melissa: that’s a great analogy.
Taboo: It really is.
Benjamin Jackendoff: I mean, you want, you want
Taboo: to be, you want
Benjamin Jackendoff: to be on the phone call with that. Person’s going to go, I believe in
Taboo: like you got
Benjamin Jackendoff: this, don’t even sweat it and vice versa. And you want to
[00:59:00] Taboo: have that, like tab said earlier,
Benjamin Jackendoff: it’s like some love. Like, it’s not some thing,
Taboo: like, that’s it
Benjamin Jackendoff: full stop come from love, like that builds happiness.
And then that builds everything else in your life. And when you can do that and put that into your content, into your music, like tap does into our stories like
Taboo: we do,
Benjamin Jackendoff: then the audiences are going to feel that and yeah. You know, no, there is no such thing as a perfect song or a perfect story or perfect, whatever.
But as long as it connects to the right people and moves them,
Taboo: like tab says, it’s
Benjamin Jackendoff: got, you know, it’s like dance, right. It’s got to move.
Taboo: Exactly. Dude, it’s got to move the crowd.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and also you know, and everything I wanted to touch on with you taboo is that you’ve utilized your platform.
And we’ve mentioned this briefly, but to bring awareness and activism for your community and, you know, for, for people listening, like what are some of the things that fans and listeners can do to help contribute to that message of the native American community and getting that message out there?
Taboo: Well, first and foremost [01:00:00] we are here you know, a lot of people have a misconception that we’re so disconnected with modern times that people all around the world don’t know what a monitor native looks like, but we are definitely represented in a, in a modern day way.
You know, there’s a lot of reservations where, you know, the, the. The idea that you can be of service and champion movements and causes. A lot of times gets lost in translation because there’s been such an intergenerational trauma throughout the years, that the trust to outsiders and to allies that are just trying to help sometimes comes with the price.
Sometimes it comes like, Oh, well, what are their intentions? What are they trying to get out of us? You know? And I’ve felt that before, and I’m, you know, native as well, but. You know, it, it, it comes with being able to do your part, whatever that means, you know, whether it’s GoFund me, that, that a lot of different tribes have, or just wanting to learn [01:01:00] about, you know, indigenous communities around your area, what land, you know, are.
Are you sitting on, like, for example, I’m in Los Angeles and the land that’s, the ancestors are from the Tongva land. So just knowing where the first people of wherever you’re you’re, you know, you reside to understand that ancestry and the history of that place so that you could better understand your surroundings and what was here prior to, to you living in this house.
So. You know, there’s those types of ways there’s organizations like illuminative at illuminating. Where you can get information about senses and the way that you can be of service in different ways, whether it was voting last, you know, last voting election and there’s ways for you to just.
Do your part, you know, taboo? I think education
Benjamin Jackendoff: is the biggest thing. I mean, I think, you know, even here I you know, as, as a native ally and, and, you know, you’re, you know, creative [01:02:00] half and
Taboo: I’m on this journey
Benjamin Jackendoff: too, you know, I am a student and, you know, it’s a constant being, open-minded
Taboo: being a student.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Going out and, and, you know, look, there’s some, you
Taboo: know, Joseph Campbell
Benjamin Jackendoff: has a great series called
Taboo: the power of myth, and there’s a
Benjamin Jackendoff: lot of amazing your native storytelling that he gets into and tying that into modern mythology as well as global mythology. And as we always talk about it’s about an international community voice that we’re always looking to put out with our company, but it’s always coming from where are the first peoples voices?
Where are the people that are most connected? To the earth, like, I mean, job, you always say like your grandmother would dip your feet in the air.
Taboo: And, and honestly, I would suggest this as well to all the people that want to learn and educate themselves. You got to find the right people to, to kind of speak on that because a lot of times we have a Western eyes.
A narrative that has a lot of misconceptions [01:03:00] has a lot of very huge stereotypes and typical stereotypes that wouldn’t necessarily do well when having a conversation with a native that, that is on an Indian reservation. You know, it’s, it’s just. Getting that information, even for myself, I’m still a student of wanting to learn about my cultures and wanting to do, to make the right decisions and follow the right protocol from my behalf.
Because even when it comes to storytelling, like there’s a lot of landlines as we talk about that, we have to be sensitive and empathetic when speaking on native issues and Indian reservations and storytelling, because there’s a lot of things that we don’t know because we were born in the city of, I was born in LA Benny’s from New Jersey.
So here we are telling stories about native people from, from Indian reservation.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah. And I think to that point, it’s like, we, we are always coming from a humble space of going look, we want to learn, you know, we bring in the right allies in the right, exactly.
Taboo: You know,
Benjamin Jackendoff: JC Shelton, you know, who, who [01:04:00] gave, you know, we spoke to you on the phone many times about,
Taboo: you know, and also to
Benjamin Jackendoff: visual inspiration from him.
