Ja’Mel Ware

My day job is founder and CEO of Intellectual Ratchet (IR), which is an entertainment company founded to engage minority communities, build cross-cultural relationships and embrace the (seeming) dichotomy of being intellectually curious and attracted to the urban environment. I first came up with the idea after attending a party hosted by Social X in Milwaukee. It started as professional networking and ended up as a hip-hop dance party. I was fascinated by the fact that we had a room of well-educated, community-oriented professionals who were aware of and comfortable with the many facets of who they were, and wondered why we didn’t have something like this in Madison. I look at IR as a way to build connections and, hopefully, effect change. If we can’t play together and get to know one another, how will we ever improve things?

My most memorable caffeine would be my first espresso. A friend took me to Bradbury’s Coffee and I decided to try an espresso shot. I remember that I started bouncing and was literally twirling in my chair saying to my friend, “I’ve never had an espresso shot before!” Thankfully it’s been uphill from there. My second most memorable caffeine might be today’s. I was on a three-month coffee fast—my very health-conscious girlfriend thought I was getting a little too addicted to caffeine and suggested I take a break. In honor of today’s interview I decided to have my first Red Eye (two shots of espresso in a regular coffee) in a long time and I feel quite productive!

 My current caffeine of choice is either double shots of espresso or a Red Eye. I like to have it with a glass of seltzer, which is how Bradbury’s serves it.

My favorite place for caffeine is Barriques on Park St. They have the friendliest staff, relaxing environment and I know I’ll always see someone I know there.

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my mother, who died when I was 15. She was ill and always knew she would die young and tried to prepare me for that. I’d like to be able to talk to her, know that she was proud of me. And I’d also like to ask her so many things that you don’t think to ask when you’re a teenager. If I could have coffee with someone famous, I’d pick Jay-Z. He’s one of my idols. I feel like we have a similar backstory—rising from the bottom and striving for something better. I’m not saying that my goal is to be a mogul like he is, but I do want to show black youth that it’s possible to work hard, to grow and change and have a better life.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  is the state of education. Education creates pride in yourself and gives you the tools to be self-sustaining and to take care of your family and your community. If we could have education that was truly equal, I believe we’d have fewer issues, less racism and a more productive society. I think we could become the country we know we’re capable of being.