Photo & Stylist Credit: Stacy Jordan

The Corbett Music Group Presents JD Wesley!

J.D. Wesley was born John Wesley Wilson Jr., an extremely talented young man. At an early age his parents along with the community, noticed that his vocal ability was strong and like none other. From that moment onward, singing and music was the largest component of his life.

Over the years, JD has evolved into a powerhouse performer. From top 40’s bands to off-Broadway productions and so much more. You name it and he’s done it! His networking has generated connections with major and independent labels such as The Corbett Music Group.

He is also a rising face in TV/Film industry. Making featured appearances in multiple TV shows and films over the last two years. With the recent release of his latest single, he is rapidly becoming known as the smooth vocalist from the “new social justice anthem”, “The Bell Tolls For You”!

What’s next for the rising star, only time will tell. However, he has shown no signs of slowing down or stopping anytime soon!

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: Where were you born and raised?

J.D. Wesley: I was born and reared in the great Palmetto state of South Carolina, specifically the PeeDee area or “the country” as my sisters and I would call it.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: I understand that your name, John David “JD” Wesley, has a special significance and meaning. Please explain the significance of your name to our readers.

J.D. Wesley: My full name is John Wesley Wilson Jr., as I was named after my father. My stage name John David Wesley aka J.D. Wesley, is a combination of my grandfather (David Wilson), my dad (John Sr.), and my name. Which represents three generations of my family’s bloodline.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: You have talent in music and in acting. What are some of the TV/Films that you were in and or groups or songs that our readers may know you from?

J.D. Wesley: Well, recently I had a feature on the show “Law & Order: Organized Crime” (S2 Ep.11). I didn’t have any lines, but I was the FBI agent that arrested the “most wanted” criminal on the run. Through the years, I have done features on shows like “New Amsterdam”, “POSE”, as well as a few movies that have not been released. I’ve done quite a few commercials for national and international campaigns and my biggest single to date is “Favored” from my project “Favored”, which was released in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. I’m also a decade long member of the mid 90’s Classic R&B Group SOLO; whom were discovered by music industry giants Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: How did you get started in the music industry and when did you know that you wanted to pursue it professionally?

J.D. Wesley: I got started in music many, many, many moons ago as a young child. My father is a pastor and my mother is one of the best singers around, the whole music scene was somewhat of a birthright. I lead my first song in church at the tender age of four and from there everyone saw the gift from God, supported with lots of talent. I continued my journey through the years up to the recording of my very first project at age 16. It was a compilation CD (because that’s how long ago it was) with a community choir I was once a part of and another local singer that had been blessed with the gift of voice. Although the project did not sell millions of copies worldwide, it was another glance into the vocal ability and styling of a great up and coming young artist. It was also the moment I solidified my decision to pursue a career in entertainment, specifically as a singer/artist.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: What is it about acting that attracted you to it and when did you decide to pursue it professionally?

J.D. Wesley: Acting has been a large part of my life almost as long as singing and music. My attraction to it as a young boy, was mostly me memorizing scenes and lines from movies like “Coming To America”, “The Color Purple”, “Ace Ventura” and so many others that I enjoyed. However, once I did my first big stage production in high-school, I realized that there was more to it than just memorizing lines and that I truly had a hidden talent for acting. From that point on, I took every opportunity available to sharpen those acting chops and get involved in other theater projects. In 2018, I decided that I should take my acting to the next level and pursue a career in TV/Film.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: Recently, you teamed up with Tyrone Corbett of The Corbett Music Group and soulfully performed his original song “The Bell Tolls for You.” Many have considered this song to be a new civil-rights anthem for our generation. Please describe to our readers what you thought about the song when you received it, how it felt to record it, and describe the video shoot, as well as how the public has welcomed it.

J.D. Wesley: When I initially received the song, the singer that sung the reference tracks had done a phenomenal job and I was very curious as to what Tyrone thought I could do better than him. It was a wonder, but I’m always up for a vocal challenge and I decided to at least record it and see where things go. Initially, I was thinking that the song was too big for me. However, after starting the studio session, I slowly began to feel the song in my spirit and in my soul and how much of an impact it could make globally. The timing could not have been more perfect, given the social status in this country and many others around the world.

Once we completed the recording and moved to the video shoot, I was completely sold on the possibilities of where this song will go. We filmed in multiple locations, including NJ and NYC, and each time a crowd gathered and the onlookers were either interested in what we were doing or emotionally attached to the lyrics of the song. Every single take, I did my best to vocally deliver the song with intensity and the deepest level of soul I had inside of me. I’m so glad I did, as it is being received around the world very positively and has touch so many hearts thus far.

I can only imagine where the song will end up and how many more will be touched by the power of the very relevant lyrics and the strong imagery that the video adds to the message.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: “The Bell Tolls for You” has been warmly received by the public, especially the video which depicts all of those souls that we have lost during this modern-day struggle, as well as shows your powerful and soulful performance. In a little over two and a half months, the YouTube video has been viewed by nearly 50,000 people. It’s going viral! How has your participation in this song affected your life?

J.D. Wesley: Being a part of this song has changed my perception of everything and everyone. As a darker pigmented person of color, you are often led to believe that the struggle is all about slavery and what happened to our ancestors. However, the story is far broader than that and it includes a multitude of people with varying skin tones globally. This project has allowed me to look past what I believe to be true and see the actual truth of the matter. Which is there has been a struggle within humanity since the dawn of existence and if we humans cannot find a way to change for the better it will only get worse as we move forward.

“The Bell Tolls for You” is that call to action! As the bell not only tolls for people with darker skin, but that same bell can be heard by every living person on this planet. Whether we are doing right or doing wrong, the bell tolls for us all at some point or another. That is proven by the nearly 50K views of the music video. Each viewer is communicating their attachment to the relevancy of the lyrics and how they view the world and where we currently stand.

Right now, there is an uproar in Europe where the dominance of one nation has become the horror of another nation. There is not a better depiction of the “The Bell Tolls for You”!

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: Recently, a lil GO BANG! bird whispered in my ear that JD Wesley is putting together a VIRTUAL CONCERT. Do tell our readers all about this exciting upcoming event.

J.D. Wesley: The virtual concert idea came into play simply because I’m noticing that my support base is growing and I now have people that follow me from around the world. Doing a virtual concert will allow me to reach all of them and also invite new followers to link up and join the movement. It will be a very subtle event that allows me to showcase my gifts and talents and all whom are interested to watch and enjoy from the comforts of their homes.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: There’s also talk going around that you are about to start your OWN company. Tell us about that NEW entrepreneurial venture and how our readers can help.

J.D. Wesley: I’m not going to say much about my entrepreneurial ventures at this moment, as we are still in the beginning stages and there is lots of work to be done. However, I have worked with so many production companies and businesses in the realm of entertainment and I’ve noticed there is a need for some changes. Often established businesses/companies will not change until a new company comes along doing what they do with a much better and/or more effective methodology. At this point, I’m still soliciting investors and laying the ground work for the soon to come debut.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, please tell our readers what you are working on and what do you have planned for the future.

J.D. Wesley: At the moment, I’m still promoting “The Bell Tolls for You” on as many platforms as possible. There are also some new business ventures with other producers that I’m considering as far as radio promotion and marketing. Most importantly, Tyrone Corbett and I may begin working on a follow-up single very soon!

WATCH “The Bell Tolls For You” powerful YouTube video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwiShOzKJ-o

UNDERSTAND “The Bell Tolls For You” lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb_2Eegv-P0&t=8s

BUY “The Bell Tolls For You” on ALL music platforms: https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-bell-tolls-for-you/1598058724?i=1598058819&fbclid=IwAR1L2Ue2vNDqEzeBi_Q79FEetT3B8RE7k1wZAwhhgaZDISSAe5yWQw1UaCQ

You can follow J.D. Wesley on ALL social media platforms:

Instagram: @jdwesley

Twitter: @JDWesleyMusic 

Facebook: @JD Wesley

or log on to his websites: http://jdwesleymusic.com OR http://www.imdb.com/name/nm9894179/




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Cedric “Whoa Boi” Collins, was raised in the most impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Englewood. Despite all the crime, violence and drugs that saturated his community, Whoa Boi wrapped himself in his music. At the age of seven, Whoa Boi was playing the organ and drums for his neighborhood church. This fixation and fascination for music quickly grew as Whoa Boi grew from just merely playing instruments, to producing and writing music of multiple genes.

In late August of 2013, Mr. Whoa Boi won the Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes National Championship in Miami, Florida. He went head-to-head with champions from 16 other cities nationwide performing their own original songs live and in front of a live audience. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Whoa Boi dropped his very first mixtape “Englewoodvilla”, which included his hit single “Chi Raq.”   ChiRaq is a moniker given to Chicago used to describe the violence in his hometown. The song ChiRaq received national attention. 

 



Mr. Whoa Boi, or Whoa as he’s affectionately called by friends and fans, is also the Ceo/President of his own independent label, PladBoy Entertainment Inc. He and his artist make not only music for you to dance and party to, but he also paints socially conscious portraits of life, injustice and love. The self-proclaimed voice of the voiceless, tackles matters such as black on black crime, police brutality, child abuse and a plethora of other relatable topics that are considered taboo, but many deal with in silence daily.

Mr. Whoa Boi’s talent doesn’t just stop at music, he also acts. He spent four consecutive seasons on the Emmy winning Fox television show “Empire”, where he was a core cast member playing the head of Lucious Lyons (Academy Award nominated actor Terrance Howard) security. Whoa Boi has also starred in several independent films such as: “Lil Ceaser”, “Roseland”, “The Walk of Rufus”, “A Masquerade Trapp” and Paramount Pictures/Singles Film and Music’s upcoming film “United Nations.”



In a society where we are plagued with pandemics, rumors of war and violence, it is pleasing to know that there are still artists like Mr. Whoa Boi, to not only speak our truths, but to also grant us reassurance that we can and will overcome our adversities through perseverance and love.

Get ready world… Whoa is coming!


