Doing Good

by Thornell

Maybe it’s my background as a Boy Scout in New York State or watching my Dad jump in wherever he was needed in our town, or Allison’s first hand experience watching the books at her father’s PS Recording Studios in Chicago – where everyone always seemed to have an open tab – which fostered our attitudes about ‘being of service’ to the creative community. The irony of cutting our teeth in the notoriously cutthroat business of Entertainment is that there’s always an opportunity to do “good” if you’re looking for it.

Our very first project as The Ovation Agency was the launch event for the now multi-award winning film “95 Never Looked So Good.” My friend Tymm Holloway had directed a wonderful short about his then 95 year old Dad. Allison and I convened in Las Vegas to produce a Premiere party during the Las Vegas Black Film Festival. Held in the Presidential Suite overlooking Las Vegas, the event exceeded anyone’s expectations. While we weren’t compensated in a traditional sense, we viewed it as an opportunity to build relationships. And also, to honor an Elder. Tymm’s father, Simeon Holloway was a member of the B1 Band. Based in North Carolina, they were the U.S. Navy’s first all-black band in 1942. We take no credit for the heart of the film, yet it was the first of other human centered opportunities to serve.

Grammy winner and 2x Oscar nominated songwriter Siedah Garrett was looking for a team who could help market her latest song with a social bent “G.H.E.T.T.O. ft. Common (Greatness Happens Even Though There’s Oppression)” during the run up to the Grammys. Gamely going along with our campaign plan to push custom content out via digital platforms, Siedah, who had recently shared her diagnosis with MS, followed our crazy notion about highlighting her relationship to Compton,CA where she had spent her formative years. The campaign started with Saturday morning ‘community clean-ups’ in her former hometown. We trekked to Bakersfield for a student assembly at The Hall of Fame, and further on to Oakland where Siedah visited inner city schools and was celebrated by the music community there for the 30th Anniversary of “Man In The Mirror”. We finally closed out with a student assembly and performance at L.A. High from where she had graduated. Along the way, we all realized that the gold grammophone wasn’t actually the goal – it was, in actuality, touching the next generation and inspiring them to achieve greatness in spite of their present circumstances. Siedah’s got a new song out dedicated to George Floyd “The New Frontier (Say Their Names)” All proceeds benefit Black Lives Matter – guess who got a call to help?

Four years ago in the midst of the Grammy frenzy around rapper Kendrick Lamar, I received a phone call from a dear friend and colleague Vivian Scott-Chew saying that George Clinton needed some PR support during Grammy week. I jumped at the opportunity to work with a legend like Dr. Funkenstein. I’m here to tell you, he’s the most down to earth guy. I personally chauffeured him and his wife in my blacked-out Camry to events on his itinerary like Essence Black Women in Music and the Billboard Power Players party where he was swarmed for autographs from all the VIPs. Afterwards we began to work with his granddaughters in Kandy Apple Redd. This first wonderful weekend forged a relationship which culminated last year with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. My Grammy highlight last year occurred while we were exiting the red carpet.  I had noticed Dionne Warwick taking a breather in a tent, so I asked if George could say “hello” and right there before my eyes I got to witness a superstar reunion of intergalactic proportions. I love working with veteran artists. Many have seen it all, yet often haven’t yet received their just due. We’re committed to making sure that happens.

So, there you have it. The spirit of service learned as kids, coupled with a deep well of relationships is what keeps us going growing from year to year.

How can we do some “good” with you?