How do you feel that African Americans have influenced the Arts?
African Americans have always been major drivers of culture and the arts. From customs dating back to Africa, we have been at the source of many things that later become Pop culture. For example music has definitely been influenced by the rhythms brought over from Africa. Music has been a way of telling our stories from the start. Storytelling has been the way to preserve our history. This goes from slavery with slave songs hiding messages to now rap and hip hop music which tells the reality of our lives and struggles. And of course there is dance. There is even a major movement now that is incorporating even more African influence into dance and music… The Afrobeats movement is a perfect example.
Tell us about your book.
“The Man Behind the Curtain” is autobiographical in part, but mainly stories from inside with some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment business. It chronicles 30 years of celebrities that I have aided, influenced, discovered or otherwise crossed paths with that most people are unaware of. If Forrest Gump was an entertainment story, this would be it. :-). At the end of the day though, it is an entertaining, funny, and inspirational story of surviving poverty in Baltimore to reach the level of a Senior Executive at Paramount and all the interesting stories along the way.
What has been your most proud moment in life and why?
I have had many proud accomplishments over the course of my career. From being nominated for an NAACP Image Awards for my family’s work with our Mental Health Platform, “The SonRise Project”, to successfully re-branding the BET network with the award winning “Shining Star” campaign, to seeing my original concept format for a basketball lifestyle show turn into what is now the “Basketball Wives” franchise, to winning a NAMIC Visionary award for executive producing “Turnstile:Darryl Chill Mitchell, there have been too many to pick just one.
How would you define success?
For me, success is about the creative process. As long as I can continue to feed my creative and continue to make whatever I do bigger than myself I consider myself successful.
What can the world expect from you next since you are on a new path?
The world can expect me to continue to explore what it is the universe has ordained for me to achieve. I plan to create more with my KEMistry and Spartacus Media production teams, as well as use my platform to inspire and motivate other young black men by showing them what excellence looks like. I also plan to continue to work in the mental health space with my family’s platform, “The SonRise Project” because mental health is one of the greatest challenges our people are facing these days