On Saturday, Feb. 25, Tougaloo College had the honor and privilege to host Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, an Emmy-nominated African American stuntwoman and actor. She presented a workshop based on her rise in the film industry. Adams-Ginyard came to Tougaloo as part of a series of presentations curated by Aunjanue Ellis to expose HBCU students to film industry careers that are highly-skilled and are indispensable to movie-making. Ellis is a Tougaloo alum and multi-award nominee in the film industry.
Adams-Ginyard is a celebrated Hollywood industry participant who is accomplished as a stuntwoman, actor, professional wrestler, radio personality, and motivational speaker. Her presentation was so intriguing that Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen Walters could not resist attending to learn and see first-hand what the Emmy-nominated personality had to share.
Adams-Ginyard arrived sporting the Tougaloo College colors with her red, white, and blue eyeshadow, blue sports leisurewear, and accented blue hair braids. She began her presentation with a stunt reel depicting her work on several notable films including Marvel’s Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Lovecraft Country, Behind The Danger Door, and True Blood. Throughout the presentation, she explained her tasks, preparation, and execution of the action scenes and detailed each movement with visual graphics that drew her audience to the edge of their seats. The excitement reverberated throughout the historic Woodworth Chapel due to its exceptional acoustics.
Adams-Ginyard periodically interrupted her stunt reel to answer audience questions and to provide explanations of what each stunt entailed. She explained safety precautions imperative to completing each stunt and the behind-the-scenes previsualization steps required before any stunt is attempted. She made it clear, “I’m a professional stuntwoman performer not a daredevil,” noting the distinct difference between the two. “If I am scared, I won’t do the stunt, but it’s okay if I just have a few butterflies; butterflies are good. They keep me focused and concentrating on the task.”
Additionally, she displayed a table full of her work equipment and explained how and why each piece is utilized in her profession as a stuntwoman. The topic of “Face Replacement Technology” was particularly interesting to the audience. Adams-Ginyard disclosed how the technology can be used to put the face of someone else on her body as she works as a stunt double. “For a longtime in my career, I did a lot of stunt double work, but then I realized I needed to do my own stunt work.”
Not only did Adams-Ginyard tell her story, but she encouraged audience participation. Two Tougaloo students – Kaitlin Myricks, a 21-year-old Mass Communications & Performance Studies major, and Noah Tate, a 26-year-old Mass Communications major – assisted her on stage for real-life stunt demonstrations.
The students simulated two different action gestures while donning professional stunt gear. Both students appeared eager but wore hesitant facial expressions. However, the students proceeded with caution and anticipation as they were expertly guided through each maneuver. They were completely amazed as they executed the stunt performances. Each student volunteer was graciously gifted a Wakanda T-shirt by Adams-Ginyard at the end of her presentation.
President Walters gave closing remarks, thanking Adams-Ginyard for coming to Tougaloo and providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her students. She also thanked her for allowing them to be immersed in a world she is a part of and paving the way for them to possibly make their own history in the film industry right here in Mississippi. Several of the students were given signed Wakanda posters by Adams-Ginyard as keepsakes and were allowed to be photographed with her to document the event.
Janeshia Adams-Ginyard was born on February 14th in Los Angeles, CA to pianist/organist Sidney Ginyard and Xerox senior accountant Gwendolyn Adams-Williams, a Tougaloo presser stated. She is of Jamaican descent and attendedGahr High School in Cerritos, CA, graduating with high honors. She was voted most athletic and holds the school record in the 300m hurdles.
Janeshia is an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and minor in African-American Studies with an emphasis on Caribbean Culture. She was a brakeman for the 2006-2007 US National Bobsled team and host of the popular radio show, “Lady J’s Wild World of Sports.” In 2012, Janeshia was cast by WOW Women of Wrestling co-owners David McLane and Jeanie Buss to play the character Frost the Olympian, based off her real-life experience as a bobsledder. Janeshia is fluent in American Sign-Language and trained in Taekwondo. She is the CEO/President of Hyphy 4 Christ, Inc., an entertainment company that is dedicated to inspire, encourage, and motivate through faith-based content. On July 13, 2021, it was announced that Janeshia was nominated for a Primetime
Emmy Award in the new category of Outstanding Stunt Performance for her work on the HBO series, Lovecraft Country. And on November 10, 2021, she became a member of the SAG-AFTRA National Stunt Committee.