GO BANG! Magazine: Growing up in the infamous Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, have you witnessed anything that had a major effect on you personally or professionally?

Whoa: Growing up in Englewood wasn’t for that faint at heart. I’ve literally watched family and friends murdered in front of me.

GO BANG! Magazine: Although Englewood has gained a negative reputation over the years, not everything or everyone coming from there is bad. How would you describe Englewood to someone not familiar with it, to shine a positive light on the neighborhood?

Whoa: Englewood, although it has the moniker as “the worst neighborhood in the city” when it comes to crime, is a beautiful place with beautiful family oriented people, beautiful parks, several landmarks and a host of talent.

GO BANG! Magazine: Performing as Whoa, your stage presence is magnetic. How would you describe you style, your sound and your mission?

Whoa: My style is gritty, grimy, smooth, yet melodic.



GO BANG! Magazine: You’re not only gifted on the mic, you are also a musician and producer. Please tell to our readers about your skills as a keyboardist, drummer and producer.

Whoa: Well, it all started in church, where I learned how to play the organ, drums and bass/lead guitar.


GO BANG! Magazine: Many of our readers may recognize you, from not only being a Hip Hop performer, but also from tv and the silver screen, as a regular on Fox television’s hit tv show “Empire” and several Billy Ray Valentine films. How did you get started in acting and do you have any upcoming roles that you are pursuing?

Whoa: Acting was something that kinda just fell into my lap. In 2015, I had a performance at “Tailgaters” (a popular nightclub) in Bolingbrook, Illinois. After I got off stage, I was approached by two gentlemen and a lady whom asked me if I had ever acted before and at that point I hadn’t. They took my info down and called me the next morning asking me to prepare a one minute monolog for an audition that took place the following Monday. Having no idea what a monolog was, I first researched that and chose a Samuel L. Jackson scene from the film “Pulp Fiction.” I literally drove my family crazy for the next few days rehearsing (lol.) To make a long story short, I got the part and played on the show for the next four years. It was a surreal experience that opened the door to many other great opportunities.

GO BANG! Magazine: The subject matter of your music is not the same ole same ole that we’re used to hearing. You tackle real life topics that many artists avoid. Why do you choose to tackle those topics and what do you hope to accomplish by doing so?

Whoa: I believe what cones from the heart reaches the heart, so I make sure I am aware of all socially conscious topics. Music isn’t just about partying, dancing and bobbing your head, its an outlet to reach, teach and console. Music is a universal tool. If used the right way, can change lives. So I’m extremely careful on my content.

GO BANG! Magazine: Chicago has quite a few Hip Hop artists that have made it. Who are some of the artists that inspire or motivate you, whether or not they’re from Chicago?

Whoa: Kanye West, Common, Crucial Conflict, Donny Hathaway, R. Kelly, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Rakim, Nas, DMX, Young Jeezy, Shawnna, J. Cole, to name a few.

GO BANG! Magazine: Since the Covid-19 outbreak, violence in Chicago has increased drastically in ALL neighborhoods, especially carjacking and retail theft. Why do you think that is?

Whoa: Well, whenever there’s pandemonium, there’s (gonna be) a sense of anarchy, panic, etc. So when a neighborhood is already impoverished and lacks opportunity, there’s crime, violence and chaos.

GO BANG! Magazine: The Entertainment industry can be a dog-eat-dog world, especially the music industry. What advice would you give to someone that may be thinking about entering the music industry or acting field?

Whoa: Stay true to your craft, stay to yourself and never give up. Also, educate yourself in the music business. Never leave your fate in the hands of others.

GO BANG! Magazine: You are the CEO/President of your own independent label, PladBoy Entertainment Inc.. Please tell our readers about your label and some of your artists.

Whoa: Well, PladBoy Entertainment is a melting pot of talent, that isn’t just limited to music. Incorporated in 2012, we have a slew of poised and polished talent: Julian T. Allen aka as Tha One @julianallen (Actor/Model/Singer/Emcee/Dancer), Tony Gramz @omg_its_tony (Battle rap extraordinare, emcee), Lil Whoa (Emcee/Actor/Singer) @spg_woooski, Medusa Savage @medusasavage738 (Emcee/Actor/Model), Hakeem Pittman aka Savage Pitbull (MMA/P.B.E Sports), and my business partner Joshua “J Swag” Womack. We stand firm for our artist and prepare them for the business. It’s not artist development as far as performing. We educate them on how to read contracts, in the proper way, to get music published, copywritten, etc..



GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, please tell our international readers what you are working on or have planned for the future.

Whoa: Currently, I’m filming a movie called “United Nations”, directed by Billy Ray Valentine, slated to drop Christmas of 2022. I am also working on my album “I AM LEGEND”, slated to drop first quarter of 2022. I AM LEGEND includes features from Cold Hard of the legendary Rap group Crucial Conflict and K-Ezzy Grease of the legendary group The Mercenaries. It’ll also include Tha One, Tony Grams, Lil Whoa and Medusa Savage, all members of the PladBoy Entertainment roster.

“The Walk of Rufus” drops in April of 2022, where I play Theodis Jones, younger brother of Rufus Jones. Theodis is a livewire and will pop off at the drop of a dime. In this movie, the Jones brothers are trying to go legit with their family business, but all doesn’t go as planned. If you like gangster flicks, you’ll love this. All together, I have four movies dropping in 2022.

Lastly, I’d like to thank you for this interview, especially with this being such a prestigious publication. I’d also like to thank my family and fans for being the fuel that drives my passion.


GO BANG! Magazine: You’re welcome brutha. It’s my pleasure to shine a light on you. That’s the purpose of GO BANG! Magazine!

PEACE & POWER!!!



For touring updates visit my website. https://mrwhoaboi.godaddysites.com/

For music follow me in Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5y46mq70os9Fgpd3s1nug5?si=zCpBNx8rTE-o96RG4dfIJw&utm_source=copy-link

You can follow Whoa on social media:
@mrwhoaboi (Instagram)
@gowhoaboi (twitter)


PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

 House music is the third largest music genre in the world!!!!

Here is the trailer.

https://vimeo.com/633808501

 

Black Harvest Film Festival will virtually stream The Woodstock of House November 13- December 2, 2021.

Streaming Ticket Info: 

https://watch.eventive.org/gsfc/play/6168922c7c7500030b0cfe7a

The documentary “The Woodstock of House”, a film that explores the origins of Chicago House music and its’ enduring worldwide appeal, featuring Chicago’s own The Chosen Few DJs, was selected for Chicago’s prestigious 2021 Black Harvest Film Festival and will screen in person on Thursday, November 11th @8pm and Friday, November 12th @8pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center, located in downtown Chicago!

On debut night, Thursday, November 11th, the audience will be blessed with live appearances by Writer/Director/Executive Producer/Producer Rodrick F. Wimberly, who will be joined by Tressa Epps, Executive Producer/Producer, Vonda Paige, Executive Producer/Producer, Steve Toles, Executive Producer/Producer and Senuwell Smith, Director

GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER WEBSITE: https://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/

164 N. State Street

312-846-2800 

 

MOVIE WEBSITEhttps://www.woodstockofhouse.com

 

TICKETS:  

https://gsfc.eventive.org/films/the-woodstock-of-house-61687f3ba8594300b3cc787d?fbclid=IwAR1cfNIt1BoBuNXsb736vVvLPhwIYW4wcVL-CYil6KFMe2Mw6wErU0b0v6Y

 

Here is the trailer.

  


This documentary details the triumph of a music genre that was attacked and nearly destroyed by mainstream America in the late 1970s for being too black, too Latin, and too gay.

It explores the music’s mutation, development, and re-birth by African American teenagers on the southside of Chicago in an underground culture of marginalized, largely homosexual nightclub constituents.

It is the untold story of the role of Chicago’s Chosen Few DJs in the creation of House music. It celebrates the enduring legacy of the annual Chosen Few Music Festival, dubbed the “Woodstock of House” that brings together more than 50,000 people of different races, ages, sexual orientations, and class together in an environment of unity, peace, and love.


TICKETS:https://gsfc.eventive.org/films/the-woodstock-of-house-61687f3ba8594300b3cc787d?fbclid=IwAR1cfNIt1BoBuNXsb736vVvLPhwIYW4wcVL-CYil6KFMe2Mw6wErU0b0v6Y

 

GO BANG! Magazine had the opportunity to meet the creative and production team behind THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE, as well as a few members of the cast. As a fellow lover of House music, it was an honor for me to be granted the opportunity to interview the creators and producers of this long-overdue documentary on the origins of House music.


Now, let’s get to know “THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE” posse…


RODRICK F. WIMBERLY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER
A veteran of the film and television industry, Rodrick’s love for the film industry is enhanced by his knowledge of the law regarding the business of film, including contract negotiations, corporate formations and business entities. He is an executive producer, producer, writer and a director for the documentary, “The Woodstock of House” (2020) and produced the short film, “UH-OH” (2018).

 


SENUWELL SMITH
DIRECTOR
An actor, screenwriter, editor and director, he appeared in the Blind Faith Theatre Company’s production of “Streamers,” for which he was nominated for a Black Theater Alliance Award. He appeared in “Pullman Porter Blues” at the Goodman Theater in 2013. He has directed and edited several music videos. He wrote and directed the short film, “UH-OH” which was screened at the Pan-African Film Festival and the Roxbury International Film Festival in 2018. He is a director for the documentary, “The Woodstock of House” (2020).

 


VONDA PAIGE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER
She has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit management, marketing, social media and public relations. She is an award-winning journalist and the founder of The First Black Woman, a digital media project recognizing the historic contributions of Black women. She is a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Vice President of the Virginia Tech Black Alumni Society. She is the executive producer of the independent short film, “UH-OH” (2018) which was selected by the Pan African Film Festival.

