by Jimmy Smooth

So last year, this dude brought Eric and Jeff, the two brothers that make up the podcast It’s The Real, and Kelt Crenshaw, a sports agent and business mogul from Ohio, to Akron under the title “Branding Basics.” For those of you that aren’t familiar with Branding Basics, let me put you on: the event is a panel about branding and marketing hosted by Crisis M. Banks. With Crisis’s ability to rock a mic and talk shit while still being informative, the second Branding Basics event at the Rialto Theatre on Jan. 25 felt like a standup mixed with a business seminar.

Media personality Mouse Jones was brought in to do some shit-talking of his own and share the story of how he got started and maintained himself so far. Jones appeared to be very honest and transparent about his past, from things he had done in the streets of New York to finding the true solution for balancing being a parent with still being productive and handling business.

The star of the show, in my opinion, was Wayno, no disrespect to any of the other guests. I remember this guy having pictures with MCs like  Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z when Myspace was around. The Harlem native has been around some of the best in hip-hop while managing Roc-A-Fella group State Property in the early 2000s. Today, he is on Complex’s “Everyday Struggle” and still managing music artists. He is living proof that, if you stick with something, it will work. He dropped a lot of jewels. When Wayno said he had known Jay-Z since he was 18 and he was 35 now and had just moved out of the projects four years ago, you had to respect him. He said he wouldn’t have wanted Jay-Z to give him money, but he gave him opportunity. I think a lot of us could use a page from that man’s book.

READ MORE: Meet Crisis M. Banks, Akron’s 28-year-old media mogul

We can’t forget the lovely ladies that helped Crisis kick the event off: Akron’s own Ear Kandy Radio CEO Brittney C. Miller and Z88’s Stasia, who shared their knowledge about the radio industry. They made it very clear that if you are an artist giving them music files with no name, it doesn’t help them help you get your music played on their stations.

We always seem to forget about the people that work to make it happen behind the scenes. Shoutout to Aryel Nicole, who owns her own public relations company, for helping with bringing this dope concept to life. The city really needed it with the negativity that we experience here sometimes. These are the type of events that can shift minds to do great things. It’s going to take more than just LeBron to make a change in this community.

With the guys Crisis brought in this time, it only keeps you at the edge of your seat to see who he brings next time. The day before his 29th birthday, a few days after Branding Basics, Crisis posed the question on social media: Was he a legend yet? My comment was, “You got more work to do but you are on the path.” He will put in the work to live up to the hype. I hope to see you at Branding Basics next year. Peace.

Top photo: Crisis, Wayno and Mouse Jones. (Photos: Lawrence Anthony)

Reach Jimmy Smooth at jimmythesmooth1@gmail.com.

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