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‘JOE EXOTIC, THE TIGER KING’ CO-CREATOR JT BARNETT TRADES IN BIG CATS FOR BIG BEATS WITH NEW TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY ‘HOUSE INVASION’


Pictured are House Invasion cast memebers: Jonathan Hay & Sarah Rush (no photo credit)

House Invasion
 is a new television documentary by JT Barnett, a producer and director who helped create Joe Exotic – The Tiger King. This concept would go on to become the explosive docuseries, Tiger King, which captured the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, shattering Netflix records. Barnett also serves on the management team for Joe Exotic, the show’s controversial star who’s been publicly pleading for help from Cardi B and Kim Kardashian to get him out of prison.

JT Barnett has teamed up with Jonathan Hay a multi-platinum record industry veteran who’s known for his work with Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Death Row Records, and multiple artists from Eminem’s Shady Records to name just a few.

The title House Invasion is a play on words, the story of how a deeply disturbing event leads to a new career in house music, turning a negative experience into such a positive one.

It all starts with the horrific night of April 20th, 2017 when Jonathan Hay and his then 14-year-old daughter were attacked, pistol-whipped from behind, and forced into their home by gunmen. For over two hours they were assaulted and terrorized at gunpoint as the robbers ransacked the house looking for a safe. With his child knocked to the ground after being ambushed, Hay was then bound and duct-taped while the masked criminals kept going in and out of the house, filling up their car with Hay’s valuables like they were on a shopping spree. Three men have pleaded guilty to the violent robbery and kidnapping charges; two of those men are serving their plea deals, while the other one, his former neighbor, awaits sentencing in July of this year. 

While Hay was beaten and bound in a chair, he began to reflect on his life, he was certain he was going to die with his daughter that night. His thoughts turned to the violent nature of content such as music, film, and books that he had promoted for over a decade. Vowing to stray far from the negativity associated with that content, while pleading with God for his little girl and his life to be spared. Luckily, they made it out alive and he threw himself into work, desperately trying to escape the severe trauma.

Keeping his word with God, Hay began creating positive content that made an immediate impact in the Jazz music genre. He scored two back-to-back #1 Billboard albums on the Contemporary Jazz charts. A compilation album that he was working on before the home invasion with DJ Whoo Kid was released and it hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. He also produced a religious single that hit and raced up the Christian Music charts. At this point, his music producing career was red hot but his next move was set to be his biggest yet. Follow the Leader by Eric B. & Rakim is considered by many critics as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Released on July 26th, 1988, the classic LP put Rakim in the conversation of the greatest emcee’s of all time. Now, 31 years later, Hay recreated the entire album, Follow the Leader, re-imagined in the style of Jazz, and released it on July 26th, 2019, the same day as the original iconic release three decades prior.

As Forbes stated, “Hay did not expect to see the new Follow the Leader hit the #1 spot on the Billboard Jazz Charts, putting an end to the 38-week reign of Michael Bublé’sLove. After all, making a straight-up jazz record as popular as one of the world’s top heartthrobs is no small feat”. Follow the Leader remained on the Billboard charts for 11 weeks straight, giving Hay his third consecutive #1 Billboard Jazz release and also a distribution deal with the legendary label Fat Beats. Working on the Deluxe version of the #1 Billboard Jazz album with the legendary Eric B. & Rakim at Quad Studios, the infamous location where Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times. Whilst in New York, Jonathan met producer Sarah Rush and they set up shop in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, and started working with Leonardo Diaz and London based artist Natasha Odunubi from VICE. During this time, Jonathan and Sarah formed R.U.S.H Music – their exciting new house/techno label.

Early this year, Jonathan and Sarah spent some time working in Los Angeles and were lucky enough to get tickets to a sold-out Carl Cox show being held at LA City Hall. This was the first “rave” Jonathan had ever experienced. This night galvanized his outlook on life and he now tells everyone that after working in music his whole career and reaching acclaim in so many different genres, with house/techno, he finally feels at home. This would turn out to be one of Carl Cox’s last shows on his North America tour – as the unthinkable happened, the world went into lock-down due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Seemingly with everything stacked against them, including being separated by the Atlantic Ocean, Jonathan and Sarah found a way to work on upcoming music projects during these unprecedented times, and JT Barnetts’ House Invasion was born…

In a truly compelling moment of the television documentary, Jonathan is filmed meeting his biological father for the first time. Talk about a full-circle moment!

‘House Invasion’ is a true, vivid, real-life coming home party slated for release in September.

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