 


TRESSA EPPS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER
A sought-after independent filmmaker, Tressa has worked on a number of award-winning independent film projects, ranging from independent short films to feature films in a variety of roles as an executive producer, producer, and production designer. Her projects were released in theaters and aired on BET, BET HER, TVOne, Urban Movie Channel (UMC), Bounce TV and Netflix. She is honored to serve on the prestigious Black Perspectives Committee at the Chicago International Film Festival.

 


STEVE TOLES
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER
After graduating from The Ohio State University, Steve moved to Houston and resumed a lifelong passion for film production, acting, directing and producing various projects from short films, to experimental music videos to documentaries and features. Eventually he returned to Cleveland where he has produced video content for his school and his first independent film was accepted to several film festivals. Steve is an executive producer and producer on The Woodstock of House.

 


WAYNE WILLIAMS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
As founder of the Chosen Few DJs and longtime music industry professional, Wayne has helped shape popular music and dance culture. His music career includes work as a DJ, producer, and A&R executive with Trax Records, Jive Records, and RCA Records. Wayne is a recipient of an NAACP Image Award for his work with Aretha Franklin and was nominated for a GRAMMY award in 2014 for his work with Jennifer Hudson. He continues to produce music and perform at event and clubs across the globe.

 


JESSE SAUNDERS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Jesse is a founding member of the Chosen Few DJs who is recognized as the producer and performer of the first Chicago House Music record, “On & On”, in 1984. His production credits include “Love Can’t Turn Around”, one of the biggest-selling House Music records of all time, and “Higher”, which reached the top of the Billboard dance chart in 2019. In 2020, his book, “In Their Own Words”, which features interviews with House Music DJs, producers, dancers, club owners, and promoters, debuted at #1 on Amazon’s dance music book chart.



Knowing many of those involved in the film was the icing on the cake. I am so proud of them. Many of them are also my high school brothers and sisters, who attended “Thee” Kenwood Academy high school, located on Chicago’s south side, in the eclectic neighborhood of Hyde Park.


GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (RODRICK) For our readers who may not be familiar with you, can you please explain how you are connected to House music culture and what inspired you to Write, Direct, Produce and Executive Produce The Woodstock of House?

Rodrick:  I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago (SOUTHSIDE!!!)  When I was around 12 years old, I first remembered hearing “Mickey Oliver” Hot Mixes on 102.7 WBMX (the radio station that every young person in Chicago listened to at the time-reportedly 2 million Chicago land residents used to listen to the Friday and Saturday mix shows).  The frenetic energy, pulsing rhythms  and driving bass captured me and I said that I had to become a DJ!  I bought my first turntables (Technics SLB-100 belt driven) from Loop Electronics from downtown and became the best unknown DJ in my area. LOL!  After I went to college at Boston University, I took my equipment up there and DJ’d there for two years introducing them to Chicago-style house music and deep disco (which they were not used to).  In addition to DJing, I LOVE to dance.  In fact, some people used to call me the “dancing DJ” because no one dance more to my music than I would! 

My inspiration for “The Woodstock of House” was the manifestation of the themes that House Music promoted: love, unity and sharing being manifested every year at The Chosen Few Music Festival (“The Picnic”).  To see mostly black and brown people in a crowd of 40,000 house music lovers come together in a communal celebration of everything that is good about humanity without ANY violence in 30 years was worthy of a film.  I gathered my production team, created a treatment for the documentary, met with the Chosen Few and they were in!  We wanted to share this human story of young black teens from the Southside of Chicago creating a musical genre that is the 3rd largest musical genre in the world! 

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (SENUWELL)   Being one of the directors of the film, alongside Rodrick Wimberly, can you please explain what is the purpose or mission of The Woodstock of House?

Senuwell:  My purpose is to create a new movement in music that will unite everyone of all races, ages and genders, like the influence of Rap and Hip Hop.  Eventually going global and creating a voice to bring peace and love back into a world of violence and hate.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (VONDA, TRESSA, STEVE,)    As executive producers and producers of The Woodstock of House, what was it about the film that inspired or motivated you to become involved?

Vonda: As a filmmaker, not only can you entertain, but you have an opportunity to inform or educate, depending on the subject. I didn’t grow up knowing anything about House music – I can tell you about Go-Go, living outside of Washington, DC – but not House!

When we were thinking about debut projects for our company, and Rodrick and Senuwell shared
stories about and their love for House music, I was genuinely curious about what draws tens of
thousands of people to a music festival featuring something I had never heard of. Early on, while  doing some research for the project, I thought wow… we have a chance to tell an untold story and that was truly exciting!

One thing about making a documentary is that you may start with an idea of what you think the story is about, but if you are true and authentic to the craft – you let the story give you the direction.  While the story may have initially centered around the annual House music festival, I am so proud that we were able to tell an inspiring history story about young Black teenagers from Chicago who created a special sound and form of music that sustains some 30 years later. Black creators across all spectrums don’t always get their credit in the history books. Remember the late Little Richard, who famously said “They didn’t give me nothing!” Well, we produced a film that documents these genius black creators and the love that has come their way from a grateful fan base in Chicago and worldwide. This film is one for the history books.

Tressa: Woodstock of House” was the well-written treatment written by Rodrick Wimberly and Ayanna Wimberly. The treatment provided the blueprint of promoting a conversation about celebrating young Black teens who created a music genre and created “The Annual Chosen Few House Picnic” every 4th of July. I was particularly fascinated with the historical similarities House music had with disco music. In addition, House music is empowering and created a dance movement. The Chosen Few created an event about love, peace, and unity without any violence. 

Steve:  Well, as far as what inspired me, I remember Rod asking me to come to the picnic for a few years.  He had introduced me to the music and how to DJ, so he knew I would love the picnic.  Finally, he convinced me and I came out…not to mention that it was the 25th Anniversary picnic.  WOW!!!! I had recently directed/produced my first short film, so I looked at Rod and said “Rod we have to make this documentary.  It would be amazing”.  From there, we started on the long journey that eventually became The Woodstock of House.   

So, the idea that inspired me to bring this film to life was the music and the life it has given me.  Now, this is my opportunity to give something back to House.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: (WAYNE)  What influence or effect do you think the film will have on society as a whole?

Wayne:  I hope the impact of the film is how the type of music we chose to impact our life, that grew to reach people all over the world, roots came from love, unity and freedom of art. Our music put smiles on people’s face and takes your stress away for that time when you are in House music. The world has been traumatized in the last  three years and has become meaner. Our music, House music, is the kryptonite of stress and depression and we have to get back to love, which is what House music is about.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: (JESSE) Being the first person to have a House music song pressed on vinyl (“On and On”), as well as being a member of The Chosen Few DJs, which are featured in The Woodstock of House, how does it feel to be a member of a DJ crew that is considered to be part of the
foundation and continuation of the House music genre?

Jesse:  I’ve grown up originating and pioneering a culture that was new and different than anything prior to it. That means that my perspective is different than most peoples.  It all happened around me. I didn’t get the privilege of being able to look at something grow, because I was too busy trying to move and build the movement.. It turned out to be bigger than I could have ever
imagined.

My legacy with the Chosen Few is as dear to me as apple pie is to America. The walls that we
have been able to break down as a crew, that have bridged the gap between racism, sexism and
sexual orientation, have been immense. We’ve been able to bring everyone together to show that
we can love, dance and assemble as one – anywhere, anytime.

Personally, I’m proud to have started a revolution that allowed young, urban Black kids to DJ,
produce and release their musical expressions to the world…thus creating a world-wide culture
we now know as House music!

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (RODRICK). As a Chicago native, who was there when House music was born and participated in its growth and evolution, I am proud that this film has been written and produced to show the international community how House all started.  Then, to have The Woodstock of House to be selected for Chicago’s prestigious Black Harvest Film Festival, as well as recently winning Best Documentary in Gary Indiana’s Black Film Festival must have made you feel some type of way.  Please explain to our readers how gaining all of this attention, support and accolades make you feel.

Rodrick:   It has truly been a blessing!  It is exhilarating to play the film for house music and documentary lovers after taking six (6) years to complete.  We were rejected by so many film festivals early on so we just were overwhelmed by the love that we received from the audience and programmers at the Gary Black International Film Festival and the exposure that we are now receiving from film festivals all over the country (we have even had programmers from Europe approach us and request to exhibit the film).  It has almost been unbelievable but we had faith in each other, our project and God and He always has the last say.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (VONDA, TRESSA) I am so proud to see two Black women being a part of The Woodstock of House production, especially serving as members of the executive producer AND producer team.  You both have an impressive, professional background and years of experience.  Can you explain why it is important to you to have minority, female representation in the film industry?

Vonda: It’s an incredibly exciting time for Black women filmmakers. There have always been Black women creating amazing film projects, in front of and behind the camera.  I think in the last decade – more media attention has elevated their work. I’m thinking of my personal shero, Ava Duvernay, who after becoming the first Black woman to the win the directing award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film “Middle of Nowhere”, has blazed a trail with development deals that allow her to hire other women producers, writers and directors in film and television. That is how you ensure representation. American cinema can reflect everyday life, culture, politics, music, education, etc. – and Black women contribute to all of those things. We have a unique prospective and imprint and our voices, experiences and stories should be told by us.

Tressa:  Thank you for your acknowledgment. Black filmmakers are underrepresented in executive decision-making roles throughout the industry. The film industry in particular remains disproportionately white. This underrepresentation extends to the buying side, where Black distributors make up a small fraction of the total. Most of the productions I’m part of are lead by directors and producers who intentionally choose female department heads. Having females in these positions are important so our voices are represented. 

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (RODRICK, WAYNE, JESSE)   House is more than a genre of music.  It is a mentality of peacefulness, freedom of expression, love and acceptance.  If the founding generation of House music, which are us, does not pass the music and the DJ skills to the next generation, House could be lost.  How do you feel about the future of House music and what is its’ legacy?

Rodrick:  That was a major theme that was part of the initial treatment from the film and is a serious issue within the House Music community.  We, as House Music cultivators and curators, must introduce more young people to the Chicago and soulful style of house music that advances these altruistic societal values.  While some subgenres of House have captured the imagination of younger fans by advancing the driving energy of mostly instrumental music, like EDM, we must make it a point to elevate our sound as a cultural musical expression that has sociological implications to break down barriers between peoples and even nations.  That is truly worth educating young people about.  