And incorporate it into where I’m
Taboo: finite, you know, I’ve
Benjamin Jackendoff: been chilling and Delores shilling, you know, we’ve
Taboo: been amazing, you know, guides
Benjamin Jackendoff: for us on this journey. And so many others. I mean, you know,
Taboo: crystal echo, Hawk rights. I mean, it’s like
Benjamin Jackendoff: amazing, you know,
Taboo: people that have. Believed in us as
Benjamin Jackendoff: well. And,
Taboo: and you know,
Benjamin Jackendoff: and we’re not, we’re not scared to ask the question, like to have said, it’s like,
Taboo: and we’re not the experts.
We’re not never, we never claimed to be experts at native storytelling. We never claimed to be experts to native issues because like, honestly, I would be a hypocrite if I, if I acted like I knew everything and, and it would be, I would do. Ultimate injustice. If I was claiming to be the all-knowing and there’s a, there’s a line that Kyrie Irving said, he said I’m a voice and I don’t speak for all of [01:05:00] us.
I just speak as one of us. And that line, that, that phrase has been with me since I heard it, because I always feel like. In pop culture. If you have a direct line to, to indigenous communities and you have to trust, if you’re able to do good and just want to go from the heart, then it’ll be implemented and people will see that.
But if you have ulterior motives, people will see right through that too. So, you know, with our storytelling, we always try to advocate for, for natives Artists like Jeffrey Virgie to be part of our projects. We have cultural consultants as mint. Benny mentioned like JC Shelton and Vince shillings, so that we’re always making sure that we dot our I’s and cross our T’s so that it’s.
Benjamin Jackendoff: I think, you know, when
Taboo: it comes to, to
Benjamin Jackendoff: our storytelling, we’re not going in and saying, we’re going to tell
Taboo: a specific native
Benjamin Jackendoff: story about,
Taboo: you know, this
Benjamin Jackendoff: authentic voice from a living on a
Taboo: reservation. You know, we will give that as a
Benjamin Jackendoff: framework, [01:06:00] but our goal is to speak metaphorically, you know, we’re off by night, you know, for instance, like, right.
There’s. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve read issue one and two yet, but so in where we find out that there will issue when we actually find out that there is this missing, you know, youth and native folk. And honestly, that, that comes from,
Taboo: you know, I mean, I had.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Heard about the, the highway of tears and you know, how many missing women, you know, go every year and how horrible that
Benjamin Jackendoff: we just want to go, okay, we’re going to tell that story, but we made an allusion
Taboo: to it
Benjamin Jackendoff: by
Taboo: using that
Benjamin Jackendoff: where it
Taboo: was this thing of like,
Benjamin Jackendoff: This invisible no more like here are these people being taken because this greater power is saying they don’t
Benjamin Jackendoff: We’re going to take them because no one will miss that.
And we put that as a metaphor in there so that when people read it, they’ll understand the metaphor. Number one.
Taboo: But if they do
Benjamin Jackendoff: a little bit of research, they’ll realize, Oh my God, [01:07:00] that’s real. That’s the highway of tears. These are real things that we’re speaking to. Right. I mean,
Taboo: that’s. That’s
Benjamin Jackendoff: what we want to do is create a
Taboo: loose allusions to, you know,
Benjamin Jackendoff: real topics
Taboo: that people can actually
Benjamin Jackendoff: edutain themselves and get real education.
Melissa: Yeah. And I think that’s really good because yeah, that’s a really big issue that, you know, is nobody seems to be paying attention to it doesn’t make headlines, you know, I, the only time I’ve ever seen articles on it is when someone’s posted on Facebook and it’s like, Hey, pay attention to this. You know?
So that’s a problem, you know, that it’s not on CNN, you know,
Taboo: We had that same issue with standing rock, you know, and those, those, some allies that came to, to try to bring their weight and their accessibility to to, to bring the media outlets to that. And those people like Shailene, Woodley and Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark refollow, who are.
A list celebrities in Hollywood and they were using their celebrity and their [01:08:00] voice to be able to, to bring light to what was happening at standing rock. And they were doing it from the heart. And, and the fact was is we needed more visibility. And even me going to standing rock and being there in the trenches and in the front lines with my relatives, I felt like empowered.
I felt like this was my calling because I was dealing with. You know, life after cancer and my own healing process and reconnecting with my roots and it just showed the, the power of solidarity and the power of, of being of service.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m a champion for, for all women too, you know what I mean?
I just think that women, especially, and, and we need male allies, you know, to, to a champion for all women and all, you know, Ethnicities and everything a bit specifically that issue of you know, the, the missing native American women that go missing, like literally all the time and no one.
Taboo: A lot of our [01:09:00] storytelling has
Benjamin Jackendoff: women
Taboo: always because of my dream, you know, matriarch, like the first person that put me on the map was grandma.
