Where Are They Now?

Jesénia M. Jackson and Desmond Barnes:

Jesénia M. Jackson 

reserved and poised student came to Beats, Books, and Hooks (BBH) summer program in 2013 with her younger brothers at her side.  During the introduction period she stated that she was “looking for a good summer experience for herself and her siblings.” She was very active during the program and mentored other students.  It was very clear from the outset that she knew that music would be a big part of her future.  On her program survey she wrote “FAME changed my life! I will never be the same.”  That student was Jesénia Jackson. 

In a recent letter, Jesénia wrote “I remember the day I met the instructors at BBH. I saw people that not only genuinely loved what they did but took the extra time to help children find their way and work to achieve greatness in every area of their life. Being surrounded by their enthusiasm and learning music technology, music theory, preparing for the “big show” at the end of the program, and working in a field in which I could be myself, encouraged me to attend college for music and mentor less fortunate youth.  It is important that young people just don’t play music but are educated on the fundamentals of music and academics to be a well-rounded individual – That’s what FAME does, and I am grateful that I was a part of such an amazing organization”

Last Spring, Jesénia graduated from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance. Jesénia currently serves as the President and CEO of Miss. Jackson Records (a gospel and classical record label). She is pursuing her Master of Music Degree in Music Theory & Composition: Scoring for Film & Multimedia at New York University (NYU).

If you have attended ‘Tis the Season or a FAME anniversary celebration, chances are you have heard Jesénia on the piano or were greeted by her warm spirit at the front door or registration desk.  Jesénia served as a Music and Technology Intern at FAME for two summers. This summer she developed and taught a creative and engaging curriculum for FAME’s “For the Love of Music” a summer program for elementary school youth.  Jesenia is a strong advocate for keeping live music in our schools. In addition to Jesénia’s individual musical pursuits, she serves as the group leader for her family musical group, Higher Ground.

Desmond Barnes

Desmond Barnes aka DB Bantino began working with FAME in his junior year at Morgan State University. In a recent article, Desmond stated “…the nonprofit FAME was the first official organization to give me and my music a chance and support my dream.  They provided me with recording studio opportunities, that I could not afford at the time, so that I could develop my promo materials.  In addition to moral and networking support, they challenged me with a commission opportunity to create, record and perform FAME’s theme song in 2009.  It was my first break to be professionally recognized for something that I created.  My exposure to and nurturing by FAME was a big motivating factor in establishing my career in music.”  The music and lyrics for the Theme Song can be found at

Desmond is from Southeast Washington, DC. He is a triple threat with the creative talents of being a producer, writer and artist. Desmond has written songs for Chris Brown, Future, Tory Lanes, Rae Sremmurd, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Jason Derulo and many other major acts. He signed a publishing deal with Rodney Jerkins Seventy7 Music Publishing in 2014. He has worked closely with Rodney Jerkins on writing eight songs for Fox 5 prime TV show Empire.

Desmond has produced music for three different television campaigns including LG Smartphone company. He also has worked in the studio with producer Scott Storch and other hit producers writing records and working on his personal music.

Desmond is a regular supporter of FAME and its programs.  He often calls Ms. Toni to inspire her to continue motivating youth and speaking into their ears: “You are Enough”.   He also supports youth in other nonprofits by writing and producing workshops in DC to help teach and motivate others to pursue their dreams and how to establish careers in the music industry.


Join Mailing List & Sign up for Newsletter

Receive upcoming events, updates, and more!