Wayne:  House music started in 1984 and has been going ever since.  It has never been in jeopardy of not continuing  because there are too many people of talent  who are constantly discovering House music who are producers, DJs, songwriters and artists.

Jesse:  The future for the culture of House is as broad and diverse as has been for the last 45+ years. The culture of love, understanding and freedom has been a part of our American heritage since the American Revolution 350 years ago. We ALL want freedom to be who we want to be, love who and how we want to and dance the night away. House music breeds that and is the flag that we carry throughout our time on this earth. So the future of House is bright and shiny and will forever live in the hearts of generations to come.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (VONDA)   Please introduce our readers to 2CHI Entertainment and explain what’s its mission.

Vonda:  2CHi Entertainment was founded in 2013 with the mission to produce movie and television projects that tell stories of the Black experience. Black production companies are vastly underrepresented within the film industry. We want to close that gap with stories that reflect the contributions of African-Americans to society on film in all genres: drama, science fiction, suspense, comedy, biography.

Our first project was a suspense thriller short film, called Uh-Oh, that was screened at the Pan-African Film Festival and the Roxbury Film Festival in 2018. We have projects in development including one about the historical contribution of Blacks in the military, a faith-based inspirational drama, and a family film that gives a slice-of-life view of a Chicago family.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (STEVE, TRESSA)   In your opinion, what do you hope the “take away” is for the audience, after viewing The Woodstock of House?

Steve:  What I would hope the audience, especially the Chicago audience, “take away” is, is what this music is.  What we as a people can do over and over and over.   (We can) take bits and pieces of this and that and create something that will move the entire globe.  We do it under the most trying of circumstances, almost as a survival mechanism.  That ……and the music……is about LOVE.

Tressa: I hope the take away for the viewer is a reflection of the importance of unity, peace, and love.
Music is an universal language! Smiling and laughter creates great vibes! We can always add to our own personal happy! “House Music All Night Long!” 

GO BANG! Magazine would like to congratulate and thank you and the entire production team of The Woodstock of House, for writing and producing this informative, entertaining, powerful and much-needed documentary about another style of music that was born in Chicago, IL, USA….. HOUSE MUSIC!  What would you like to say “Mr. Writer” to leave with our international audience about the film, House culture, the future of House or anything else?

Rodrick:  Thanks so much for your kind words and for allowing us to share our story in such a great publication.  I just want to thank my amazing production team for their skill, excellence, character and patience in bringing this love project to life.  We became a family during this project and I love every one of them!

GO BANG! Magazine:  You are more than welcome Rod…thank you for bringing the truth about House, from the home of House, to the world!  

HOUSE MUSIC IS MY LIFE….ALL NIGHT LONG!

GO BANG!!!

Here is the trailer.

 

Black Harvest Film Festival will virtually stream The Woodstock of House November 13- December 2, 2021.

Streaming Ticket Info:

https://watch.eventive.org/gsfc/play/6168922c7c7500030b0cfe7a

 

THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE

Thursday, November 11th @8pm & Friday, November 12th @8pm

On debut night, Thursday, November 11th, the audience will be blessed with a live appearances by Writer/Director/Executive Producer/Producer Rodrick F. Wimberly, who will be joined by Tressa Epps, Executive Producer/Producer, Vonda Paige, Executive Producer/Producer, Steve Toles, Executive Producer/Producer and Senuwell Smith, Director

TICKETS:  

https://gsfc.eventive.org/films/the-woodstock-of-house-61687f3ba8594300b3cc787d?fbclid=IwAR1cfNIt1BoBuNXsb736vVvLPhwIYW4wcVL-CYil6KFMe2Mw6wErU0b0v6Y

You can find out more information about THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE on all social media platforms:

 

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/woodstockofhouse

@woodstockofhouse

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/thewoodstockofhouse

@thewoodstockofhouse

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WoodstockHouse2

@woodstockHouse2

 

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION

 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

 

 

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Documentary “The Woodstock of House” a Film That Explores the Origins of Chicago House Music and its Enduring Worldwide Appeal Selected for Chicago’s Prestigious Black Harvest Film Festival

CHICAGO (OCTOBER 18, 2021) – 2CHi Entertainment LLC is excited to announce its documentary film, The Woodstock of House (Woodstock) has been selected to debut in Chicago at the 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival.

The documentary will screen in person Thursday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The film also will be part of the festival’s streaming line-up Nov. 13 – Dec. 2.

“This is an amazing honor and as native Chicagoans who grew up watching films at Black Harvest which has a long history of celebrating independent films showcasing the Black experience – we could not be prouder,” Woodstock Directors Senuwell Smith and Rodrick F. Wimberly said in a statement.

Woodstock details the triumph of a genre of music that was attacked and almost destroyed by mainstream America in the late 1970s for being too black, too Latin, and too gay. The film explores the music’s creation, development, and re-birth as House Music by disaffected African American teenagers on the south side of Chicago and its growth to becoming the third largest musical genre in the world.

Woodstock illuminates the significance of house music not just upon the international musical industry, but upon world culture. Known for its upbeat tempos and positive lyrics – house music is revered for its themes of love, peace, and unity.

Woodstock includes live footage from the annual Chosen Few Music Festival – dubbed the Woodstock of House – the oldest one-day outdoor house music gathering in the United States, which draws 50,000 house music lovers. The film features The Chosen Few DJs, the founders of the music festival, as well as musicians, entertainers, house music fans and music historians. Despite Chicago’s reputation for violence, this annual music celebration has been without any violent incidents in its 30-year history.

“What we wanted to do with this film is to showcase this little-known piece of history about a music genre that is all about peace, love, unity, and community. And, for one day in the city of Chicago thousands of people come together to celebrate the music and those values embodied by the House Music culture,” said Wimberly, who is also a producer, executive producer, and co-writer of the film.

“House music is energetic and takes you to another place that you can lose track of time,” said Smith. “The fact that this music continues to endure speaks to its powerful appeal to make you feel good.”

Woodstock was the opening film at the Gary International Black Film Festival in Gary, IN on October 8. The film premiered in California on October 9 at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival in San Jose, CA. Woodstock will also be shown as part of the virtual screenings line-up October 24-29 at the Tallgrass Film Association film festival in Wichita, KS.

###

2CHi Entertainment LLC is an independent company engaged in the development and production of television and motion picture films with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. 2CHi brings a combined 60 years of experience and creative expertise in media, entertainment, acting, writing, directing, production, business management and entertainment law. www.thewoodstockhouse.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/woodstockofhouse
@woodstockofhouse

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/thewoodstockofhouse
@thewoodstockofhouse

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/WoodstockHouse2
@woodstockHouse2

“The Walk of Rufus” , premiering on WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021 through Maverick Movies, and Singles Film & Music Entertainment, is a film based on two brothers from South Carolina growing up in Chicago. It’s about the Jones family, Rufus Jeremiah Jones and Theodis Pierre Jones, trying to make their family name legit and do away with the footprints that their father left in the streets of Chicago. Set on the south side and west side of the city, the high-octane film takes you on the roller coaster ride through the streets of Chicago.

The film stars Billy Ray Valentine, Cedric “Mr Whoa Boi” Collins, Shanta’ Renee Smith, Keith “K-eezy” Paige of The Mercenaries and Corey “Cold Hard” Johnson of Crucial Conflict fame. Written, produced and directed by Billy Ray Valentine, who also directed “Lil Ceasar” and “Magic”, and also released through Maverick Entertainment group.

Billy Ray Valentine is producing, writing and directing the upcoming film “United Nations”, a story about all the gangs in Chicago coming together as one to create accomplishment, scheduled for release in mid to late 2022.

Bio:
Mark Anthony Mathews aka Billy Ray Valentine, was born in 1967 and Cook County Hospital in Chicago Illinois. He grew up on the south side of the city in the Robert Taylor homes and in the late 70s moved to the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

In 1986, he lived in the Roseland community and that’s where he got his start in the entertainment business writing and producing music as an artist as well.

In 1990, Mark went to Hollywood and appeared on the television show “A Different World” alongside of Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy.

In 2009, Mark started Singles Film & Music Entertainment. Fast forward to 2019, Mark started producing full-length feature films, which includes “Magic” and “Lil Ceasar.”  From there he started creating more content, including “Roseland”, “The Walk of Rufus”, “A Masquerade Trapp” and now the upcoming, highly controversial “United Nations.”

As of today, Mark Anthony Matthews aka Billy Ray Valentine, is still creating content and entertainment for the streaming audience around the world, with streams in excess of millions in households across the world!

Click HERE for the WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021 Red Carpet premiere of “THE WALK OF RUFUS” & “ROSELAND.”
Facebook link:

EVENT INFO:
Event by Billy Ray Valentine, Eric Mayes and Cedric Collins
Group · 104.7 FM GHETTO RADIO
Location: Wild Blossom Meadery, Winery and Brewery
9030 S. Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60620
Price: $20.00

Come join Singles Film & Music Entertainment, as we premiere the new films produced written and directed by Billy Ray Valentine, “The Walk of Rufus” & “Roseland.”



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram.

WOW!!!!

Rest In Peace friend, comedian, actress and brainiac, Erica Faye Watson. She recently died of Covid-19. She was living in Jamaica for a month writing material, and was suppose to return to Chicago today, March 1st. She had a great spirit and heart. I interviewed her several times.

Erica Faye Watson was born in Chicago on February 26, 1973 and raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. She passed on Saturday, February 27th, 2021. She was 48 years old.

Reprinted from her website: http://www.ericafayewatson.com/

Born and raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, with a BA and MA from Columbia College Chicago, Erica Watson is an actor, stand-up comedian at clubs around the country, and film/television director. She is a St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School alum (where Bryant Gumbel and Steve Allen attended), as well The Chicago Children’s Choir and The Merit School of Music. She currently stars in the short film “BlacKorea” and has appeared in the Oscar nominated film “Precious,” “ChiRaq,” “Top Five,” and “Side Effects” following starring in the feature film “Dirty Laundry.” She has also been featured on TLC’s Big Sexy, The Dr. Phil Show, The Oxygen Network, The WE Channel, Black Entertainment (BET), MSG-TV, You & Me This Morning, The TV Guide Network and is a recurring correspondent for “Windy City Live,” and “The Jam.” Watson is also a blogger for the Huffington Post.

Up next you can see her in “The Chi” on Showtime created by Emmy winner Lena Waithe. She has also been featured on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire” and “Empire” a FOX drama directed by Lee Daniels. Watson was featured in two Gracie Award-winning commercials that she wrote for the Oxygen Network called “Tresstify” and “Kiss & Tell;” as well as a recent guest star on TV One’s sitcom “Love That Girl” and featured on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,”

Erica was a commentator and pundit for six Black Entertainment (BET) specials, including “Shining Stars: BET Awards Nominee Special” (2010) “They Like Me: BET Awards Nominee Special” and “Top 12 BET Award Show Moments” (both in June 2009); “Countdown to 2009: BET Year in Review” (December 2008); “I Wanna Thank My Momma: BET Awards Nominee Special” (June 2008); “The Evolution of Mary J. Blige” (March 2008); and “The Evolution of Jay-Z” (April 2008). Additionally, Watson is a recurring politics and pop culture panelist on the BETJ talk show “My Two Cents;” and director of the reality TV Series “My Model Looks Better Than Your Model” on the BETJ Network.

Erica’s 1 woman show “Fat Bitch!” was a 2010 Black Theater Alliance Award Nominee, and was curated at The Brooklyn Museum as a part of Target First Saturdays in October 2010. Since then, her show has toured the country and is a favorite in every city that she visits. Watson starred in the “Broadway in Chicago” production of “Love, Loss and What I Wore” and went on to star in the final cast in New York off-broadway under the guidance of Nora & Delia Ephron as well as with The Delaware Theater Company. She was also chosen by the prestigious NBC Diversity Program to receive a full scholarship to study with the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC.

In 2017, Erica curated and hosted a “Feminist Comedy Marathon” at The Brooklyn Museum which featured 50 of NYC’s best and brightest female comedians.

Rest In Peace Erica Faye Watson, you will truly be missed. Your spirit will live on forever. It was an honor to know you Queen.

They’re doing a tribute to Erica Faye Watson on Windy City LIVE today, March 1, 2021 at 1pm on ABC7!

Learn more about Erica on her website:
CLICK HERE: http://www.ericafayewatson.com/

 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Cicely Tyson (Photo credit: Shuterstock.com/ Joe Seer)
STORY REPRINTED FROM ROLLINGOUT.COM
By N. Ali Early | January 28, 2021

Award-winning actress and Hollywood icon Cicely Tyson, who made a habit of turning in regal performances over the course of her 60-year career, has died. She was 96.

“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon,” her family shared in a statement. “At this time, please allow the family their privacy.”
The statement did not reveal Tyson’s cause of death.

Active until the very end, Tyson released her memoir, Just As I Am, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” her manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”

Tyson made her big-screen debut in 1957’s Twelve Angry Men, then re-emerged in Sidney Poitier’s Odds Against Tomorrow. She would follow that stellar performance up by starring in The Comedians, The Last Angry Man, A Man Called Adam and The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.

As blaxploitation films rose to prominence among African American movie watchers in the 1960s, Tyson refused to take part as a professional. In so doing, she did not appear in another film until 1972, as part of the Oscar-nominated Sounder. Her performance earned her a nomination for best actress.

Tyson made her mark on the small screen as well, starring in “Roots,” “The Wilma Rudolph Story,” “King: The Martin Luther King Story,” “A Woman Called Moses,” “The Marva Collins Story” and a slew of others.

She won three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Tony Award and was presented with an honorary Oscar in 2018 for her full body of work. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cited her “unforgettable performances and personal integrity.”

Tributes have flooded in for Cicely following her passing. Celebrities who took to social media to share their memories and heartbreak included Zendaya, Shonda Rhimes and Tyler Perry. Zendaya wrote on Twitter: “This one hurts, today we honor and celebrate the life of one of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you Cicely Tyson. Rest in great power.” — Zendaya (@Zendaya) January 29, 2021

While Shonda Rhimes — who produced “How To Get Away With Murder,” in which Tyson starred — penned: “She was an extraordinary person. And this is an extraordinary loss. She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn. I am grateful for every moment. Her power and grace will be with us forever.”

Tyler Perry, who cast Tyson in several of his movies, including Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and, most recently, A Fall from Grace (2020), penned an emotional tribute on Facebook along with several photos of the two together.

Bang Showbiz contributed to this report.

If you risk nothing, then you risk everything. Art is all about taking these risks.”
-Marcos Luis

Raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Marcos got his start in the entertainment industry by appearing in stage plays, including being a host of “Kidsburgh”, later graduating to television and film. Since his introduction as an actor he has added singer, musician, award-winning host, photographer, and producer to his resume credits.

As the Artistic Director & Founder of 3SB Theatre Co LLC Theatre and Entertainment Production Company, based in New York, Marcos Luis may be most recognizable for his national commercials, print campaigns, and appearances in popular prime time TV shows. Marcos is also the host and creator of the 11+ year-long running live artist showcase and open mic, OneMicNite, in New York City, which showcases premiere talent in comedy, poetry, & music of every genre. OneMicNite has become an NYC staple responsible for launching the careers of numerous Independent Artists.

Marcos is a proud and active member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, Spotlight Talent UK, and is a OneBigMop artist. He received a BS in Theatre Arts from Northwestern University, where he studied with famed international instructor Ann Woodworth (also B.A.D.A). His studies also include comedy improv at the famed Comedy Sportz in Chicago, dance training at the world renowned Giordano Dance Center, and a Jeff Award winning show, Pecong at Victory Gardens. Currently he serves as an active screening judge for the Miami Indie Festival (Mindie Fest), the International Independent Film Festival, and the SAG-AFTRA Awards Film Nomination Committee 2018.

CURRENT PROJECTS
• The Darkness of The Moor (2018)UK
• Los Viejos/ The Oldies (2018) Documentary Cuba
*World Premiere IFFCG, Guadalajara, MX, World Premiere MIFF Miami, FL USA
• Dreaming of Peggy Lee
*Screened before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar nomination*
Distribution and sales: Network Ireland Television
• I’ll Be Home Soon
*Long-Listed For Oscar Nomination 2016*
Distribution and sales: Freak Agency

GO BANG! Magazine: Where did you grow up and spend your childhood?

Marcos Luis:  Aaahhh, that question! I was actually born in Nashville, TN. We then moved to the Pittsburgh are of PA and then went to boarding school, so I spent my childhood In those places.

GO BANG! Magazine: At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a professional actor involved in stage plays, film and television, and describe that moment to our readers.

Marcos Luis: I grew up singing, dancing, and acting from the time I was born. I think I was doing it in the womb! (You’ll have to ask my mother that one). I was in talent shows and the school plays, and hosting shows as a kid, so I guess I knew….but really didn’t know for sure then . It wasn’t until college that I decided for sure to be an actor. I remember meeting and talking to a then recent graduate of my alma mater , Northwestern University , named Harry Lennox (“Blacklist, The Five Heartbeats “) who returned to the University to encourage a group of students to pursue our dreams, and that it really clicked for me to do this as a career.

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe the opportunities for minorities in television and film?

Marcos Luis: Right now we are at a fantastic and pivotal point in the Film and Industry. Studios are listening to the call for Diversity and Inclusion for Black and Brown people in front of the cameras as well as behind and are making changes . We are creating content, producing, and allocating our funds to make, direct, and star in our own works . Our stories are being told and heard. Opportunities are increasing but we still have work to do on all fronts.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’re also a singer/musician with your own unique sound. How would you describe your voice, the Marcos Luis sound, and also what instrument(s) do you play?

Marcos Luis: The “Marcos Sound” is smooth and soulful. By I mean it comes from the soul and truth, just like my acting, and dance. “Issavibe” for sure. I started playing instruments when I was young. I started on woodwinds: the flute, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax… then on to upright bass, and electric bass. Lately I’ve been hitting on some percussion with bongos..

GO BANG! Magazine: A man of multiple talents, you’re also a producer. As a producer, what types of films are you interested in making?

Marcos Luis: I’m interested in making films with good, good stories. Every genre is fair game. Making films is a different learning experience each time, problem solving, staying on budget, schedules, locations, etc. The light at the end of the tunnel is the story you present, feeling good about the end product , and also how others perceive your work.

GO BANG! Magazine: For our readers that may not be familiar with the duties of a Producer, can you please explain what producers do and what you find most interesting about producing?

Marcos Luis: A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script by the writing, directing , editing ; and arranging financing. There are different types such as Associate, Executive, and Line . Sometimes you wear multiple hats depending on how large and the budget of a project.

GO BANG! Magazine: There’s still more to you, being the Renaissance man that you are. You’re also an award-winning host and photographer. How did you get involved in photography and are you a professional or a hobbyist?

Marcos Luis: Hahaha, well, Photography to me is an extension of being an artist, how you view things, capturing it them in a truthful way, a beautiful way, or whatever the goal is. I started photography as a hobby, and then started shooting professional events, then was enlisted to shoot and document an Humanitarian expedition to Colombia, South America with www. Healing the Children.org , where I received an Award and had the honor of singing our country’s National Anthem live for thousands of people.

GO BANG! Magazine: Not surprisingly, you’re also an entrepreneur as founder of 3SB Theatre Co LLC Theatre and Entertainment Production Company. Please inform our reader about your company, its mission, and some of the projects you’ve done.

