Joshua “Zeke” Thomas is a TV host, DJ, producer, and activist from Detroit, Michigan. Though he’s a sort of jack of all trades, Zeke is probably best-known for his activism surrounding mental health and sexual assault awareness. His latest project, a streamable show called Amplify Voices, was created this past summer at the height of the anti-racism movement and the annual LGBTQ+ pride celebration with the goal of achieving more diversity in mainstream media.
The conversational series focuses on embracing queer and BIPOC intersectionality, and brings together athletes, entertainers, politicians, activists, and other important voices to engage in discussions about the issues faced by these communities. In its first season, the show was picked up by Revry, the world’s first and only LGBTQ+ digital cable network. Amplify Voices premiered at the 2020 QueerX Festival, where Zeke was honored with the festival’s Visibility Award, and will be available for free on demand via Revry TV on December 11th.
Among the topics discussed throughout the first season of the show are the experiences of queer artists in sports, the journey of black women in the beauty industry, and, most recently, the continued fight for inclusion in the cannabis industry. The final episode, titled “Queer Cannabis,” highlights how the LGBTQ+ community was at the forefront of weed legalization in the US, despite a distinctive lack of representation in the industry today.
Moderated by Willie Mack, the episode featured Zeke, Laganja Estranja, CJ Wallace, Tracey Mason and James Barnes as panelists. Their conversation extended beyond just the need for queer representation in the cannabis industry, but also the barriers it presents for women and people of color — and especially people who check more than one of these boxes.
When asked what we can all do to make the cannabis sphere a more inclusive community as a whole, Zeke said, “The war on cannabis has imprisoned, enslaved, and eliminated many of my brothers and sisters from our society. The greatest thing we can do as individuals is keep calling it out.”
In the past year, Zeke has also broken into the CBD industry alongside his father, Isiah Thomas. Zeke serves as Chief Marketing Officer for ISIAH International, which announced its partnership with Colorado-based CBD company Vesl Oils last February. Isiah Thomas is CEO and Vice-Chairman of One World Pharma, a fully licensed global supplier of raw cannabis and hemp ingredients. According to the company’s website, their mission is to offer a reliable and sustainable supply chain for chemical formulators, food and beverage producers, as well as beauty product manufacturers worldwide.
This summer, One World Pharma partnered with a subsidiary of ISIAH International, Isiah Automotive, to develop hemp-based alternatives to plastic for the automotive industry. “Seeing the shift toward sustainable products has brought ISIAH International into the forefront of the hemp space by working with some major fashion brands and car manufacturers,” Zeke said.
Though he did not disclose what’s on the horizon for ISIAH International, we can only hope that the company will continue to form partnerships and invest in the cannabis community.
Zeke’s favorite weed
In addition to being a forward-thinking entrepreneur in the cannabis industry, Zeke is passionate about sharing his love for the plant and its ability to empower people. As he said in the “Queer Cannabis” episode, “This is a plant that’s for everyone and for whatever reason it’s being shaped, and hopefully we can stop this, into a plant for the elite.”
Despite being so busy with multiple projects at any given time, what remains at the forefront of Zeke’s mind is social progress. When asked what’s next for him, he shared, “I recently stepped into the studio so I’m excited to continue to make music, but mainly I want to keep encouraging people to exercise their right to vote and to continue to move this country forward!”
Check out the products Zeke can’t live without right now.
If you’re a glass connoisseur, you’ve probably heard of Illadelph. The company is known for their high-end glass pieces that are as functional as they are artistic, particularly their bongs. “I know anytime I see a friend with an Illadelph they know how to do it right.”
“I’m a fan of Tauri Gum right now. It’s a vegan, kosher and Halal-certified gum that my friends Willie Mack and CJ Wallace put me on.” The gum is also gluten-free, THC-free, and comes in a variety of tasty flavors like pomegranate, lemon peach, and pear bellini.
Zeke’s top strain right now is a classic: Headband. “Mixing OG Kush and Sour Diesel is just perfect!” he said. “My relationship with cannabis has gone from ‘let’s get super high’ to ‘let’s medicate.’ Whether it’s a bong for my creativity or a vape for my anxiety, I’m just excited to continue to learn what helps my body.”
Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps