I am not a strong Black woman. It feels really liberating to write that sentence down as I rarely have chances to say it in my everyday life. Yesterday I went shopping. I was carrying a bag I had from another store and immediately felt on edge as soon as I walked in. Why? As a Black person I know I am automatically being watched by security, and feel uneasy when shopping inside any store. Being followed by security is a normal experience for Black people. Normal as in it always happens to us and has been apart of our lives since childhood, which did not make me stronger, but instead gave me massive anxiety. When I walked into the store carrying a bag from another store I felt scared, and when I walked out having not bought anything I slowed my pace down because I didn’t want anyone to think I had stolen something. I am not a strong Black woman.

While my mother was dying from cancer I took care of her. I would go to work in the morning, and directly to my parents house at night to care for her, which included spending the night on her really hard days. For four months I smiled at work for the teachers, parents and kids, while simultaneously crying in my office bathroom in-between office visits. I couldn’t eat and my five-two frame became extremely frail. My emotional and mental state had gotten so bad that my size four jeans were falling off my waist. One coworker noticed. She had lost her father to cancer some years before. My coworker would bring me into her classroom and cry with me at lunch. She would bring me food and make me sit with her and eat. The front office and administrative staff knew what was going on in my life and never once showed me the care my coworker did.

After my mothers passing I became caretaker to my father who has a myriad of health issues. In 2019 his heart stopped and I watched the ICU team try several times to shock his dead body back to life; they did. He lived and I help. From doctor visits, emergency room stays, hospitalizations, grocery and medication pickup, nightly reminder calls to take meds and everything in-between…I help. My father and I have a strained relationship, but I am still there every day to take care of him. Once, while speaking to my cousin I commented about the toll all of this had been taking on me and he responded with, “Yeah, but you were built for this. You’re strong.” When I told him I was never given an option not to be strong he said, “I don’t believe that.” Unfortunately, when it comes to Black women most people don’t. They believe we were built for this…whatever “this” is but honestly, no one was built for this. I am not a strong Black woman.

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Wanting to make a film and have absolutely no money or crazy expensive equipment? Wondering how you can get any of it done without a large budget? I am telling you it can be done. I made an incredible short film with a full cast, and on an extremely tight budget. Here’s how I made a film with little money, and you can too:

WRITE THE FILM YOURSELF: I know its easy for me to tell you to write the film yourself, but I promise you, you can do it! If for some reason you feel as though you can’t, then connect with a friend you trust and have them be your writing partner. As someone who works best alone, I prefer to write all of my material. Writing with a partner is an awesome way to bounce ideas and character content off of another person. Your writing partner can help you hone in on your films message.

MATCH YOUR BUDGET TO YOUR SCRIPT: I have several big budget screenplays written that I cannot make on my own. Meaning the scripts do not match my personal budget. Instead of only focusing on pitching/selling my big budget screenplays to a studio, I wrote a short film I knew would fit within my budget. Whether it is a short or full length feature, make sure that your budget matches your script. It’s important to create a film within your budgetary means so that it will be seen by the audience at its best. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to make your film.

PREPARE YOUR SHOT LIST/LOCATIONS: You’ve written your script and feel like you’re ready to shoot it. Gather your shot list first. What scenes are you going to film and in what order depends on your budget as well. For my short film, In This House, I was able to use my parents home to film the entire thing. I purposely integrated the house into the script and made the home its own character. Figure out where you are going to shoot your film and create a calendar that reflects which scene(s) you will be filming. Factor in the time of day, amount of people needed and time it takes to get back and forth between each location as well. Hit up friends and family members to use locations i.e. their house/backyard/pool etc. so you do not have to pay location fees.

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The first breast lump I found in my twenties. I asked my doctor to send me for a mammogram because the lump was hard and painful. Arriving at the UCLA imaging center in Westwood was nerve-racking. I went alone…I do everything alone, it is just who I am. The woman at the front desk immediately refused my mammogram exam. She stated I was too young to be there and that a mistake must have been made. I was adamant and did not allow her to dismiss me. Calling my doctor, insurance and using my tenacious attitude, I had my first mammogram.