Marcos Luis: The mission is to create art with a purpose to shine a positive light on the Community. 3SB Theatre Company has not only sponsored International Artists for work here in the USA , but has created a few web series, sold out stage productions, and of course, the OneMicNite™️ Show.

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a creative person, as well as a businessman myself, I can relate to you creating your own live artist showcase and open mic event, called “OneMicNite” in New York City. For our readers that may not be familiar with it, please explain what the show is, how long it has been in existence and what its mission is.

Marcos Luis: OneMicNite™️ Is “NYC’s Best & Favorite Artist Showcase”. It’s been around for 14 years plus with its #LiveSeries performance shows. It’s been the start and home of many amateur artists, Indie Bands, as well as Grammy Award winning Artists. Starting in NYC’ Greenwich Village, with me as the Host and creator , it’s mission was to provide a space for a home to connect, perform, and network in all areas of the arts. We have held fundraisers for many other charitable organizations through performances of our artists such as Breast Cancer Walk, Women’s Prison Association, and AIDS Walk NYC. You can find out more at http://www.OneMicNite.com

GO BANG! Magazine: You studied comedy improve at Chicago’s own famed Comedy Sportz and dance training at the world-renowned Giordano Dance Center. Have you pursued a professional career in dancing and comedy? If so, please tell us about that and if not, why not?

Marcos Luis: For me knowing all areas of the Arts are important for balance, marketability, and to be well rounded. I’ve been on Comedy Improve Troupes and certainly have done Dance Shows in my career. My first professional Show which I did while still in college was called Pecong , a Caribbean version of the Greek Classic Madea , choreographed by T.C. Carson (Living Single Tv Show), I was a dancer and the Show won several Chicago Jeff Award. The Show was at Victory Gardens Theatre.

GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years, you’ve had national commercials, print campaigns, and appearances in popular prime time TV shows. Are there any broadcasts in particular that you can recall that may refresh our reader’s memory, so that they can connect that with you?

Marcos Luis: Mmmm Chicagoans may know me as The “Illinois Vehicle” commercial guy, which ran for many many years there. Three -four years ago you may have seen the “Madam President” editorial print campaign for designer Elie Tahari clothing line which was in every major publication, ad, billboard which I did along with supermodel Shlomit Malke. And of course.. the infamous “Sex and the City” Episode…

GO BANG! Magazine: What is your ultimate goal in the entertainment industry?

Marcos Luis: My ultimate goal is to continue to enlighten, inspire, tell stories through any art medium I can.

GO BANG! Magazine: Who inspires or motivates you?

Marcos Luis: So may people inspire me in so many ways. People who have had hard journeys and are resilient. People who do the same thing as I do. People who do different things than I do so I can learn from that . It all motivates me to be better, enjoy the experiences of life, and be thankful along the way. There is no competition, there is room for everyone on this journey. That motivates me.

GO BANG! Magazine: Are you currently working on anything or would you like to mention anything that you’d like our readers to check out?

Marcos Luis: Coming up next, I’ll be in an Off Broadway Show called ‘Edin’ written by a brilliant writer/artist named Marcus Harmon. Look out for me in two animated film projects as a voice actor , and definitely check out my Podcast: OneMicNite Podcast with Marcos Luis which is available on Apple podcasts wherever you download podcasts. Season 2 starts after the New Year tackling Social issues that affect Our Community and personal inspiring interviews of Artists’ journeys. www.OneMicNite.Podbean.com

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Marcos Luis: Yes, this pandemic took everyone by surprise. The key for me was to 1) Be Safe and 2) Be Flexible and 3) Create 4) Gratitude Safety first, for sure, then be flexible with your Life in the day to day actions . Next, create new ways of thinking, to enhance your situation finance by learning as much as possible. Lastly, be thankful for everyone and the things you have. Simplicity is the key. www.MarcosLuis.com


YOU CAN FOLLOW MARCOS:

Official: http://www.iMDb.me/MarcosLuis

New: ‘Los Viejos/ The Oldies (2018) Cuba Documentario https://vimeo.com/246902579

‘The Moor’ (2018)UK Oscar Qualified

Trailer:https://vimeo.com/226166126

Muted the movie https://m.imdb.com/title/tt3279922/ HBO


Dreaming of Peggy Lee

*Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar nomination* BAFTA Qualified

*Distribution & Sales: Network Ireland Television

I’ll Be Home Soon

*Long-Listed For Oscar Nomination 2016*

*Distribution & Sales: Freak Agency



 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo credit:  Tyler Curtis

 

Vince Lawrence of Chicago, IL is an American dance music producer, businessman and is one of the leading innovators of the genre of music called “House music”. Industry insiders recognize Lawrence as co-author of “On and On”, the first recording officially designated “House music”. He worked with Jesse Saunders in the initial creation of Jes Say Records, designing its logo by hand. He served as Head of Marketing and was the lyric writer for “Funk U Up” (the first House track to ever make it onto the Billboard charts), “Undercover” by Dr. Derelict, “Real Love”, and many other songs released in the label’s heyday. He also co-authored “Love Can’t Turn Around” which featured Daryl Pandy, which reached #10 in the UK Singles Chart in 1986 and started the House music revolution in the UK. He organized Trax Records, a Chicago House label. He is the founder of Slang Music Group, which has received numerous gold and platinum awards for their contributions. As founder of Slang Music Group, Vince has evolved from artist and producer to entrepreneur and marketer, creating a unique symbiosis between music and brands.

As a remixer, he worked on Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, John Legend, R Kelly, and others. Vince composed soundtracks for major brands and was contributing composer on one of the most successful daytime talk shows in history. Vince has directing, writing, production and music supervision credits for work in film.

Above all, he is a veteran of the street with an intuitive understanding of what youth culture craves – be it style and music or consumer products that he telegraphs to the street through soundtracks for advertising or non-traditional “under the radar” field marketing programs. Vince Lawrence’s intimate relationship with pop culture and lifelong love of music have evolved into a unique insight that is eagerly sought out, from the trend hunters of Madison Avenue to the likes of pop stars the world over.

“LEGACY: From Soulful Horns to House Music”, a new documentary that tells stories of hidden figures in the history of Chicago’s Black Music, was directed, produced, and narrated by Vince Lawrence. These stories shed light on individuals whose musical contributions changed the world. It broadcasted in Chicago on WTTW on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Many South siders are working to bring aid to the homeless youth of Chicago by raising funds and awareness for Covenant House Illinois (CHIL), a place of community, safety, and trust for youth experiencing homelessness and trafficking, and participated in SLEEP OUT: CHICAGO, on November 19, 2020. “We’re stepping up and answering Covenant House Illinois’ challenge to spend a night sleeping on the street so that, one day, homeless youth won’t have to”, according to the website.

The Sleep Out is not about pretending to be homeless. It’s an act of solidarity with the 4.2 million young people who experience homelessness each year. It’s a decision that we, as a society, can’t stay indoors while so many youths remain outside.

“One thing I firmly believe in is that in the midst of all our accomplishments, we should always find ways to give back to our families, society and the community. What we put in is what comes out”, says Vince.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you first get started in music and what about it attracted you?

Vince Lawrence: My initial connection in music came via my dad, Nemiah Mitchell aka MITCHBAL. My father is a songwriter, having worked with people like Eddie Thomas (Curtom Records) and others. He started his own label in the 70s and put out a few 45s before I aided him in discovering new culture centered around 12 inch singles and dance music.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a resident of Chicago, the home of House music, you are recognized as one of the pioneers. What influence, if any, do you feel you have brought to House music and how has House music influenced you?

Vince Lawrence: While not wanting to “take credit” for this and that as many people do, I can say that I did help bring people together socially around the thought that we could express our creativity through music and by making actual records that we could play at parties and on the radio. I always try to encourage people to pursue their dreams using whatever tools they had available.

I helped a lot of guys get their first recordings created by collaborating as a songwriter, musician or producer. Early days, I worked with Jesse Saunders, Marshall Jefferson, Byron Stingley, Wayne Williams (Dr. Derelict), Chip E., Victor Romeo, Duane & Co. and others. As a remixer, I along with Slang Musicgroup team members have worked with Beyoncé/Destiny’s Child, Whitney Houston, Donnell Jones, R Kelly, Charles Jenkins, Sisqo, Joe, Michael Jackson, John Legend and others.

I have always worked to elevate others by teaching, advising or providing employment. There are many great artists, producers, engineers, managers and such that began their careers as part of our team.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world, in the name of House. How would you describe House’s acceptance in other countries, in comparison to here in the States?

Vince Lawrence: Outside of the US there seems to be less distinction between House music and other forms of R&B. I think that we Chicagoans separate or dance friendly Black art forms from the rest. It seems that this is a new phenom did not seem to occur in the past. For example, Harold Melvin and the Blue notes is thought of as an R&B group, despite having created “disco classics”. The sum total, that’s the difference in the US and with American Black listeners in particular.

GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years you’ve morphed and accomplished great success as a producer, remixer and businessman. You’ve worked with many icons in the music industry. How does it feel to be requested to remix songs from artists of this caliber?

Vince Lawrence: I am honored to be invited to creative circles with great artists such as this. There are no words for the way it feels when you have the opportunity to participate in this way as a fan. My connection to music started as an admirer, in the audience, listening and enjoying. A remix invitation feels as if I am being invited behind the curtain, backstage to share in the creation of the show.

GO BANG! Magazine: After working with such high ranking artists over the years, are there any other artists, current or classic, that you would love to work with?

Vince Lawrence: I have listed these in no particular order:
Lianne De Havas
Kirby
Dua Lipa
Queen Nadja
Jeremih (he visited the studio but I did not produce)
Miley Cyrus
Mereba
Katy Perry
Gaga
Fat Joe (he visited the studio but I did not produce)
Black Thought
Trevor Horn
Lailah Hathaway
H.E.R.
James Blake
Shawn Mendez
Alicia Keys

If anyone can connect me, please reach out!

GO BANG! Magazine: As the original House generation matures, if it’s not passed down to the next generation, it will die out. What are your thoughts on the future of House music and the House culture?

