NEW YORK – Popular social media influencer and former Judge Torkwase Sekou -aka Judge T- is the latest celebrity client to join the roster of David Heron’s New York based public relations entity, Sure Thing PR.
Sekou, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, was controversially denied bench tenure by current Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie during his governorship of New Jersey in 2012. She has subsequently carved out a role for herself in the social media space as an influencer, fashionista, legal pundit and Afro American cultural activist. Heron and Sure Thing PR will be managing all her public relations and publicity related endeavors including speaking engagements, media appearances, event hosting opportunities and several of her future projects currently in development.
Sekou joins a glittering array of artists and professionals currently represented by Heron’s company for publicity, including award winning actress Aixa Kendrick (AMC TV’s Walking Dead- Dead City), actor Marcos James (HBO’s Game Of Thrones), actress and model Miranda Melhado (From Yard – The Series), actor Osondu Thambo (upcoming feature Third Week), actress and singer Dianne Dixon, (upcoming short Caribbean Queen), singer and musician Elijah Rocq, gospel artist Jenieve Hibbert (daughter of reggae legend Toots Hibbert), Emmy nominated television and film producer/director Randy Simon and award winning fashion and costume designer Raxann Chin.
According to Sekou “I’m honored to be joining David, his team and a family of such excellent and accomplished individuals in this new phase of my career journey. I may still be Judge T- but the robes are now off. I’m finally free to say and do as I choose. And that’s a lot. So brace yourselves!”
Torkwase (pronounced TOR- KWA- SAY) Sekou was born and raised Sherie Lynn Jackson in Asbury Park, New Jersey. During her childhood she travelled to several African countries with her parents and at age 21, had a new traditional and legal name change to Torkwase (Queen) Sekou (Warrior)- names bestowed on her by elders. By her own admission, she took a fascinating and circuitous route into the legal profession thereafter.
Champion For Less Privileged
Her passion for being a champion of the less privileged began upon completion of her undergraduate studies at Kean University, where she attained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Special Education, Speech and Hearing Science. She began her career in the New Jersey City Public School System as a Special Education Teacher working with autistic and hard of hearing children. Inspired by the tenacity of her students, she went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Education and Deafness Rehabilitation from New York University.
The sudden death of her father in 1985, complicated by his continuous struggle to receive the health benefits to which he was legally entitled, proved to be the turning point in her professional life. It lead to her decision to become an advocate in order to fight for justice through the court system.
Following her graduation from Seton Hall University Law School in Newark, she embarked on what would ultimately become a two decade plus legal career, beginning as a clerk to her mentor, the Honorable Shirley A.Tolentino- the first African American female Judge in the State of New Jersey. She would eventually rise to the position of Essex County Public Defender, a position she held for fourteen years before being appointed to the Superior Court in 2005 by acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey.
Then, seven years later, with three days to go before what should have been the confirmation of her tenure to the Superior Court until retirement age, it all came crashing down when then Governor Christie denied her tenure due to- in Sekou’s words- “political wrangling.”
“There was a major conflict between Governor Christie and the New Jersey senate democrats regarding confirmations of a number of his judicial nominees at the time,” she recalls. “The democrats refused to approve some of his choices and he retaliated by refusing to grant my tenure. I found this out in a newspaper article that was published three days before my tenure would have been approved. I had no choice but to vacate my position and basically start over.”
In subsequent years she has returned to teaching, become a legal correspondent for television series such as For My Man and Fatal Attraction on TV One, and amassed nearly 60,000 facebook and tiktok followers across both platforms primarily due to the popularity of her Conversations with Judge T series on facebook.
She is now ready to expand her reach and horizons, after years of feeling constrained by her judge’s robes.
“For a long time even after I was no longer working as a judge, I was mentally hamstrung by the job and by what it had meant. But the America we are living in today requires that people stand up and say what’s on their minds, and I am really, REALLY ready to do that- in a number of ways and through a number of different platforms. So this exciting alliance with David and Sure Thing will facilitate that and I’m greatly looking forward to the collaboration.”
For Sure Thing CEO Heron – also an award winning playwright, producer and actor who is currently a nominee for the 2023 Broadway World Rhode Island Awards for his work in Shakespeare’s The Tempest – Judge T is exactly the client his company is looking for.
“We are a small Caribbean American PR company and the majority of our clients are of Jamaican or West Indian heritage,” he says. “But our expertise goes far beyond just those media markets and so we are very passionate about diversifying our client base. Judge T has a sparkling wit, a brilliant mind, a genuine glamour and a great set of ideas for how she wants to build her brand. We are here to facilitate all of that and so we are happy to welcome her aboard. She’s already an ‘Honorary Yardie’ from here on in.”
Sekou and Heron’s first major project together will be an as yet unannounced event that Sekou plans to produce for Black History Month in February of 2024.