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Entertainment, Interviews, Videos

(VIDEO) Coke Bumaye Dishes On His Latest Project, If You Love Me Let Me Know

I recently had an opportunity to link up with Jackson based hip hop artist Coke Bumaye at Conkrete Sneaker Boutique to discuss his latest project, If You Love Me Let Me Know.

Born Corey Stokes, Coke Bumaye is more than a rapper. He’s a father, son, brother and writer committed to #changingtheculture through his various works in and around the community.

Watch our interview below.

To connect with Coke, visit him online at cokebumaye.com or by clicking here. You can also follow him on Instagram @cokebumaye.

Entrepreneurship, Interviews, She's A Boss

She’s A Boss: Krystle Coleman Of Miami’s MidoriStar Media Group

Krystle Coleman is the Founder and CEO of MidoriStar Media Group, based in Miami, Florida. I became acquainted with Krystle and her company online after discussing working together on a PR workshop (because us PR girls stick together!) and after doing some background research into her business, I knew she’d be a great fit for She’s A Boss.

The 30-year-old entrepreneur and Detroit native attended Florida Memorial University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Journalism. As a college student, she participated in several internships within the entertainment industry including Def Jam Records, The Pub Report and Slip ‘n Slide Records.

I recently had an opportunity to chat with her about her career and advice she’d lend to aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out excerpts from our chat below.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What specifically made you decide that you wanted to pursue entrepreneurship?
KRYSTLE COLEMAN: For me, to be perfectly honest, as and when I graduated from college I wanted to ideally work at a top PR firm and climb the ladder. I thought I was so fabulous because I’d interned at VIBE magazine, The Pub Report, Def Jam…I thought people would be coming after me! Obviously things didn’t pan out for me like that. I couldn’t afford Miami and I did not want to return back to Detroit so I moved to Atlanta and was hired part-time to work with Slip ‘n Slide, which was amazing.

This image that I had in my head of what I should be doing as a top PR student was not what I was actually doing. One day after two years of working corporately, I just quit. Freelancing was great but I wanted to go full thrust with it. I knew I wanted to launch an agency because I had a very well-versed background in music and entertainment PR. My agency really came about after knowing that corporate PR was not for me and that I wanted to work on a variety of diverse projects at one time.

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JESSICA SIMIEN: Can you tell me a little about some of the people you represent?
KRYSTLE COLEMAN: Over the last seven years, as well as currently, I’ve worked with a number of NFL players – Bryant McKinnie, Erin Henderson, Ray Edwards – Carmelo Anthony, Trina, Rick Ross, Jagged Edge, Drew Sidora, Thomas Jones, Laz Alonso and just a ton of different reality and radio personalities. Sometimes larger PR firms will bring me on board to help with some of their clients as well.

JESSICA SIMIEN: How do you balance your life and career?
KRYSTLE COLEMAN: Um, I hate to sound cliche’ by saying “it’s a lifestyle” but realistically when you’re involved in something and there’s a certain capacity of results that have to be delivered on a day to day basis, that requires a need…pressure…a have to be situation. When you come into this industry you have to already delegate that you’re going to be working around the clock. I like to do it, it’s natural for me. Even though it’s 24 hours a day, it’s really gratifying to be able to craft things up and get people to cover it or be on board.

JESSICA SIMIEN: All entrepreneurs face challenges and as women, I believe we face unique challenges. What would you say have been some unique challenges you’ve faced as you’ve built your business?
KRYSTLE COLEMAN: There is no room for error – that has been a challenge for me mentally as I’ve hired other women and worked with other women in the field. I let them know that I don’t have room for error. As a woman you already have on a certain amount of armor that makes you feel like you have to prove yourself and it can be challenging to know that you can’t make mistakes and work around that.

JESSICA SIMIEN: So for those who want to become the next big publicist, what advice would you give them about entering the industry?
KRYSTLE COLEMAN: To be a sponge! PR is something that’s natural – it’s something that is built within you – so add to whatever skill you already have. Go to writing workshops, invest in what you want to make money off of, study mastheads of magazines so you can be familiar with the editors, have manners…you’d be surprised at how much those things help a business.

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MidoriStar Media Group is currently running a Go Fund Me campaign for Krystle’s upcoming lifestyle brand, UncensoredPRGal. To support by making a donation, please click here. You can also like their Facebook page by clicking here or follow them on Instagram @midoristarmediagroup.

Interviews, Videos

T Lo Da Champ Talks Lucid Dreamzzz, Mississippi’s Sound + Freestyles On The Spot

Once upon a time I used to interview independent artists and other rising talent to help them gain exposure and to show my support of their craft. You know what happened soon after? I lost the fire I had for underground and local music because I didn’t always believe in what I was showcasing on this website. (Bad, I know…)

But then I met T Lo Da Champ, listened to his debut mixtape, Lucid Dreamzzz, and he changed all of that.

Lucid Dreamzzz was released in September 2015 and takes listeners on a journey as T Lo shares excerpts of his life and dreams track after track. From “Reckless” to my personal favorite, “Slave Masters,” the tape is packed with records that will have you discovering new meanings from the lyrics each time you take a listen.

Recently I sat down with the 26-year-old Jackson based hip hop artist at the Mississippi Museum of Art to get the scoop on his mixtape, his opinion of Mississippi’s sound and to challenge him to a live freestyle. You’ve probably seen us together a lot around the city or on social media but my opinion of his music and him personally that I share in this post and during the interview is 100% non-biased. I promise!

Watch the interview below.

Take a listen to Lucid Dreamzzz below and you can also download the tape via Soundcloud.

The sky is the limit for this rising artist and I’m so excited about what he has in store for us. To connect with him on social media, follow @TLoDaChamp on Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube channel here. You can also click here to like his Facebook fan page.