So that idea and that philosophy of having strong female figures and especially me having my wife and my daughter, like we always implement somebody one, there’s gotta be a female that is as, as strong and as driven as the, the male lead, because we want to empower women as well. The matriarchs.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely.
And you know, before, before we go, I want you to talk about flow water. Cause we’ve mentioned, we talked about it a little bit, so I’m excited about this. Yeah, let’s, let’s talk about it.
Taboo: So I partnered up with flow, this amazing company from Canada. They are alkaline spring water and they are. You know, their messaging.
It goes along with my own messaging about, you know, wanting to be part of always giving back, but also being connected to mother earth and how water is life. That was the, the term that we use is standing rock [01:10:00] and they have the same idea of, you know, wanting to utilize the water as a healing. As a form of pin homage to the tribal communities that, that embrace that philosophy.
And so for me, it just made sense. The partnership was great. I’m an investor in it. I’m a shareholder, but also I’m an ambassador. And so, you know, if you look on my IgE page, I’m really running on advocating for it and I’ve gotten it out to all my friends. Definitely send you guys some, just so that you could try it.
It’s got different flavors. It’s alkaline water and it’s sustainable because it’s in a box as opposed to a plastic container. It’s delicious.
Benjamin Jackendoff: mean, to cover, bro is the best
Taboo: ladies and gentlemen, and I’m proud of it. You know, you guys being a comic book writer besides being a co-creator with Benny on, on our animation and being a black IP. I got into the water business and has been a blessing because water is life.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. That’s exciting. You guys are both amazing people.
Thank you so much [01:11:00] for being on today. Like literally super genuine, just thanks for being so forthcoming with everything and just sharing your passion with all of us to like, that’s very apparent. You guys are very passionate about what you
Taboo: Thank you. I want to, I want to plug something so tomorrow, I don’t know if the podcast is going out tomorrow.
But December 30th, December 30th, we have the new wealth by night issue, three it’s dropping. We’re proud of that. And then in January, we’ll have issue four. Then we’re going to have our trade that comes out what Benny it’s
Benjamin Jackendoff: March. I think the trade drops in March, which is going to be around. So we’ve also got
Taboo: another project.
Benjamin Jackendoff: We can’t talk too much about it, but our trade comes out in March. We’re just lining it up with Marvel. Cause Shallah, we’ve got a new, a new ghost for our speaking about women, empowering women. We have an
Benjamin Jackendoff: amazing story we’ve been building that is just amazing powerful women. And you know, we are drawing from our, you know, our, our matriarchs to [01:12:00] chattel that
Taboo: with our amazing editor, Sarah,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, and just really building something really special there.
Taboo: yep. And then we have, we have an amazing you know, three. Three cartoons animation series that, that are in development right now. We’re excited about that. As Benny mentioned a scripted one that’s coming as well. And then we have
Benjamin Jackendoff: your film. We’re developing too. So you to look, look out for 2022, 2218 is going to be a big year for scabby way.
We put it out there, treat bake.
Taboo: And then on a smaller scale we got this, this song that we just dropped with Shaquita. A small little
Benjamin Jackendoff: I got this,
Taboo: I got this small song called girl, like me that is really taking off and, you know, hopefully we’ll start getting, getting into the dance on Pixar.
that’s on Spotify now. That’s on iTunes, Apple music, all the streaming services. Check out our new video on YouTube. It’s called like Mitsui trend Shakira.
[01:13:00] Melissa: Awesome. Oh my gosh. Thank you guys so much. So we’ve got the support, your local comic book shops to people like don’t forget that. Like, and you guys you’re available in all local comic book shops.
Right. And if you’re not people can call and get it.
Benjamin Jackendoff: That is true. All local comic book shops, you know, here in LA,
Taboo: we’ve got a bunch that we,
Benjamin Jackendoff: you know, we go to, we love, you know I always give a shout out to the homies that we can be heroes, comics. We also got collected paradise, and we’re doing some signings
Taboo: with that.
Benjamin Jackendoff: still order a full series of our signed books that have been signing with the collector’s paradise. And they’ll, they’ll ship that out to you. I think all four issues. So, you know, support your local comic shops and Yes.
Taboo: And also thank you to to our, our Marvel family CB. We got Jake Thomas Shannon B, we have Lindsay.
What’s her last name? Yeah. Eaton Merz loft. We have Sarah . Yeah.
Benjamin Jackendoff: Yeah.
Taboo: Also we always got to show [01:14:00] love to our Marvel family. Thank you guys. Talk to my, my, my bro, Joey que Joey Cassata Jason Latori and Daniel Fink for, for being part of that journey.
Melissa: Awesome. Thank you guys for coming on. Seriously, taboo Benjamin.
That’s been amazing. Werewolf by night. Everybody go buy it. I just bought it. It’s amazing so far. Yeah, no. Awesome. Have a good night guys. Thank you so much for coming on. This has been spoiler country.