For local entertainment attorney Jalene Mack, there’s no limit to what she can do. A trained actress, lawyer, movie producer, author and founder of the non-profit arts group, MPAC (Mack Performing Arts Collective), Mack is making her mark in the entertainment industry. From representing high profile clients like Steve Harvey and Wendy Raquel Robinson, to building the next generation of entertainers, Mack is a woman on the move. That’s evidenced by the fact that she has four feature films dropping this month.
The multi-hyphenated, multi-talented New Orleans-raised woman is also working hard to bring Hollywood to Houston, a place she’s called home since 1990. Mack talked to the Defender about what she has going on, and how she’s hoping to help put Houston on the map.
Defender: Tell us about your upcoming projects.
Jalene Mack: One is called “Love and Coffee,” it’s available now on Tubi. Jonathan Milton is the director/writer/producer on that one. It’s available now for streaming. I have one coming out called “Friend Zone,” produced by Justin Milton. I’m an executive producer on that one as well, along with my producing partner, Jonavon Stephens. I have one coming out on AllBlack Network, which is “Staycation.” I’m an executive producer on that. The amazing Aaron and Ali Abdin are the writers/directors on that one. It stars Houston actor Shelton Jolivette, Amelia Jefferies and Jennifer Freeman. That’s streaming on AllBlack. And the big, big one, “North of the 10,” which is streaming on BET+. We’ve been working on that one for the past two years. It’s been a very heavy lift for us, but I’m so excited that it’s finally released for the world to see. Rhyan LaMarr is our director/writer and his producing partner on that one is Bishop Garnes…..It’s about all these different influencers that struggle to become who they are today on the verge of MySpace folding, and the emergence of Facebook and Instagram and all these other social platform. It’s based on a true story. I’m excited about all of the projects. I get to make a cameo in all of these movies, so I get to wear all of my hats.
Defender: We hear all the time that you have to move to New York, Los Angeles or Atlanta if you want to have any success in the entertainment industry. Not only are you proving that to be false, but you have worked tirelessly to bring more film projects to Houston. Is that a concerted effort on your part?
Mack: I’ve been acting since I was a kid. I was an actress before I was a lawyer. So I always had this drive for the arts. But living in Houston, our industry is not on the radar. We have to find ways to make it happen. We have to bring Hollywood to Houston. I’m hoping that when people recognize independent filmmakers out of Houston, it will help us get more prominence in the entertainment industry that we well-deserve and that we’ve been waiting on to happen.
Defender: Is that easier to do more projects here now with all these streaming platforms?
Mack: Yes, it’s definitely easier to get your content out, especially if you surround yourself with the right people. COVID also allowed everybody some down time to further develop a lot of their projects. And so now you have tons content coming out.
Defender: Your list of occupations is inspiring: lawyer, actress, producer, head of a nonprofit, philanthropist, writer. And you’re proof that you can work your dreams at any age. How do you balance the wearing of so many hats?
Mack: I don’t live in a box. I am a multi-hyphenated individual. These are the talents God gave me and I try to share them with the world. And those gifts allow me to wear multiple hats. And I just try to wear them well. It is just who I’ve always been.
Defender: What would be your advice to people that are hoping to break into the industry in any of these areas?
Mack: It used to be that all you had to do was pick up a book. Nowadays, you just go to social media or YouTube. Learning, absorbing, observing all that stuff is easier now because the content is right at your hands. Obviously, nothing is like networking at the end of the day. Whether we’re networking over a zoom or in person, it’s nothing like being around people that might be able to extend resources to you, give you some words of encouragement, or point you in the right direction. I would also suggest taking a class, though oftentimes, people just have natural talent.
- Birthplace: Kansas City, MO
- Education: Xavier University (1990),
- Thurgood Marshall School of Law (1993)
- Family: Jermayn Mack (husband), Sydney and Justin (children)
- Other Organizations: Jack Yates High School-Communications Academy Board of Advisor Member, Houston Community College Advisory Board Member for the Commercial Music Department, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Houston Suburban-Ft. Bend Alumnae Chapter, Houston Lawyers Association, The National Bar Association, Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association www.JaleneMack.com