Interviews, She's A Boss

She’s A Boss: Eboyne’ Jackson Of Divine Influence PR

Eboyne’ Jackson is a 32-year-old Waterbury, Connecticut native and the owner and head publicist at Divine Influence PR. She is the oldest of four siblings and a proud auntie to her niece, Leigha. After a long “She’s A Boss” hiatus here on my blog, I’m happy to finally bring it back with her.

We connected maybe a year or two ago as and when she pitched one of her clients for this very feature series and the rest is history! Check out my interview with her below.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What led you to pursue a career in the public relations industry?
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: Oh my goodness! Public Relations definitely came by chance for me. I attended Ne-yo’s 30th birthday party at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York with a producer who I was dating at the time, and I was supposed to just attend the party like all the other guests. But for some reason, I was so drawn to the press pool. I was so captivated by the media presence, getting contacts and of course, interviewing the celebs! That night I met everyone from Rihanna, to Neyo himself, to Janet Jackson, it was an EPIC night! I made a ton of invaluable connections that night, and it was definitely the spark that ignited my journalism and PR career.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit! Even as a young girl in third grade, I was writing books and selling them. I even started my own Best Friends Club and had a monthly newsletter. I was a natural hustler. (Laughs) So it was in my DNA to start my own business. I just love connecting people and most of all, I love the joy and gratifying feeling that comes from owning your own business. There’s nothing like it – financial freedom and the opportunity to do what you love, it’s a win all around.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Tell me a little about your company, the types of clients you take on and currently represent.
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: Divine Influence PR is a faith based boutique PR firm I started in 2011. We specialize in media relations, marketing and event planning; catering to emerging brands within the following industries: Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment, and Lifestyle.

Left, Eboynè's Mom Lori Ellis, Kandi Burruss and Eboynè Jackson

Left, Eboynè’s Mom Lori Ellis, Kandi Burruss and Eboynè Jackson

At Divine Influence PR, we not only combine the greatest synergies and resources for clients to utilize in order to capture the attention of appropriate audiences, but also reinforce our clients to achieve the impossible with faith and a smile. Through placing an emphasis on each client’s God-given talent, along with strategic media and consumer outreach, we take a “unique” approach in communicating their clients’ messages.

I have worked on accounts for Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign, T-Wayne, Lyfe Jennings and more. I also worked with accounts for Tokyo Stylez, and Marquette Collection by Ty’ron Perrin. I currently represent The Amours, MobSquad Nard, Cynthia Meadows, and Value of One.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur? 
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: My experiences have been invaluable! Lesson #1: Know your value! Never let a potential client haggle your services or barter. PR is tedious work, and requires a lot of time and research. Time is money. If you have guaranteed results and great media relationships, it costs. Never let a client talk down your rate for any service of any kind. Many want the benefits of a good publicist but don’t want to pay. It’s expensive! We make a client look good, and that does not come easy, nor is it cheap! (Laughs) Lesson #2: Don’t catch feelings, catch flights! Know your value, and as long as you work with integrity, don’t sweat the small stuff. Business is business, and everyone, even the publicist, must eat. I’ve come to learn that people pay for what they want – what’s important to them. That’s how big brands stay in business, and it’s the very same for small businesses. If a consumer sees your value, then they will not try to short change you whatsoever. It’s just that simple.

“It’s OK to want to merge into other careers and achieve other goals. And most of all, it’s OK to sleep in and turn your phone off. Public relations is very demanding and at times, very stressful. You only get one life so why not enjoy it and pace yourself?”

JESSICA SIMIEN: How do you balance work and play?
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: This is something I am still trying to work on. Balance is a work in progress for me. I will admit that lately I have become a little bit better at it – God, family and time for yourself is key. If you don’t have a healthy balance, then you will ultimately end up resenting your career. I am learning that it’s OK to turn down some projects to avoid feeling overloaded or burnt out. It’s OK to want to merge into other careers and achieve other goals. And most of all, it’s OK to sleep in and turn your phone off. Public relations is very demanding and at times, very stressful. You only get one life so why not enjoy it and pace yourself? I am making some major changes in 2016 and finding more balance and maintaining peace and joy is a priority for me in this season.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Tell us about any upcoming projects or endeavors.
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: I am very excited about a new business venture I am embarking on, which will be unveiled very soon. It’s launching in 2017 and I thank God for His favor! I have an investor (all glory to God) and I am excited to move into this new space. Although I can’t release it just yet, know that it will be epic and very innovative, unlike any other brand you’ve ever seen! God has given me a clear vision for this.

I am working on the next Daughter of Zion Rebirth Conference. Daughter of Zion Rebirth is a faith-based ministry that strengthens and equips women through the Word of God and enhances their total well being through spiritual, cultural, and career development. I am excited to announce that this time, I am teaming up with S.W.O.P. (Sisters with Ordained Purpose), founded by Eboni Gordon, to connect women in ministry and women in business. It will be on October 22nd in Stamford Connecticut, so ladies save the date!

You can contact Eboyne’ and keep up with her brand on Instagram @divineinfluencepr and Twitter @QueenofMedia. You can also like her Facebook page by clicking here.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Videos

Faith Evans Visits HuffPost Live, Talks Grammy Nomination + My Guest Appearance

Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Faith Evans stopped by HuffPost Live this morning and I had the pleasure of speaking with her.

She discussed her Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B performance as well as the state of the music industry. I appeared around the eight minute mark by asking her about her thoughts on the music industry as it is today.

A few weeks ago I spoke with Monica and she mentioned that there was a lack of love and respect for the genre of R&B so I was curious about what Faith had to say since she’s also an artist who has been in the game for 20 years.

Check out what she had to say below.