Jazlyn Guerra. Photo: Jose Farley / Instagram: @shotbyjose

When BK Reader catches up with 11-year-old Jazlyn Guerra after school this week, she’s on her way to interview a celebrity sportsperson.

She can’t say who — we’ll have to wait and see — but the Bushwick school student, kid reporter and host of Jazzy’s World TV is diligently practicing her questions on the 45 minute drive to the interview.

“I’m feeling very excited, and I think that I’m prepared, but of course I have to practice even harder,” she said.

Three weeks ago the budding talk show host managed to secure one of the most coveted interviews in showbiz with one of her idols, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

Jazlyn Guerra interviews Jay-Z. Photo: Luis De Hoyos

The Brooklyn-born media mogul is famously private, only doing a handful of interviews and on his own terms. But when Jazzy stopped him outside one of his New York offices recently, he made an exception.

The resulting interview is a conversation where Jay-Z drops knowledge about what keeps him grinding, and how other kids Jazzy’s age can be as successful as him.

The videos were posted to Instagram just as Jay-Z was promoting his new movie, and have since had more than 300,000 views on the platform, catapulting Jazzy to another level.

Jazzy said the interview was her favorite so far.

“He inspires me to work hard and to try my best to be successful, especially as successful as him, and inspires other kids to work hard too…. he’s also from Brooklyn and a similar neighborhood as mine,” she said.

At the same time, the interview shows how Jazzy is already hustling like Jay Z to make things happen. The week before, Jazzy and her doting dad Luis DeHoyos had been to the office to try for an interview, but there were a lot of other people there.

“I don’t think he realised that she said hi, she’s so small, but he gave her a fist bump,” DeHoyos said. “He’s not obligated to do anything, that’s what I always told her. I said, look, we gotta go back. I gotta take care of of this for Jazzy.”

Jazlyn Guerra interviews Nas. Photo: Luis De Hoyos

Luckily they did, as the next attempt has become Jazzy’s biggest get so far.

“You can’t just try one time and not get your way and cry about it,” Jazzy said.

“You have to keep trying again and again, they’re the celebrity, I know they have a busy schedule sometimes you know.”

Sometimes you can try your best, and it just doesn’t work out.

One time Jazzy asked to do an interview with LeBron James, but he told her he was on the phone with his mom.

Jazlyn Guerra interviews Kodak Black. Photo: Luis De Hoyos

“I don’t really believe that,” she laughs. “When he walked past, his phone was off and when he tapped it it didn’t turn on.”

“It doesn’t really bother me… but you don’t got to lie to a child, just say, ‘Sorry I don’t have time right now, maybe I can come back tomorrow.”

Jazzy did her first interview in 2019. As a family with five children, they often went to sports games together, and DeHoyos often got access for the kids to meet the sports players.

Jazzy was always “very charismastic,” DeHoyos said, and seeing other kids reach high levels of success through YouTube, they thought why not try it themselves.

“We thought, we have a microphone, we have access to these athletes, let’s ask questions they don’t normally get asked,” DeHoyos said.

“She generates a realm where she can ask questions that adults wont ask, it’s from a kid’s perspective.”

After her first interview with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Jazzy has gone on to interview rap artists Nas, 50 Cent and Kodak Black, entrepreneur Daymond John, Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson, Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and many more.

“After the first interview about two years ago it’s been a slow grind, but I tell her to stay consistent,” DeHoyos said.

DeHoyos is a mental health therapist who works mainly with clients in Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Crown Heights and Flatbush.

However, he was previously in the music industry, which gives him some of his know-how to have Jazzy in the right place at the right time. The details of how Jazzy and DeHoyos know how to find the celebrities is a secret, though.

“We make it happen,” DeHoyos said. “I have contacts and do my own research, we connect the dots.”

Right now, Jazzy is hoping to get a platform off social media to present the kids’ perspective. There’s been talks with networks, and Jazzy is trying to build and expand her brand, even covering local Brooklyn issues.

“I wanna be a kid host of my own show where I get to talk about different kids’ topics. I want people to know kids also have their own opinions and really have voices.”

Jazlyn Guerra. Photo: Jose Farley / Instagram: @shotbyjose

Recently, she took to the streets of Bushwick to get kids’ perspectives on the COVID-19 vaccine for five to 12-year-olds.

“In certain neighborhoods you’ll go into the school system and see there’s not many resources in communities of color. I want to start tapping into those questions,” DeHoyos said.

Jazzy, who is Afro-Latina and spent ages 1 to 3 in Panama, has already touched on equality issues in her interviews with Jay-Z, Daymond John and Nas.

She asked John how kids with minority backgrounds could be successful like him, spoke to Nas and Kodak Black about growing up in public housing, and heard from Jay-Z that he stays motivated by remembering he is doing it “for a whole culture of people.”

Jazlyn Guerra interviews entrepreneur Daymond John. Photo: Luis De Hoyos

Her favorite interviews after Jay-Z have been the interview with Jackson and the one with Ocasio-Cortez, because she “was nice and very respectful and bent down to eye level,” treating Jazzy like an adult.

In the future, she hopes to interview President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bruno Mars, and actors Tom Holland and Zendaya.

“I just have to see when they come to New York, once they come here I have to contact them and see if they’re able to do an interview with me,” she said.

Photo: Luis DeHoyos

A year from now, Jazzy may very well have her own network show for kids. But one thing’s for sure: like many of the famous Brooklynites who have come before, she won’t be forgetting where she came from.

“I love how diverse Brooklyn is, I love how all the people here are very nice and very caring and they make sure to donate a lot of money, especially towards schools, and they love taking care of their neighborhoods,” she said.

“We have a powerful community.”

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Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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