Vince Lawrence: I honestly am saddened by this question because it seems so localized. House Music as Black music is not dying. Beyonce makes a whole album full of music that if it weren’t Beyonce, people would call House Music. Check FIND YOUR WAY BACK from her latest record if you need perspective, but the thought of this dying out is a myth. The discounted self-image expressed when we fail to recognize how our art has traversed the globe and come back dressed as pop star cultural exploration surprises me. Local people only need to decide to stop sitting in the stands and get in the friggin game. The discussion of stuff “being passed down” or not is also a false narrative. If people want to make records, I have always been here, people engage me as a producer all of the time. Think about it, you “found” me and it was not hard. We are the originators. The new generations find the paths that we laid down before. Those that are truly interested will actually participate. These “next gen” conversations are not about getting anything actually done.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’re the founder of Slang Music Group and you’ve received numerous gold and platinum awards. Please tell our readers about these awards, about your company, and plans for your company’s future.

Vince Lawrence: Slang is a multi-featured music and sound house that produces national Gold & Platinum award winning recording artists and delivers modern sounds to the ad industry seamlessly. Our producers have worked with many best in class artists and continue to do so. Our mix engineers are some of the words best, working with the greatest talent. Examples: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1IKd1PFQdStInJKsmaZMFq

Along with music for television, film and commercials, members of Slang Music Group have also been working with burgeoning new talent from all over the world. We create content presentations for both the boardroom and the web. This year we launched a library of economical, easily licensed music for use in creative projects. www.Slangmusicvault.com was developed in hopes of creating new collaborations with creatives everywhere. We have created thousands of high quality music tracks for this purpose. Hopefully someone out there has written perfect songs for some of them. In 2021, Slang Music Group is evolving, creating original long format and digital content for television and theatre.

GO BANG! Magazine: Recently a new documentary titled “Legacy: From Soulful Horns to House Music” premiered here in Chicago on WTTW on Friday, November 13, 2020. You directed, produced and narrated it. I viewed the show, as did many others that I know. Tell us what inspired you to bring that to the public, what your mission was, and if you achieved your goal.

Vince Lawrence: I grew up amongst Chicago’s music elite. I was raised on stories of the “amazing feats of music” described by people like Kanye West. I bear witness to miracles when I say that Black Chicagoans have, generation after generation, created art from nothing that changes the landscape of music worldwide. These amazing people hail from housing projects and streets that people say are impossible to survive, yet they thrive…and create. I owe a piece of my existence to my parents and these greats. My film shines a light on what they have done through the lens of how they affected me specifically. By acknowledging all of this, I hope to pay it both back and forward. These men deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and get life awards from places like the Grammys. I plan to submit this film as part of my effort to see this done while these gentlemen are still alive.

GO BANG! Magazine: More recently, on November 19, 2020 you participated in “Sleep Out: Chicago”, which brings attention to the youth homeless and trafficking population. Please explain how you feel about this tragic population and how you participate in this much needed cause.

Vince Lawrence: I grew up here. When I found out that 4,000,000 youth are homeless in the US, I was stunned because I couldn’t recall seeing homeless youth. But then, I found out that I had seen youth homelessness, I just didn’t know it. You see, it’s not just sleeping out on the street. It’s couch-surfing, sleeping in a car, or trading your body for a warm bed…that’s youth homelessness. And it happens because you age out of foster care, or tell your parents you’re gay, or your mother looks at you one day and says “I don’t want you no more.”

So, I’m supporting Covenant House Illinois starting on “Giving Tuesday”, December 1st to raise money to help thousands of Chicago youth overcome homelessness. Facebook is matching donations on “Giving Tuesday” from 7AM Central until their budget is exhausted. Please go to my FB Fundraiser and donate. Let’s show our youth that House music fans know they matter and they are not invisible. Please give on “Giving Tuesday” to my Facebook Fundraiser for Covenant House Illinois.

These days, there are so many kids displaced. Any effort to create a chance for our city’s youth is everyone’s responsibility. I am simply a man with a hill to stand on… Shouting! You can shout too, everyone can. Small contributions combined and repeated actually help.

GO BANG! Magazine: On November 19, 2020, you participated in a virtual panel event presented by Eric Williams and The Silver Room. It featured you and the legendary House music producer Marshall Jefferson. It was moderated by Duane Powell. It was titled “Chicago Created House Music.” Its purpose was to discuss everything House: including how it started, how it’s been and where it’s going. I tuned in and enjoyed every moment of it. The Silver Room has had a major influence on House culture over the years. What are your thoughts on The Silver Room’s contribution and influence on culture, and more specifically House culture?

Vince Lawrence: My relationship with The Silver Room is perhaps a little different. When I look at that group, I don’t see a business, I see people dedicated to Black positivity. I have watched Eric and his team grow their business, start a festival and share their thinking on the inter webs. I commend Eric for creating a platform to share these stories, while helping artisans extend their brands, personal or otherwise.

GO BANG! Magazine: When others in the entertainment industry reach the level of success that you have, some of them go “Hollywood” and become arrogant and cold-hearted. You seem to have not gone down that path. How have you maintained your level-headedness and why is that important to you?

Vince Lawrence: I have been lucky to have the opportunities that I have. I see every day that creatives struggle, hoping that one day they can make any sort of living doing work they love. I realize how lucky that makes me. I don’t take any of this for granted, not for a nanosecond.

GO BANG! Magazine: What are you working on now, that our readers should be on the lookout for?

Vince Lawrence: I continue to create great music for records, film and TV. I have two new films in development, LEGACY hopes to become a series and find its way into more homes via streaming platforms and such. I have new records (and a bunch of old ones) coming out via arrangements with UNITED MASTERS as well. www.slangmusicvault.com continues to be a resource for creatives spanning many genres and art forms We are also working to develop a great set of tools to help DJs all over the world to become the best version of themselves.

GO BANG! Magazine: The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Vince Lawrence: I accept this as the current reality. COVID has killed too many friends and friends of my friends. That stated, I have been working “remotely” for many, many years. My clients are literally all over the world. I have a great studio set up in my home and tools to connect to anybody anywhere. COVID presents an opportunity to refine those efforts and reach out to more people who now have to get accustomed to communicating and collaborating in this way. I won’t let this stop me; actually it’s a chance to grow. Can you imagine all that time we were wasting commuting for meetings even? When COVID is gone, who wants to go back to that?

For more information on the Sleep Out, log onto:
https://www.sleepout.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=844

You can follow Vince on ALL social media @vingoslang and on the Slang Music Group website: https://www.slangmusicgroup.com/ and http://www.slangmusicvault.com

 



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Avery Kelley is a name to keep in mind. Ms. Kelley is an up and coming writer, director and producer from the Southside of Chicago. Avery is 12 years old and entering the seventh grade. Since a little girl, she has loved everything about the Arts; dancing, singing, and her passion being writing.

While extremely talented, Avery thinks of herself as an average kid. She loves to hang out with friends, eat pizza and have sleepovers with her besties on the weekend. Ms. Kelley is an honor student at Keller Regional Gifted Center, embracing all facets of school, earning straight A’s since kindergarten. Avery has placed in her schools Science Fair, Speech Arts Competitions and Spelling Bee throughout the years. During the previous school year, Avery participated in the History Fair competition, creating the documentary “Soul Train, Soul Change”, which spoke to how Soul Train broke barriers in the entertainment industry, while being a significant part of the civil rights movement. Avery’s documentary, placed in the school, city and state competitions, advancing to nationals and winning the outstanding entry for the State of Illinois. Her documentary was also recognized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, exhibited in their digital showcase.

As hard as Ms. Kelley works on her schoolwork during the week, she just as passionately pursues her love for the Arts on the weekend. Avery has studied dance at Studio One Dance Theatre for the past 10 years, taking Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop and African dance. Avery has also participated in the Chicago Children’s Choir for two years. Singing and dancing have always made Avery happy, but her passion is writing. In the words of Ms. Kelley, “I write with every emotion, when I am happy, sad, afraid or mad. My outlet is my journal, telling stories that I want the world to see. It is my dream to have one of my scripts someday turned into a television series.”

Most recently Ms. Kelley has penned a dramatic comedy, which she states is inspired by some of her life experiences. Avery began writing this series during Spring Break of 2018. Ms. Kelley states, “I decided to write a script for a television series, because I wanted to see a show with a different concept than many of the shows you see today. So, I decided to create my own.” In Spring 2019, Ms. Kelley filmed a short episode of her series, entering it into the Mustard Seed Vision Youth Film Festival. At this festival, Ms. Kelley was awarded the Leadership award for her work. Since then she has been writing full speed ahead, working on various creative projects, and continuing to take classes to hone her craft.

Avery Kelley’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, drive and perseverance has her shooting for the stars. Her sentiments are that “many writers start small, growing their work into award winning pieces. This is the dream I have for my work. Although young in age, I know I can have BIG dreams. And with commitment and dedication, those dreams can turn into a reality. I am committed, I am dedicated, I am history in the making.”


GO BANG! Magazine: How did you get involved in so much business and entertainment activity at such a young age?

Avery Kelley: I’ve always loved entertainment. My parents say that when I was younger, I would say “when I grow up I want to be in there” (pointing at the TV). In the summer of 2018, I got in trouble with my parents for abusing my phone privileges (texting non-stop) and the punishment was I couldn’t use my phone for a week. To help me find an alternative outlet, my mom bought me a writing journal. Initially, I loved it because it was pink and had my favorite animal, a flamingo, all over. But the upcoming days, revealed a passion that I hadn’t realized was there. This was the summer that I started writing my first scripted series. Fast forward a couple months later, I started practicing the script with my friends at school during recess.

