Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamal James.
Jamal, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I originally moved to Atlanta from Oklahoma City not too long after I graduated from the University of Tulsa.
Atlanta has always been the city I wanted to reside in since middle school.
Movies such as “Boyz N The Hood” (Tre and Brandy attending Morehouse & Spellman ), and “Menace II Society” (Ronnie & Caine planning to move to Atlanta), coupled with the knowledge of Black Excellence from the Civil Rights Movement, and the HipHop music scene, were all inspiration behind my desire to live in Atlanta.
Once I was given the opportunity to make the move, I took it without any hesitation.
When I arrived to Atlanta, I hit the ground running. I immediately begin networking and reading material on how to start my own business, interned with Hot 107.9, worked music conferences, as well as created and released music.
After I settled in the new city, I gathered a small team from back home in Oklahoma and we started our company M.A.C. Entertainment, LLC(Making A Change).
Our mission has been to market, manage, and promote music and events, create entrepreneurship opportunity and be a positive impact on the youth in our community.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting M.A.C. Entertainment was a blessing however the road has been far from smooth.
I have always had the mind frame to start my own business however there is not one method that works.
It is a collaborative effort of reading, researching, studying and experiences. It is an ongoing learning process, and at the age of 23 this was all new to myself and my team. We literally had to learn on the go, and faced many trial and errors.
Growing up in Oklahoma, entrepreneurship was not common in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The majority of our parents come from the era where the message was to graduate high school and get a job or go to college and get a job. But never was it graduate high school/ or college and start your own business.
Entrepreneurship was not popular, therefore we didn’t have any mentors to walk us through the process.
Some of the struggles, in which I consider are the basics as an entrepreneur are: finances, time, resources, dedication and sacrifice.
Finances: how to obtain the money and understanding how long it will take to actually make money.
Time: knowing how to manage it, understanding that it’s literally long hours, you have to put in the time, and it’s not overnight.
Resources: knowing if you have the resources or if you have the means to obtain the resources to function as a business.
Dedication: when this thing called LIFE happens, are you able to withstand the storm and push through.
Sacrifice: what are you willing to give up, in order to achieve your mission
These are just a few of the challenges my team and I faced when we began.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about M.A.C. Entertainment – what should we know?
When we began, we functioned as an entertainment brand by creating, promoting, and marketing music, as well as promoting events. Within a decade we released six mixtapes, three albums, and consistently held 8-10 events per year, in which our most popular was our “Skate Parties”.
Although our brands foundation stems from Music and Entertainment, our philanthropic division we began titled “More About Caring” is what we are most proud of.
As a part of our mission statement, “impacting the youth in our community”, is something that we really stand on.
“In our culture, Hip-Hop and parts of the entertainment industry receives negative judgement due to the messaging that is often presented. I have always felt that regardless how our music is viewed, it is our duty to serve and be an example in our community through action.
School/Education is the most important element to shaping children. Children grow up in school, spending 8-10hrs a day (if you are involved in after school activities). Many teachers are underpaid, students are underserved, even as a teenager, this never made sense to me.
Our primary focus of community work has been in Oklahoma City. Here we have an established a rapport within the community and have created many programs from clothing and feeding the homeless, mentoring students, ACT/SAT Prep courses, and the M.A.C. To School Supply Drive. We wanted to find a way that the average person could contribute to their community on a small scale because many people want to be involved but just don’t know how. Therefore we have created opportunities for our people.
To show our appreciation to our supporters, we began our M.A.C. BBQ, which is held Labor Day Weekend. We created a day of fun where we provide food, entertainment, musical performances and activities for kids. We also have various entrepreneurs and businesses come out provide information and socialize in a family fun setting.
This is a free event, however we strongly encourage our attendees to donate school supplies.
With an attendance of over 350 people along with our supporters and various businesses we have been able to serve five schools in the OKCPS.
After many years of donating to schools in OKC, M.A.C. Ent was given the opportunity to partner with “With Love, Ari Mac” here in Atlanta, GA with focus on Cliftondale Elementary.
In its 2nd year, we have seen donation and participation increase at Cliftondale, serving over 250 students.
M.A.C. Ent has also taken on a project titled “Dollars & Sense” which focuses on Entrepreneurship and Business for 4th & 5th graders here in Atlanta, GA.
We are working to give students the opportunity to begin to understand business principals and how to apply them to their artistic abilities.
Our team mission was for our brand to grow to where we as individuals could branch out and start our own entities. Since then the following entities were created: “Chef Prince’s Catering” (by PJ Mason), “Made It Out The Hood” apparel and album “Now Or Never) (by artist/founder L-1-3) and “Ever After Wedding” & “Hero Booth”(by videographer Jay Rid).
Along with being founder of M.A.C. Entertainment, I am also Founding Partner of Dopeaholics which is a Lifestyle Marijuana Brand (Los Angeles, CA) and the Account Executive of Enchanted Branding and Public Relations (located in Atlanta, GA).
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
There is not one characteristic or quality that I feel is essential to success. I do believe that there are a few. The most important to me are being dedicated, passionate, knowing your gift and refusing to give up.
My dedication allows me to press forward and continue to put in the time, effort, and work needed to succeed. My passion keeps me inspired and keeps my soul and heart in the right place when going through the trenches. My gift allows me to lead, bring people together, execute a plan while giving me the joy to see them win and fulfill their dreams.
I want to leave you all with this. Everyone doesn’t have the same opportunity, therefore we should continue to find ways to encourage others to be open to provide information to our youth that will allow them to thrive. When we empower the youth, it makes our future brighter.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: mal405
- Facebook: Jamal Mal James
- Twitter: macentmal
So Focus Photos by R. Tolar; Zachary Toth Photography