About Jackson

Lebanese photographer Tanya Traboulsi’s ‘rooftop haircut series’ no. 6


Beats and Breath – The intersections of culture, politics and the everyday experience. The beats and breath of life.

Archivist, storyteller, reporter, filmmaker and broadcaster, Jackson Allers has focused the majority of his work on the subcultures of his surroundings. He has documented the plight of farm workers in rural North Carolina with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Coles (Duke University 1990-1994); advocated for the legal rights of the Roma population in Kosovo as the media adviser to the former Ombudsman, Marek Antoni Nowicki; created digital-audio archives for a book on ancient Bedouin stories in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and spent the better part of 25-years writing about and documenting independent arts and culture movements.

For the last 9-years, Jackson has been based in the Arab world (Beirut, Lebanon) where he has been reporting on politics, and the independent musical/art trends in the Arab world for clients like BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, VICE, National Public Radio, Red Bull Music Academy MagazineRed Flag Magazine, Audio Kultur, The National, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera English, and Radical Media – much of it published here on Beats and Breath.


Jackson’s narrative non-fiction piece – “Voice of the Streets: The Birth of Movement” – was licensed by Oxford University Press in July (2013) to be the 8th chapter to a new college textbook – Globalization: A Reader for Writers – that was printed in December and has begun making its way (8,000 copies) throughout North America (USA/Canada) as of January 2014. 

In June 2013, Jackson was tapped to be a co-host/co-producer of a new Red Bull Music Academy Radio show emanating from the Middle East once a month – called Quarter Tone Frequency, which is aimed at exposing the incredible independent music coming from 4 locales (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE). September 2014 will mark the end of the first season – with 12-more episodes scheduled for season 2 beginning in 2015. 

In early 2014, Jackson was selected by BBC Radio 4 to produce and host/present a long-format radio documentary about Arab rap. The documentary aired in May and was picked up by the BBC World Service and rebroadcast in September. It is the 2nd such documentary he’s been awarded and goes alongside his 30-MINUTE radio documentary about Arab hip-hop and the Arab revolutions he produced in 2011 calledRhymes and Revolution: Soundtrack to the Arab Spring,’ which aired on over 200 radio stations around the world. 

Over the last two years, Jackson’s own filmmaking has moved into new territory – having increased his own involvement as a director/producer with outlets such as VICE, Red Bull Music Academy, and through session video work with a host of up-and-coming musical artists.  In 2014, he signed up with a Red Bull musical opinion-maker – alternative electronic musician and multimedia artist Zahed Sultan – to produce a series of documentary treatments to coincide with Sultan’s 2014/2015 touring schedule for his second full length album and 6th musical release – Eye Am Sound. (Watch the 3rd film in the 3-part documentary short film series picked up by Red Bull USA that debuted in February.)

2015 began with Jackson assuming resident filmmaker status for the Beirut-based subculture/music magazine Audio Kultur. To date he has directed, produced and co-shot 3 short-documentaries and 1 music video for the magazine – with a 4th documentary-short due to be released in September 2015.

And in February, Jackson travelled to Jamaica to direct/shoot the documentary “Bedouin Beats to Reggae Roots” about the making of an album at the Tuff Gong Studios – home to the Marley family legacy. He was also chosen by Red Bull Media House and Red Bull Music Academy to direct and shoot the ‘making of’ the first ever Red Bull Music Academy in Kuwait Session (January 30-31) -which he also co-hosted for Red Bull Music Academy.


In 1996, Jackson co-founded the groundbreaking Los Angeles-based production company – Working Class Productions –  with the left coast’s most gifted purveyor of soul music  – Carlos Niño.

From 1996 – 2000, Jackson and Carlos put together some of the most seminal musical collaborations in LA-history – intergenerational events bridging the divides between hip-hop culture and the elders that made them – jumbled in with the new soul springing up in between. Think: Horace Tapscott, Billy Higgins, Pharoah Saunders, Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson, Gary Bartz, Les McCann, Eugene McDaniels, Derf Reklaw, Dwight Trible, Kamau Daáood, Terry Callier, Phil Ranelin, Charles Owens, Jessie Sharps, Dr. Art Davis, Leon Mobley, etc.  hip-hop generation DJ Prince Paul, The Original Scheme Team (Divine Styler & Cokni O’Dire), Saul Williams, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, DJ Nu-Mark, Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, The Beat Junkies (J-Rocc, DJ Babu), Anti-pop Consortium, BLK Sunshine, Rob Smith, Mike Ladd, Sonic Sum, Huge Voodoo, and the beat goes on…

Although Jackson turned to journalism full-time late in 2002, he has maintained his connections to his past as an events producer.


Publications/broadcast outlets featuring Jackson’s work:  The National, Le Monde, Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English “People and Power”, VICE Magazine, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Arte, Rolling Stone Magazine ME, Free Speech Radio News, Public Radio International, Interpress Service (IPS), The Project Syndicate, Menassat(dot)com, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Zawya Dow Jones, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Electronic Intifada, LA Weekly, Red Bull Music Academy Magazine, and Radical Media.

Beats and Breath has been featured in publications like TIME Magazine, The National, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Star (Lebanon), LA Times, MTV Iggy, and several regional culture websites. Television and radio appearances include interviews for Red Bull Music Academy Magazine, National Public Radio, Afropop Worldwide, Swedish TV, NDTV (India), CBC, Arte, France5, Pacifica Radio, Free Speech Radio News, Channel4, BBC, Re-Volt Radio, KPFT 90.1 Fm (Houston, Texas), KPFK 90.7 FM (LA, California), KPFA 94.1 FM (Berkeley, California), Radio du Liban 96.2 FM (Beirut, Lebanon), and several local Arab satellite TV channels.

Gil Scott-Heron,

14 thoughts on “About Jackson

  1. Beats and Breath is an excellent website. I noticed it by accident. Glad I did. Love reading about such interesting music coming from Middle East.

  2. Woah! Great content – who knew there was such independent art/music coming out of the region. Plus, I like the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appeal. I must say that you’ve done a excellent job with this. Outstanding Blog!

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