Public Relations/ Freelance On-Site Event Management and Assistance Successes
Chris Webber’s Bada Bling Weekend (Las Vegas, July 2006/2007/2008)
I managed a fleet of cars and drivers from the airport to Caesar’s Palace July 2006 and July 2007 and to Planet Hollywood July 2008. I coordinated celebrity/VIP arrivals from the airport to the hotel venue as well as transportation offsite. In addition to drivers, I had a small volunteer staff. Entertainment also fell under my auspices. I coordinated the arrivals and departures of Raphael Saadiq and his band as well as The Isley Brothers and their band in addition to Howard Hewett and Teena Marie. In many cases, members were flying from various destinations. In some cases, buses were needed, which required additional negotiations. For two years, Cadillac served as an official sponsor and provided a fleet of 15 Escalades, which were driven by drivers from BLS Limo. Celebs shuttled include Kareem Abdul Jabbar (which required a security professional), Moses Malone, Ricky Davis, Matt Barnes, Baron Davis, Juwon Howard, The Webber Family, Maurice Cheeks, Elise Neal, Sallie Richardson-Whitfield, Dondre Whitfield, Jill Marie Jones, Lauren London, Regina King, etc.
Bronner Brothers Hair Show, August 2003, 2004, 2005, February 2004, 2005
I handled talent that included Clifton Powell, Syleena Johnson, Shemar Moore, Boris Kodjoe, Jurnee Smollett, Keshia Knight Pulliam, etc. I managed most of their appearances at the official Upscale and Bronner Brothers booths, comedy show appearances and screenings. Jurnee Smollett, Clifton Powell and Keshia Knight Pulliam were supporting films (Roll Bounce, Woman Thou Art Loosed and Beauty Shop).
Roz Stevenson Public Relations (L.A.-based specialty film pr firm), June 2000-February 2002
As Roz Stevenson Public Relations’ first employee, I hit the ground running. I presented Honey Magazine to Roz and we both worked on arranging Janet Jackson’s July 2000 cover that coincided with the release of Nutty Professor II. In addition to selecting urban media to participate in a New York roundtable with Janet Jackson at a time when her marital and divorce status first became public, I also assisted Ms. Jackson, who attended with her father Joe, down the press line for the L.A. premiere of Nutty Professor II, which grossed $42.5 million opening weekend. Universal recognized Roz Stevenson Public Relations as a key component in that film’s success, which was followed up by the surprising success of Bring It On, Gabrielle Union’s star-turning film. Industry insiders predicted that the film would earn $10 million at most during opening weekend and were surprised by the almost $17.5 million it grossed, making it the week’s number one film. Roz and I were very involved with the film. I suggested to Roz that we fight to add girl group Blaque to the press efforts, especially on junket day. As a result, we managed press for both Gabrielle Union and the three members of Blaque. We also supervised the BET special about the film, making critical changes. Our efforts were also highly appreciated for How High, The Fast and the Furious. In addition to securing African American press, long-lead, newspaper, radio and then emerging online media, I was instrumental in getting press for Asian actors Trieu Tran (How High) and Rick Yune (The Fast and the Furious). I also helped Asian/Pacific Islanders gain access to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is half Samoan.
For Family Man, I was instrumental in securing Don Cheadle a feature in Vibe, his first-ever although he was in three scenes in our film. Actually, I accompanied the writer to Valencia, California where Cheadle was filming Swordfish. In addition, I was also key in Vibe’s coverage of The Fast and the Furious. I also wrote the production notes for How High, including overlooked urban talent such as producer Rockwilder who did the film’s score. At the time, Rockwilder had worked with Jay Z, Janet Jackson and Destiny’s Child as well as collaborated with Missy Elliott. I wrote almost all of the canned features that we serviced to African American newspapers nationwide. One particularly successful one played off Ja Rule’s mega-hit “Put It On Me” and was titled “Ja Rule Puts It On Hollywood”. The story discussed his role in the film. I also was a critical part of Roz Stevenson Public Relation’s successful handling of the 2001 Pan African Film Festival, whose opening film was Kingdom Come. In addition to securing press, such as radio call-ins for Cedric The Entertainer and Vivica A. Fox, I also accompanied talent such as Todd Bridges and his brother James Jr. to several local appearances regarding a film they directed that appeared in the festival as well as helped introduce new talent like director Carl Seaton, who is noted for his ABFF award-winning film One Week, to local L.A. media.
Ultimately, working with Roz Stevenson Public Relations was a very successful endeavor. At the time, the company’s main film client was Universal Pictures. Outreach into the African American community was critical to its success. I also handled the national distribution of promo items to urban outlets for such films as American Pie, How High and The Fast and the Furious. One of the things that I would do is identify hot spots in key urban markets and distribute promo items. For example, we had How High cups so I shipped them to well-known urban eateries like Florida Avenue Grill in D.C. I actually took my direction from rap songs as well as friends who lived in various areas to research optimal spots. For Daddy Day Care, Roz actually hired me to research African American daycare centers around the country to distribute promo items. We also distributed promo items to African American schools with cheerleading teams for Bring It On. Films in which we were allowed to completely control what was done to target the African American audience, including participating on marketing calls with Def Jam, for example, which distributed the soundtracks for How High and The Fast and the Furious, the films were very successful. Dealing directly with personal publicists and managers was also a key component of my duties.