At the beginning of the new year, my mom asked how were things going and I responded “you are hindering my life dreams.” I explained this passion I had for writing to my parents and let them read my journal. They were impressed and said, we will help you as much as we can and try to help you connect with people who have more expertise. They suggested for me to contact a local talent agency and tell them my story. I did, and the agency responded telling me about a Youth Film Festival that was being hosted by Mustard Seed Vision. I created a short film, as a preview for my series for the festival. It was all I ever dreamed of. My parents saw my commitment and excitement in this process and decided to help me pursue my dream of becoming the youngest screenwriter of a scripted television series or feature film on a major platform/network. I work hard daily, every extra moment I get from school work, to make this dream come true. I’m just getting started.

GO BANG! Magazine: Mom, (Amy Kelley) please describe Avery to our readers who may not be familiar with her.

Amy Kelley: “We are blessed to have Avery as our child. Don’t get me wrong, she still is a 12-year old girl. However, she is a great kid. Avery is fun loving, hardworking, and compassionate. She loves to talk…loves…to…talk!!! She is passionate about all things that mean something to her, like her family, her friends…HER WRITING. Avery has a work ethic that is truly amazing. I have watched her in the past two years, commit to learning about being a screenwriter and director. She has taken classes, attended seminars, even asked for books on the topic for Christmas. Often, when we ask her what she is doing (when she is super quiet in her room), she will say…WRITING. Her passion to succeed in this field in undeniable, and even at 12 years old, she is willing to put in the work.”

“But she also has a passion for others. She believes there is a star in the sky for everyone, and loves to see others shine. Her passion, work ethic and drive make me proud, but her heart and caring for others, let me know I am so blessed to be her mom.”

GO BANG? Magazine: Dad, (Charles Kelley, Jr.) how does it feel to have your little girl growing up and becoming a young, black businesswoman?

Charles Kelley, Jr.: “It is a really cool process to see on a daily basis. I feel extremely happy or simply full of joy to see my daughter Avery work so hard to be good at what she chooses to do. As a parent, you want the best for your children, so you offer opportunities and you sacrifice your wants so they can have their needs. What Avery is really good at is the hard work in her preparation, the little things that many will never know about, but I see it daily.” 

“My joy is to see Avery perform or the performance. I love seeing the finished product because I know how hard she worked to get to that point. My daughter, my heart, is all I ever wanted and I am extremely happy with the Lords blessing, to witness her growth, development and her gifts to this world.”

GO BANG! Magazine: I first became familiar with you after seeing you on television on ABC7 Chicago’s “Windy City Live” this past July. Many others may know you from your “Tweendom” online talk show on the Restream.io platform. For our readers that may not be familiar with the show, please describe your show and what Restream.io is.

Avery Kelley: “Tweendom Talk Show” is a talk show I created for the kids, the teens, and everyone in between. The mission of this show is to inspire youth to be creative, live outside the box, and have fun while doing it. I had the idea for a similar concept for this show prior to COVID. However, when the pandemic struck, I felt like it would never become a reality. I discussed my anxieties with my friends, family and came up with a way to make it work during a pandemic. The show is livestreamed every Friday night at 6:30pm CST on YouTube and Facebook. It has been a great way to reach an audience during the pandemic, and has allowed me to get a better understanding of production. I produce the entire show myself, coming up with weekly topics, finding guests, creating advertisements and other tasks. I am having a blast and have met a lot of great people along the way.

“Restream.io” is a platform that allows me to multi-stream “Tweendom Talk Show”. Restream.io provides multi-streaming services, allowing a live broadcast to stream to more than one social media platform at a time. Without using Restream, I would not be able to stream the show to both YouTube and Facebook. It makes things work, just the way I envisioned.

GO BANG! Magazine: Your short documentary “Soul Train Soul Change” is a tribute to the legendary “Soul Train” television show, and was originally a school project, but it went national. Please explain what motivated you to create the film, how it went national, and how has your life changed since bringing it to the public.

Avery Kelley: My documentary “Soul Train, Soul Change” began as a school project. Every year the 6th grade class at my school has to participate in the “Chicago Metro History Fair” which is a part of the “National History Day” competition. This year’s theme was Breaking Barriers in History, but our teacher required that our topic have Chicago historical context. The competition allows you to submit your project in the form of a paper, exhibit, website, performance, or documentary. Considering my passion for film, I decided to create a documentary.

My inspiration came from watching the television series American Soul on BET. In watching this show, I realized the barriers “Soul Train” broke in the entertainment industry and in doing research, learned of its Chicago historical ties, and therefore selected “Soul Train” as the topic for my History Fair project. After months of hard work, I finally finished the project. It went from winning the school wide competition all the way to placing in the national competition. At nationals I was awarded the Outstanding Entry for the State of Illinois and my project was also selected to be highlighted at the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s virtual showcase. I am so blessed that my project was recognized in this manner.

GO BANG! Magazine: You write for television and for film. Where do the ideas for your writing come from?

Avery Kelley: My ideas for my writing mainly come from my real-life experiences. I am inspired often by day to day occurrences with friends and family. There will often be situations that stick out in my mind and from there my mind drifts off, my imagination kicks in, and I create entire story lines based on one small funny thing that has occurred. I think it’s my way of communication. I write at all times. When I get excited, I run to write…when I am sad, I run and write and when I am frustrated…you guessed it, I grab my journal. The ideas and inspirations can come at the strangest times, but it makes me so happy.

GO BANG! Magazine: Who inspires or motivates you to create?

Avery Kelley: My parents and my grandma inspire and motivate me to create. They are supportive in all that I do and that is motivating and inspiring for me. I have a few favorite creators that I find truly inspiring. A couple of those are Ava DuVernay and Tyler Perry.

Ava DuVernay is a huge inspiration for my work. This is because she uses her platform and her craft to show her audience empowering stories about Black people in America. Her projects such as “Selma”, “Queen Sugar”, “Cherish the Day” and “A Wrinkle In Time” are projects highlighting African Americans that is used to entertain, but also shows them in a positive light. These are types of work I would like to create. The work that she is creating is inspiring an entire generation and I hope to be able to do the same.

I am also inspired by Tyler Perry. He came from the ground up, when building a name for himself. He went from being homeless, to having one of the largest movie studios in the United States. To see his projects featuring primarily an African American cast, is very empowering to watch. I strive to one day create projects that show minorities in a positive light and become the youngest screenwriter of a scripted series or feature film on a major platform. To see Tyler Perry reaching his goals, expand his craft and continuously branching out in the entertainment field is very inspiring, and lets me know that I can achieve my goals too.

GO BANG! Magazine: You are also the CEO of a corporation named Inspired Melanin, LLC…your own company. Tell us how you started a company and what is its purpose?

Avery Kelley: In August 2019, I established the production company “Inspired Melanin”. The mission of this company is to create projects positively highlighting people of color, their journey and experiences. As I began writing and creating, I realized that I wanted to establish a production company that would allow me and others to create programs highlighting our community in a positive light, hence the name, “Inspired Melanin”. My parents assisted with getting all of the legal stuff done to form the company. They are very instrumental in making sure my vision is illustrated in the works of this corporation.

GO BANG! Magazine: Unfortunately, the Arts have been eliminated in many schools, due to budget restraints and underfunding of schools. Please describe how important it is to you to keep arts in schools and in your life as a teenager.

Avery Kelley: The Arts have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Knowing that so many programs have been eliminated from schools is very disturbing to me. Art programs in schools expose many talented students to a variety of opportunities. It is a shame to know that schools around the country have been eliminating these programs.
For me, like many other students, the Arts are an outlet that highlights the various skills I learn in the classroom. My passion for writing is an extension of skills I gained in school, my love for dance is only improved by concepts I learned in math class. They go hand in hand, one enhances the other. I hope that the schools will find the proper funding to put these Art programs back into the picture for kids to experience, learn from and explore.

GO BANG! Magazine: When you’re not working or writing, what type of things do you like to do for fun?

Avery Kelley: When I’m not working and writing, I love to dance. I have been a dancer at “Studio One Dance Theatre” for the past 10 years and training in dance is one of my favorite things to do! I look at myself as a normal preteen. I like to talk to my friends on the phone or FaceTime, ride my bike and of course, go on social media…especially Tik Tok.

Since starting to write, I enjoy watching television a lot more. I now find myself dissecting shows, watching the editing, the costumes, the lighting, and other facets of a show. Writing has made watching television a much different experience for me now. Now, watching television is like taking a truly fun class.

GO BANG! Magazine: The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it personally?

Avery Kelley: Socially, I am having a hard time during the pandemic. I am an extrovert and love interacting with people. Not being able to see my friends and family has been hard. I also miss activities like dance class, and going to the beach with friends. But I recognize that for my parents and me, social distancing is the right thing to do, to keep ourselves and others safe.

GO BANG! Magazine: What is next on the agenda for you? Do you have any projects lined up for later in the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic that you can tell our readers about?

Avery Kelley: During the pandemic I have written a ton. I have brand new projects coming up. Unfortunately, I cannot say much about it. However, I am working with my parents on creating a philanthropic piece to Inspired Melanin. I love to serve others and want to make sure that passion is also incorporated into my business.

I’m excited about the future, during the pandemic and beyond. I always plan on reaching for the stars.

GO BANG! Magazine: On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.” This incident has caused civil unrest and massive protests across the world. How do you feel about this unfortunate situation and call for police reform due to the horrible treatment of minorities by the police?

Avery Kelley: This situation has been very difficult for me. I watched some of the news clips with my parents. As a 12-year-old black girl, it was difficult to see someone who was a similar build to my dad, harmed by people who are meant to protect us. Luckily my parents have had conversations with me to soothe my fears. I mentioned to them that I don’t ever want to see people judged just because of the color of their skin. They told me that my hopes were similar to those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, where “people one day would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” So, I continue to move forward, hoping in the near future that this dream will be realized.

Social Media Links:
Inspired Melanin

Facebook: Inspired Melanin LLC
Instagram: inspiredmelaninofficial
Website: http://www.inspiredmelanin.com 
(See the “Soul Train Soul Change” video on the website)

Tweendom Talk Show
Youtube: Tweendom Talk Show

Avery
Instagram: averyk_official

ABC7 Chicago news spot:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AiWn5nH8Qs




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram