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Friday, July 1, 2022

When Love and Work Mix: A Blended Baltimorean Family in the Making

On-air personality and celebrity DJ, Jay Claxton is a vibrant Baltimorean who is embracing fatherhood from a blended perspective. The biological father of two reflected on being a student who attended Northern High School, while growing up in northeast Baltimore, with a backdrop of old school turntables and tape decks. Claxton told The Baltimore Times that he was able to be heard on radio in his hometown for 19 years, SiriusXM, and other radio stations. Although Claxton feels that making strides in “his career is his biggest (career) accomplishment,” the pandemic did not prevent him from making a personal win. He became engaged to an ambitious mother of three named CaSandra Vaughn (Dr. Casay Vaughn). 

One conversation with Claxton and his future wife makes it easy to observe parallels in their lives. Vaughn was reared in that northwest part of Baltimore. The pair met years ago and reconnected in 2016, since a few of their children attended a mutual school. Vaughn has worked in television and radio. The Franchise Group—which houses various businesses— is owned and operated by Claxton and his “media maven.” Vaughn and Claxton mixed business and pleasure, but it worked out.

“It started with her (Vaughn) becoming my business partner. She met my kids early on,” Claxton said, explaining that his daughter and son were with him often. 

The partners fell into a pattern of helping each other out, despite living in two different households. These days, Claxton coparents with his 10-year-old daughter’s mother, while also building a future with Vaughn, who has been actively involved with Claxton’s kids over time. Vaughn was quick to mention that Claxton had immersed himself in her children’s lives, too. 

Jay Claxton’s son, James Claxton IV, and Claxton’s daughter, TylerJae, middle, appear with their father, Jay Claxton, right.
Courtesy photo

“There wasn’t one pivotal moment. It was just who he was,” Vaughn said.

Claxton has conversations with her son, Caleel, and steps up to fill in gaps where a woman cannot. 

“Caleel is 16, and Caleel needs a male role model,” Vaughn said. “As much as Jay talks about what I’ve done for his kids, Jay was the person who was at my daughter’s college graduation. Jay is the person who is heavily in my grandson’s life. Jay is the person… who makes a heavy presence in my son’s life.” 

But accolades are not just voiced by Vaughn. Caleel said that he does not want to put a lot of pressure on his elderly grandfather. The teenager added that talking on the phone to Claxton is enjoyable. “Mr. Jay” has already been acting like a dad for years, according to Caleel.

“He’s like a role model, because… I barely have… any man to talk to,” Caleel said.

Crystal Fox-Thomas, Dr. CaSandra Vaughn’s daughter, celebrated graduation from Clark Atlanta University in 2021. Jay Claxton, right, supports her during the milestone.
Photo credit – Dr. CaSandra Vaughn

Vaughn also mentioned that Claxton and her adult daughter have a good relationship. Vaughn knew that Claxton would be a great father figure, while observing the father in action who attended mid-day school assemblies and participated in “Daddy Donut Day.” 

“If a person is that involved in their own lives, why would I think he wouldn’t be involved in mine?” Vaughn said.

Claxton and Vaughn stay on the move at home and at work. Franchise Radio is another endeavor. Week End Therapy, is a wrap up of the week with live guests. It is available on Franchise TV—which is a “global streaming network.” According to Vaughn, the couple partnered with former professional boxer, Evander Holyfield, to make content available through his platform called Airy TV. 

Regardless of success’ demands, Claxton’s time is given to the collective mix of older and young kids, his fiancée, and even individuals in the community. He and Vaughn quietly partner with others to distribute food, toy drives, and give back to others. Nevertheless, home obligations remain a priority.

Jay Claxton and his daughter, Tyler Jae share a tender moment while Claxton gets his daughter for graduation.
Courtesy photo

“I just do what I what I have to do. If the kids are in need, we’ve got to handle that. My parents help out,… her parents help out. We just make it work. It’s something that… I tell CaSandra all the time, sometimes we come up with challenges, but none of it is going to kill us,” Claxton said. “A lot of times we put more strain and stress on us about a situation than there has to be. Regardless of what happens, Lord willing, we’re going to see the next day. The situation is not going to make us perish.”

While juggling life’s demands, the father still finds joy in observing the development of children. Even when COVID made life bumpier, Claxton mentally viewed it as “a blessing.”  

“That’s the only way you really live is when you take a chance,” Claxton said.

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