Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Drama Promoter

During my former life as an independent public relations, marketing and event planning guru, I had the unique experience of promoting Reggae concerts. The first time I ever did this, I was helping out a promotion company from New York who partnered with a club owner in Atlanta.

The New York/Atlanta promoters were looking for somebody who specialized in publicity, and could attract some nice attention to the event. The deal was that I would handle all the PR work and street team promotion, and they would cover the entire cost of the event. I would get my normal fee. This sounded way cool to me, so I accepted.

And I worked my ass off, too! I got the artists on the local talk shows and radio programs, and set up a couple of album signing events at music stores around town. By the night of the concert, every Reggae lover in the A-T-L knew these artists were coming. It was great.

But meanwhile, me and one of the New York promoters started mixing a little too much pleasure with our business, and that was the beginning of the end.

It started off innocent enough. We were at another Reggae event passing out flyers for our show. The music was off the hook, and we started rocking separately along with the beat. Eventually, we weren’t rocking separately anymore, and got caught up in some serious Jamaican “winding” at its best. Now, I don’t know how many of ya’ll have been down to Jamaica to see what the “winding” thing is all about. But if you don’t know, check out Sean Paul’s video for "I'm Still in Love." There is a chick in that video who provides all the background data you’ll need.

Anyway, one thing led to another, and I got the bright idea that there was a future in this newfound business/personal relationship. And then the night of the concert came…

I had no more duties during event time, since everybody that was coming was already there or on their way. So, me and a friend of mine just proceeded to chill and enjoy the scene like everybody else. I kept checking for Mr. New York Promoter, but couldn’t find him for most of the night. I just figured he was handling concert business.

But after a while, I got a tad bit concerned about my feelings of neglect, so I decided to go and look for him among the thousands who came out to enjoy the concert. I spotted him in a corner dancing with some woman. I strategically positioned myself for him to see me. And when he noticed me, so did this woman. She shot me a look like she was about to start swinging if I came any closer.

I’m not into physical drama in public, so I just made my way to the other side of the room. Eventually, Mr. New York Promoter caught up with me, and we started that “winding” thing again. And then we got busted…

“Bitch, do you know this is my husband?!” Damn…I didn’t have a clue. I’m looking at Mr. New York Promoter like he had six heads. And I’m really pissed that this stranger has called me out in the middle the dance floor of a Reggae concert. I decide to keep it ladylike, and I walked away to let him handle his own drama.

I sure do know how to pick ‘em.

The woman eventually catches up with me and my friend in the bathroom. She was ready for battle.

“Why the fuck were you dancing with my husband like that?”

“Trust me; had I known he was yours or anybody else’s husband, you wouldn’t have seen me with him.”

“Well, he has a wife, bitch! And you had better stay the hell away from him!”

“Believe me, sister. You won’t have to worry about me any further. You can have him. I’m not into other people’s shit.”

And with that, I left her standing in the bathroom trying to determine what her next move should be.

Anyway, turns out this wasn’t even the major drama of the evening. Just before the headline act was supposed to take the stage, I notice this argument in the backstage area between Mr. New York Promoter, his Atlanta partners, the artist’s road manager and the artist. Apparently, the promoters didn’t have the money to pay the artist, and he was threatening to not go onstage. Somehow, the argument cooled, and the artist performed. But there was still some bickering going on behind the scenes between the New York and Atlanta teams.

The concert ended, and the backstage bickering evolved into a full-scale war. Now, all of a sudden, some other folks I didn’t even know were in the mix. It seems the Atlanta side paid all the concert expenses, and wanted to recoup their investment and split the concert profits. The New York and Atlanta teams couldn’t agree on what their severance packages ought to be.

In addition, the Atlanta team was accusing Mr. New York Promoter of bringing his wife down just so that she could steal the money. She apparently had been working the ticket booth for most of the night. And every time the Atlanta team went to check the proceeds, she wouldn’t divulge the information.

Next thing I know, guns are popping up in the face and back of Mr. New York Promoter and his wife, and the guns are in the hands of the Atlanta side. Needless to say, I slowly backed myself into the shadows along with my friend, and we made our way to our cars and left.

The next day, I called Mr. New York Promoter to get the scoop. Of course, he blamed everything on the Atlanta side. He said they basically robbed him of all the concert loot and left the building. He was left there with his wife and no money. All he could do was get on the first thing smokin’ back to New York.

I continued to promote concerts after this experience, although I obviously worked with new contacts. I haven’t talked to Mr. New York Promoter since getting his fabricated scoop. I say “fabricated” because I just know he was shady, especially since he conveniently forgot to mention his wife, and was bold enough to bring her to the concert and cause a near-drama experience for me.

I did learn a valuable lesson about why you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. I can’t help but wonder what might have happened to me had I not kept myself in the background of these arguments. And I also wonder the extent to which I would have had to fight this woman had she decided to start swinging instead of just talking shit.

Some lessons are learned the hard way, and I’m just glad I got through this incident unscathed.


At 12:11 PM, Blogger Rod said...

That story makes me thankfull for two reasons.
1 - Thank God I'm married and would never cheat on my wife
2 - Thank God I have a stable boring computer job

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just me,


Man, seems like yesterday. I remember that stint. That was some truly CRAZY African-Jamaican Drama!

Thank you for always being true to yourself and your inspirtations. Keep on writing. I can't wait until you novel comes out.

Love you sister!

Ya girl always

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