Celebrity DJ, Producer, Sexual Assault Awareness Advocate & TV Host
Joshua ‘Zeke’ Thomas is the embodiment of perseverance. The Detroit native inherited this valuable trait from his father, NBA Hall of Fame point guard, Isiah Thomas. That passion and the unyielding drive to achieve greatness is in his DNA and has been exemplified and encouraged since birth. It’s what fueled Zeke’s diverse endeavors - from becoming a renowned open-format DJ to a sought after MC/Host, a dedicated Human Rights and Mental Health Awareness Advocate to a forward-thinking businessman. It also helped him overcome mountainous obstacles as a rape survivor and mental health awareness advocate, and set him on an undeniable path to make a real impact.
His first passion-turned-profession was music. According to Zeke, “Music surrounded me my whole life. Growing up in Detroit, the heart of Motown, it was ingrained in everything. I had always enjoyed singing and dancing, but when my cousin let me play around with his turntables, that was the moment it became something more. After I got my own set I started to get really into it.”
As an in-demand DJ, Zeke has shared the stage with and performed for celebrities including Diana Ross, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Michelle Obama, and Cher. For multiple years he was welcomed as an Official NBA All-Star DJ, even spinning a few events with Shaquille O’Neal (aka DJ Diesel behind the decks). He’s been broadcast into homes across the country, performing on Good Morning America, Arise360 TV, Sirius XM, and has been featured on VH1 producing for Lala’s Full Court Life cast member and friend, Po Johnson.
While he was developing his skills and evolving as a DJ, Zeke was also producing his own music. His releases include debut single “REGRET” with celebrity friends Taryn Manning, Fatman Scoop, and Kira Dikhtyar starring in the video and timeless club banger “#ByeFelicia”. In addition to making dancefloor-ready jams, Zeke also created deeply personal, therapeutic tracks including “BLACKNESS” featuring Chuck D and Jasiri X which PAPER Magazine dubbed “the civil rights anthem for the EDM generation," and his post-trauma healing singles “Dealin’ With It” and “Love Me Sober”.
Though Zeke’s highs have been mighty high, he’s also experienced incredible lows. In April 2017 he bravely appeared on Good Morning America to share his most painful experience, the story of his sexual assault, with host Robin Roberts. When asked why he chose to disclose that to the world he shared, “I decided to go public because I wanted to be heard. I had the opportunity to be heard on the largest platform and I took it. I was not prepared for everything that would follow, but I have been able to heal and become a voice for many others like me so the journey has been worth it.”
Since that fateful day Zeke has found healing pouring himself further into the issue and fighting for change. He became the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s first male spokesman, appearing in a national PSA ahead of the ME TOO Movement openly and courageously as a survivor and leader. Zeke's mission to break stigmas surrounding sexual assault trauma and encouraging other survivors is echoed in his interviews with MTV News, Access Hollywood, Billboard, Buzzfeed, NY Magazine, The Advocate, Teen Vogue, Paper Magazine, and other reputable media outlets. He’s taken the discussion all over his new homestate of New York, traveling to college campuses with SUNY’s Got Your Back program speaking out in support of survivors of sexual violence. Zeke also spoke at the NEXUS Global Youth Summit and helped Congress draft policy around HBCU Title IX to ensure that historically Black institutions can effectively support sexual-assault survivors and resolve instances of sexual misconduct on campuses. And for the past three years had the honor of DJing Vice President Joe Biden’s Courage Awards presented by Its On Us - an initiative of the Obama-Biden White House to combat college sexual assault by engaging young men and changing campus culture.
His success in music, bravery in the face of emotional adversity, and magnetic charisma led to hosting opportunities including Fuse TV and MTV’s Catfish, and speaking engagements as an advocate, activist, and influencer. Channelling his healing into helping others and championing issues that are close to his heart, Zeke has aligned with organizations including ACLU, The Ally Coalition, GLAAD, The Jed Foundation, the NoH8 Campaign, among others. Zeke reflects, “Activism is in my family. Not making my voice heard or speaking up for injustice just isn’t in my DNA.” He further explained, “What ignited my passion was that I didn’t see people who looked like me in those spaces speaking on experiences that I had or would share. “
His dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed. In 2018 Zeke was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for ‘Outstanding TV Journalism Segment’ for his Good Morning America interview and for The Queerties ‘Rebel With A Cause’ award. That year he was also celebrated at NYC Pride as a Community Leader and bestowed with the The Ruth Ellis Center’s Youth Impact Award alongside The Ally Coalition (GRAMMY-winning recording artists Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost) and Emmy and Tony Award winning actor Billy Porter. Zeke’s work, impact, and recognition continues, he will be honored at the upcoming 2020 QueerX Festival with their Visibility Award.
Throughout Zeke’s journey he also utilized his talents in a myriad of business ventures and partnerships, formerly serving as Co-Founder and VP of Marketing at crowdMGMT and consulting for many notable organizations including the New York Knicks, New York Liberty, Ciroc, Hot97, and The United Nations. Zeke then took up a role as Chief Marketing Officer and Partner at his father’s holding company ISIAH International, helping to lead the acquisition of Cheurlin Champagne and Colorado-based cannabis company VESL OILS. Zeke shares, “I have always worked with my father but the first experience being launching Cheurlin Champagne here in the states. Building that brand. Designing the color scheme to designing marketing plans has been a great joy to now be the fastest growing and only African American owned champagne brand. Then to pivot into CBD, something both myself and my family have turned to for healing and medicinal uses, it’s something I’m excited to continue pursuing.”
Having accomplished so much in his career already, Zeke is looking forward to the evolution of his diverse interests and passions. He’ll carry on carving out his own path and finding new ways to enact change and impact people. He divulges, ”I’m excited to continue DJing and exploring various business endeavors. I’m also extremely passionate about getting into politics and public policy, plus I’m developing a few properties for television and aligning with more organizations, so expect something big to come very soon.”