Behind every successful artist is a team committed to jumpstarting their roadmap to stardom. The majority of the musicians we’ve watched blossom into superstars received their first significant break at local and small concert venues. Their live performances circulate their names within the industry, bringing in new fans, resulting in bigger shows being booked and music labels calling to sign them.
While the artist’s career begins to take off, the promoters who helped them land their first official gig aren’t always recognized properly. Ties between artists, their team, and promoters are often severed, leaving Black indie promoters with the short end of the stick. The Black Promoters Collective (BPC) is a 100% Black-owned coalition working to fight the inequality that Black promoters face in the live entertainment industry by having artists be presented both to the culture and by the culture.
“When the pandemic hit, we were able to slow down and we started to just talk and say, ‘This is our time to take a stand, come together, and discuss our culture,'” CEO Gary Guidry told AfroTech. “Through that discussion, we started to just really see a bigger picture that it was bigger than us and bigger than just doing concerts. This was about culture. This was about our culture being marketed by people who have no connection.”
From Overlooked To Booked
The BPC was formed in 2020 in response to the civil unrest that took place across the nation. In wanting to make an impact through the entertainment business, the team of executives and leaders came together to help breathe life back into the Black spirit by creating inclusion and opportunities for Black promoters.
Comprised of the top Black, veteran, and independent live entertainment promoters, the BPC aims to take the unsung heroes from often-overlooked to steadily booked.
Disrupting The Industry
Leading with six of the nation’s top independent concert promotion and event production companies, the collective is pushing the culture to center stage by putting power back into the hands of the ones who created it.
The BPC is a part of the cultural movement of “buying back the block,” as CMO Troy Brown describes it, by creating more jobs and increasing visibility of Black indie promoters based on the indispensable value that they bring to the entertainment business.
The company is not only working to amplify promoters’ voices but is also looking to recognize Black talent overall at a national and global level.
“So just not other independent promoters, but other media and entertainment properties, tech outlets like AfroTech and those that attend the AfroTech [conference],” Brown said.
He continued: “Young Black content creators, app developers, data scientists. We’re looking to partner with all those folks because we see what we’re building here is a long tail platform. We’re looking to take advantage of all the connection points associated with what we’re bringing to consumers.”
The Road To More Wins
After starting their mission in 2020, the BPC has recently garnered their first major partnership with Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Maxwell. In early 2022, the neo-soul icon is kicking off his tour, “The Night Tour,” with R&B greats Joe and Anthony Hamilton.
The majority of the BPC has worked with Maxwell before his upcoming concert, but the collective cultivated a cultural shift that drove him and his team to take a chance with the partnership.
“We have to just give all the respect in the world to Maxwell and his team for being the first one,” Guidry shared. “I can’t even say what that means to have a brand like that to be the first one to say ‘I give you guys my whole next album and my brand. You’re going to be the person that puts my brand in a box presented to the world coming out of the pandemic.’ But, it started with the culture and it’s being moved and progressed forward by the culture.”
With the BPC’s major partnership, the team hasn’t lost sight of wanting local venues and talent to also join in the ride of wins. The company will be working to partner with smaller venues and cultivate new talent to help create more work for the Black demographic and put more money into the community.
To learn more about the Black Promoters Collective, click here.
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited for clarity.