For the Record: Reggie Berry and Jackiem Wright
When I first heard about this weekly party littered with throngs of 5 star chicks, dime pieces and “bad jawns,” I knew I had to get in. Of course, there lies the problem. With the great A.I. and other pro athletic types attending this loft-size club appropriately called “StrongBox,” crashing was harder then breaking into the White House dinner party …actually… harder than that. Cue Jackiem Wright and Reggie Berry: two of the newest “it” boys in the Philadelphia party scene and the ones to blame for your girl’s girlfriends dragging her out every Tuesday night. These two gentlemen have parlayed their penchant for hanging out with A-list celebrities in Hollywood into one of the best parties, Center City, Philadelphia has seen. Being the serious news journalist that I am (cough, cough,) finding out exactly where this seemingly out of nowhere nightlife success story sprouted from was my main objective. Well…that and finally getting in.
After first seeing you guys, I’m pretty sure the ladies want to know if you’re single, and the guys need to know where you shop.
Jackiem: Ladies: Yes, I am single and ready to mingle…..haha….Where I shop?? I have to keep my stores a secret..as we like to say Yougetcho!… Lol.
Reggie: As far as the ladies go…yes indeedy, I am single (ooowwwwwwwww.) Lol… As far as the fellas being concerned about where I shop, I’m not to sure how I feel about that…Lol.
What is it that you do exactly, I see you with countless celebrities which isn’t the easiest task unless your last name is Rose.
Jackiem: Being with and or around celebrities/athletes is a part of the business that we’re in. Our company is called The 400 PTM (People That Matter, www.the400ptm.com). It is definitely hard to label what we do because it is so broad; generally, it’s on a case by case basis depending on the client. The most simplistic way of describing it would be “Business Management.” It can range from personal management and consulting to our “Cool Kids” Tuesday events at StrongBox Lounge.
Reggie: Well The 400 PTM is a traditionally constructed business management firm at its foundation. However, there are many other things we do within our business that make it much more than just a “traditional” business management firm. It is definitely hard say I do exactly “this” or exactly “that” because there is so much to do especially in building your own business. Generally, it’s on a case by case basis depending on the client; but within the core business, I’d say our roles in particular are personal relationship/management and consulting. Then again, it’s more to it than just that lol….. One thing is for certain: we are here to save our clients’ money, help make sound decisions, and most importantly, ADD VALUE.
As two black men working in the industry, do you feel that certain obstacles are still in place, or have the tides changed?
Jackiem: Thus far, in our young careers, we haven’t come across any prejudices or wrong doing because of our race, not to say that it doesn’t exist; but thankfully, we just haven’t come across it. In regards to the tides changing, I think the election of Obama was HUGE and it had a ripple effect on the world in regards to how black men are portrayed. Reggie and I have prided ourselves on having “cross-over” appeal, and everything we set out to do is for a broad demographic. We want to be seen as Jackiem Wright and Reggie Berry and not “the two black guys.”
Reggie: You know what? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I definitely see and feel change in more than just “the industry.” I’ve been black quite some time and it feels good to actually be a part of what, in my opinion, is considered a work in progress. There will certainly always be obstacles being young and black; however, I think as along as we are working towards something positive, everything will work itself out.
If you weren’t doing this, what other profession would you be in?
Jackiem: I’ve tried some other “jobs” and I can’t imagine going back to them. I’m 100% invested into what we’re doing; failure is not an option. But if I had to pick a profession. though, I’d for sure be a European Soccer Player….they’re AWESOME!!!
Reggie: I would probably doing what I used to do, which is playing basketball…preferably here, but more likely overseas somewhere. And if money was no issue in life, I’d definitely do something musically related. I have a true passion for music.
What’s the biggest turn off with working with celebrities or industry types?
Jackiem: Celebrity/industry people are normal people like everyone else, but one quality that turns me away is when some of them are pretentious. I’m not going to name names, but there are some celebs out here that have done a TV show or two and they walk around like they’re Bill Cosby. It’s utterly ridiculous.
Reggie: The false sense of entitlement…we have been really fortunate to not encounter that many “stereotypically”-portrayed celebrities. I personally think we are all equal and I think my approach to things conveys that. It seems to be the ones barely holding on to any celebrity status at all that have “issues.” Also, breaking through some celebrities walls of comfort can be a hassle. Many times, people feel threatened that we are there to take from, rather than add value. They often keep people around them that do more harm than good. In most cases, we just want to get them to see that they can still keep that person around, but just make them an asset.
What was your biggest misconception about this industry when you started, has anything changed?
Jackiem: This one is easy….lol….my biggest misconception was that I believed people really knew what they’re doing. What I mean by that is, you have people in important positions and you would assume that they had been in that position before.
Reggie: I believed that the level or quality of celebrity/entertainer/athlete would also portray the type of people they surround themselves with. SMH boy oh boy was I off lol… It’s like the blind leading the blind in some cases.
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be, and why?
Jackiem: I don’t know if i could name anyone in particular, but my preference would be to work with someone who had the same vision as we do, and was also young (ex. NBA Rookie) as well as ambitious. Reason being, its a lot easier to work with like-minded people, and its a lot easier to work with a younger individual because they’re green to everything.
Reggie : Anybody young and intelligent, not that we are age discriminate, lol. It’s just tough sometimes because the older one gets, the more set in their ways they become. Basically, some one that “gets it.” That’s a phrase we like to use a lot and it describes a broad amount of things. To get “it” is a thing of beauty.
As always, I like to think of myself as the peaceful person. So are there any beefs, riffs, or thug wars you want to amend?
Jackiem: I’ve heard people say, “If you don’t have enemies/haters, then you’re not doing something right,” but I don’t have any beefs, wars, anything of that sort. I’m all about POSITIVITY.
Reggie: Not at all. We are all about positivity. Too busy chasing success to be involved in any negativity.
Follow Reggie and Jackie on Twitter, @JackiemW & @TheRealReggieB
I have to admit I haven’t been able attend Strongbox on Tuesday’s. It’s almost impossible and even my countless attempts at flirting/flashing the bouncer and calling Reggie beforehand hasn’t helped. But alas, it’s worth a try if you’re ever in the Philadelphia area to crash this celeb-centric Tuesday night party. Tell them The Steel Closet sent you.