Usually, women are not recommended to start getting mammograms until around age forty. Do not listen to this recommendation. Listen to your body. You body will almost always tell you when something is wrong. This first lump turned out to be a hormonal cyst. The doctors told me to not worry about it, but again, I listen to myself, not them. Getting annual mammograms since my twenties has been a fight, as I sometimes am u p against resistance and or dismissive doctors and radiologists, but I never let up. I stayed on top of this lump and made sure to always perform a self breast examination while showering, or laying on the bed every few months.

Fast forward to my late thirties, it’s 2018, and a new lump has formed. Many times I will find a lump in my underarm area from shaving irritation, which is completely normal and almost all of us get them, but this one was different. My Mother died of Metastatic Cancer in 2015, my Grandmother (her Mom) died of Lung cancer just a few years later. Again, I am taking no chances. I head to the UCLA imaging center in Palos Verdes and get a mammogram. The radiologist immediately comes out after the ultrasound (I had to have both because of the lump found) and dismisses my worries, even after I tell her about my family history, and shoos me out of the door. ‘It’s hormonal’ she says. I still feel iffy.

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Quarantine, Anxiety & Ice Cream

Since we are now in year fifty-thousand of quarantine, I wanted to address issues many of us have been facing while living with this pandemic. For me, anxiety, depression, fear, have been reoccurring themes. Whether you have been dealing with feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, or fear, know that we will get through this together.

March 2020 and beyond has been rough for all of us. We are losing jobs, loved ones, financial security, facing food insecurities and death on a massive scale. It is scary as hell. Black Lives Matter and racial injustice movements not only in policing, but also our workplaces are at the forefront as well. Reckoning on a major scale is taking place. Caught on video acting racist and ignorant = lose your job, unless you’re a cop.

Constantly being bombarded with videos of racism, including Black/Brown people being beaten, shot etc. is psychologically damaging to watch as a Black person. These videos are visceral and can bring upon a depression so heavy that you have to claw your way out of it. Losing your job can feel devastating. The fear that accompanies it marries with anxiety and can push you over your emotional edge. The stress of quarantine, COVID, and just trying to buy groceries, is an emotional nosedive many of us are collectively experiencing.

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In This House

Cassia Jones Cassia Jones is a writer and actor originally from Los Angeles, California. She began writing as a child and fell in love with acting while watching reruns of: I Love Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show, The Golden Girls, and In Living Color. Comedy soon became her niche, and making her mother laugh became the goal! She has written the nominated webseries, To Live & Date in LA, short film, In This House, and is currently shopping two screenplays and television series. Cassia can be seen in a variety of commercials, independent films, and self produced projects including To Live & Date in LA on youtube, and In This House.

Katie Lee Katie Lee grew up on the go as the child of a military family, but now considers LA to be her home. She has had a love for acting and performing since she was 12 years old and trained formally at the University of Florida where she received her BFA in Theatre Performance. Katie can be seen in a variety of film projects and commercial ads, most recently featured in R&B vocalist, Kehlani’s newest music video “Good Thing”. She is, “So grateful to Cassia for seeing her as Gracie Lynn and for the chance to work with the rest of the talented cast!”

Tiera Dashae Born and raised in North Carolina, Tiera Dashae moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to pursue a career in acting. Since then she has held supporting roles in independent films and theater. She recently wrote, produced, and played a lead role in The Undergrads web series. Earlier this year she reprised her role of Connie in the MyBigGayItalianWedding stage play. Currently, you can see her play the heartwarming & enduring mother in the short film In This House.

Jason Mimms Jason Mimms is from the South Side of Chicago and the creator/star of JU-jU, a new comedy digital series. He is best known for his film and television roles in Laff Tracks, Boy Bye, Her Only Choice, and Hell Date. Jason is also recognized by his most recent theatrical performances with The Robey Theatre Company including, Knock Me A Kiss and The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel.

Cydney Gooch Cydney Ayrion Gooch was born in Los Angeles, CA. She is a vibrant spirit who has immersed herself in the arts since the age of five. She is best known for her role as Jessica Harris in Hollywood Horrors: The Family Secret. Cydney is a natural performer whose left her mark on the stage, as well as in front of the camera. She has set many goals, and like always is accomplishing them one roll at a time. Cydney has a passion for performing arts, dance and music. In her free time she enjoys traveling, swimming and going to local animal shelters. Her ultimate goal is to perform on Broadway and leave a legacy young girls will want to follow.

Sophia Robertson Sophia Robertson is a young LA actress, model and musician. She attends the Margie Haber Studio, and enjoys creating all mediums of art, including drawing, writing stories, composing music and her own fashion designs.  Sophia also plays violin and piano.  She enjoys swimming, and learning Chinese and German.

Jennifer Palumbo Jennifer moved out to LA six years ago from Chicago, IL. After a 20 year hair styling career, she is now a Stay at Home Mom while running her own Essential Oils business. She has no acting experience whatsoever and is grateful that she had the opportunity to participate in this film.

Cassia Jones as Billie (IG: toliveanddateinla)
Katie Lee as Gracie-Lynn (IG: katieleeacts)
Tiera Dashae as Mom (IG: itstieradashae)
Jason Mimms as Adam (IG: jason_mimms)
Cydney Gooch as Billie (child)
Sophia Robertson as Gracie-Lynn (child)
Jennifer Palumbo as Doctor Blackman (IG: socaloilymomma)

Written/Produced/Edited by Cassia Jones
Copyright 2018 Carole Sue Productions


Women are apologizers; we apologize all day for being who we are. Most of us don’t even realize when we’re doing it, and we need to stop. The USA Women’s Soccer Team recently came under attack for celebrating their wins and abilities in a way that male athletes do all the time. These women are the best soccer players in the world, and were admonished by talk show hosts, “fans” and the like for relishing in their accomplishments. They didn’t apologize for celebrating themselves, and neither should you. Girl, stop apologizing.

Issa Rae (creator of the viral webseries Awkward Black Girl, subsequent book and hit HBO show Insecure) won the Emerging Entrepreneur Award at the Women in Film 2019 Annual Gala. During her acceptance she gave one of the most hilarious and self-love filled speeches that also wet viral. At this point Issa should just change her last name to Viral, because everything she does goes platinum…no diamond!

While giving her speech Issa stated, “Sometimes I feel as women we tend to downplay ourselves and dim our light, and we’re kinda conditioned socially to be humble. I’m a huge hip-hop fan and none of the artists I listen to are humble.” Of course there is much more to the speech, and I highly suggest you watch it on YouTube because its pure comedy, but the opening lines are what really stand out.

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‘She’s Gotta Have It’ was absolutely stunning. I had no idea who Nola Darling was or what I was seeing, but I just knew that it was dope. No, it was more than that, it was beauty transcended past the norms. Each black and white shot was perfectly constructed into this myriad of colors and textures unseen, and I needed to see more. This film originally came into existence in 1986 I was just six years old, so I clearly had some growing up to do before I could take in its audacity, but once I did…my outlook completely changed.

Nola Darling, the films lead, had this big bed with candles lining the headboard dripping down onto its wood frame, creating the effect of luminescent wonder. When does she burn these candles? Only when she’s alone, or only when she is not? Could I do that to my bed? Would my mom be okay with that? “Like, seriously mom, come on, its just a visual representation of my angst…let me do it!” That’s what I would have said, had I ever worked up the courage to ask if I could have a mountain of seductiveness arched atop my beds headboard. 

I wanted to be her; she was a juxtaposition of every emotion and desire I needed to express, but couldn’t. I watched the film over and over again until I reached an age where I can fully absorb her feminism. Nola had an around not give a shit what anyone else thinks attitude, I was dying to posses. Nola was a black woman not being portrayed as a crack addict, prostitute, the sassy best friend, or the babysitter. This film starred other black people, but above all Nola was the star, sex symbol, and independent woman all the men around her wanted. This was an anomaly and I was, and still am here for all of it.

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Maintaining friendships as an adult has proven to be difficult for me. Mentally cataloging the varied people who have moved in and out of my life during my adulthood is exhausting. At times I struggle to wrap my head around why someone is no longer in my life. I also find myself simultaneously grateful certain people have exited my life. The older I get, the more I realize just how complicated adult friendships can be. So, why are adult friendships so hard?

There have been a myriad of friends who are no longer present in my life. From the girlfriends I partied with, the friends I picked up after a big break-up, and people resurrected from my high school days. Not one single individual from those groups are currently apart of my life, and I don’t miss them…at all.

In elementary school I had one friend, Summer. We spent our weekends together, and would talk on the phone all night after school. As kids, our friendship revolved around each other and was distraction free. Admittedly, New Kids on the Block were a huge second in our lives, but we put our friendship first. In adulthood, those days no longer exist.

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Lately, I have been struggling with major feelings of inadequacy. While I always try to remain positive in this space, I wouldn’t be keeping it real if I didn’t put this struggle out there. Have you ever felt like no matter what you do its not enough? That everyone in life is headed into the right direction, but you are veering far from center? Maybe you are experiencing an emotional lack, or grappling with what move to make next in your life.

The onslaught of the feelings of inadequacy washed over me last year and I have yet to fully shake its effects on me. As a thirty something single woman struggling to make it as a writer and actor in a business saturated with…well…writers and actors, for months now I have felt behind on everything. As if my life is not progressing at the speed in which it should. My best friend owns a home, has a life partner, two kids and a dog. My long time male friend is married with a child and just moved into a home. I feel like everyone is moving forward and I am just barely treading water.

I moved back home to help my dad when he fell ill after my mom died, and I feel like he is progressing more than me in life! He has a girlfriend and I promise you also has a more active social life than I do! What the hell am I doing wrong, I constantly ask of myself. At times, I think my effort is pointless. Feeling as though I am screaming into a void, and no one will ever notice.

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We’re Leaving Toxic People in 2018

Here’s what we are not going to do in the New Year: allow toxic people to reside in the mental, physical and emotional sacred spaces of our lives. We are letting them all go. Yes, all of them. They are not going to change, we cannot fix them-nor is it our duty to-and they do not deserve to hold a place in psyche any longer.

Letting go of toxic people can be extremely easy or incredibly hard. I find there are the two extremes and really not much wiggle room in-between them. I am the former. Excluding toxic people from my narrative has become so damn easy the older, wiser, and more impatient to bullshit I become.

This year I dealt with extreme narcissism, sexism, and backstabbing. It was incredible! In this particular situation, I worked with these people and had stay in it until my committed time came to an end. After I separated myself I then became the subject of their attacks. It fazed me for a minute then I realized just how sad, insecure, and hateful they have to feel about themselves and their lives to behave so toxic. 

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Los Angeles, California is an oasis. From our beaches, to downtown, the snowy mountaintops, and everything in-between we pretty much have it made here. At least that’s how it seems to so many on the outside looking in. As a Los Angeles native I’ve become somewhat of a unicorn around these here parts. Every new person I meet has relocated here chasing the all to familiar dream: FAME. As an actor and writer I understand the desire and incredible pull that Los Angeles has. I mean we are home to Hollywood, Sony, Warner Brothers, and countless other studios. All of the best agents are here from WME to CCA and literally thousands of others.

Los Angeles is shiny, glittery and sparkles at night. The Hollywood sign sits on a mountainside you can see from pretty much every popular hiking trail. It’s elusive, inviting and has an incredible backstory that fills you with hope that maybe one day, no someday you will tell your own unbelievable backstory about how you, “made it.” Driving down the palm tree lined streets of Beverly Hills, Hollywood and the like, you often see the TMZ bus shuttling along tourists with their cell phones and cameras in hand. I swear you can literally see the stars in their eyes. They are so hopeful.

They don’t see the drug addicted and homeless lining downtowns Skid Row, no, they see all of the Instagram worthy pics from their favorite youtube sensation in real life, and think that polished exterior is what LA has to offer. The tour bus doesn’t show them the all of the homeless Angelenos that sleep on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and the other hopefuls who perform there day and night with a bucket out for tips. They also don’t see the overworked, underpaid, and mostly immigrant nannies who walk around Beverly Hills with little white kids in tow. That’s the thing about LA…its the most beautiful illusion you’ll ever experience. Continue reading


Emotional Baggage: we all have it and some of us struggle with how to deal with it. When we enter into relationships we want to be able to unpack it all, dump it in our partners lap, and have them find the proverbial matching socks. Emotional fortitude does not come easily and depending on the environment we are raised in, is something many of us may learn as adults, which makes it even harder.

Last week I was in a room with a man and a woman who got into a heated discussion about dating, relationships, and emotional baggage. I sat listening to these two very emotional beings spar with each other. She, defending her beliefs and he determined to prove his exactitude. He used every tactic to sway her, from quoting the Bible to playing upon her emotions as she became more and more defensive. His take, ‘a woman should be a man’s solace. When he comes home from battling the day, he doesn’t want to come home and battle you too.’ Her take, ‘a woman should not be expected to just take/deal with all of your bullshit.’  Continue reading