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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



MUSIC Business owner presenting 'Fight Song' charity concert
by Terri-Lynne Waldron

This article shared 5460 times since Wed Jan 20, 2016
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As a dancer, Jacob Leatherman has worked with top recording artists and the Hollywood elite. As the owner of BLOWN by bocaj ( Jacob spelled backwards ), Leatherman is calling the shots as a first-time business owner.

The philanthropic businessman is set to launch his first annual charity concert "Fight Song," an event that hopes to raise money and awareness for the #NeedYourLove campaign in addition to select charities. He talked with Windy City Times about the show—and the personal reason he relates to "Fight Song."

Windy City Times: Tell me about the time when you got a pair of dance shoes and a blow dryer for Christmas.

Jacob Leatherman: I did local theater and I worked for 13 years as a professional dancer, but when I was six my mom got me my first blow dryer and a pair of dance shoes for Christmas, which was kind of to the disapproval of my father. [Laughs] It a poignant memory or paints a picture of my adult life—both my career and what I've done with my life and who I am as a person—the artist, hairdresser and dancer combined.

WCT: Why were you given the blow dryer?

Jacob Leatherman: In first grade I woke up 45 minutes early so that I could perfect my hairdo, which was a high spikey wall around the edges of my hair. I would blow-dry it and make sure that it was in perfect place before I went to school.

WCT: Were you involved in dance when you were 6?

JL: I actually never took dance classes, I was in gymnastics as a young kid. My gymnastics teacher told my mom that she should give me some dance shoes. I never went into a dance class and I actually didn't take my first dance class until I was 17, and then I realized that it was something I loved. I took classes and trained for a year and a half and then I started working professionally when I was about 19.

WCT: Who are some of the artists that you have danced for?

JL: I worked with LeAnn Rimes for a while, Mariah Carey, Boys II Men and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I ended my career in Vegas with Donny and Marie Osmond.

WCT: You worked for the Bumble and bumble Chicago hairstyling team. How did you transition into that profession?

JL: I left Vegas [where I was dancing] and I moved back to L.A. I started working in the [Bumble and bumble] salon full-time and that was when I decided to make the transition to do hair full-time and then I moved to Chicago with my partner six years ago. The job that moved me out here was [designer] Tory Burch's fashion show. I had been styling and assisting one of my best friends in L.A. for a long time as I was dancing. But I had never really committed to working in a salon full-time.

WCT: BLOWNback is your charitable non-profit organization. Last July, you partnered with Special Olympics Chicago to do makeovers for the athletes.

JL: I've always known what I wanted to do personally and professionally and I also want to be a part of helping others out as well. One of my heroes as a woman is my cousin and, as a mom, she does so much. She has five kids and one is special needs.

WCT: You got married Sept. 7, 2014.

JL: We're no longer together. On Dec. 28 [of that year], he had a little bit of a meltdown.

I came home one night and he was gone, my dog was gone and all of my pieces of art on the wall were gone. The salon, the charity and the title and theme of this [Rachel Platten] song—"Fight Song"—is a testament to that. The life, as I knew it, was ripped away from me and I died inside a little bit and it took me about six to eight weeks [to recover]. I was going to take back the life that I wanted and make the dreams I always had a reality and do something for myself instead of doing it for someone else. That's kind of how the salon was birthed.

WCT: On Jan. 24, you will be presenting "Fight Song," a musical celebration of life and a way to raise money and awareness for the #NeedYourLove campaign as well as other select charities. The campaign—which was started by America's Got Talent finalist Branden James—encourages people to simply share love with one another. Some of the performers scheduled to appear will be the aforementioned James, Chicago artist's Jess Godwin, Meghan Murphy as well as Broadway actor Jelani Remy.

JL: I love when the arts and charities are involved with each other. I was in the industry for so long that I have so many amazingly talented friends who also love to do things like give back to the community. My struggle is no different than anyone else's and it's kind of the idea that we all struggle so as long as we can fight together, then everything will be okay.

The "Fight Song" charity cabaret concert will be held at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway, on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. For ticket information and to find out more about BLOWN by bocaj, visit .

See related coverage at the link: .

This article shared 5460 times since Wed Jan 20, 2016
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