Posted June 27, 2021 from the Post News Group —
By Tony Spires —
Oakland, like many major U.S. cities, has been severely impacted by recent unprecedented events. The COVID-19 pandemic leads the procession of crises that have shaken the city’s economic foundation and uprooted individuals, communities and businesses.
Arguably, one of the industries hit hardest has been that of arts and entertainment as those venues have been shuttered for well over a year.
The Oakland Business Collective (OBC) is a newly-formed group of longtime friends, all arts and entertainment professionals who decided to join forces, combine re-sources and make a difference
by revitalizing Oakland’s arts and entertainment scene.
Their ongoing mission is to explore, identify and make strategic investments and create foundational opportunities that promote job creation and sustainable, generational wealth-building in Oakland’s African American community. The principals of OBC have logged well over 200 combined years of show-biz experience.
The six seasoned African American men “of a certain age” specialize in television and film production, theatre production, all aspects of the music business, concert promotion, venue management, tour management, artist representation, hospitality, transportation, staff training and management, food and beverage, marketing, advertising, promotions, sales, radio production and programming, youth mentorship, community services and more.
With the development of five-year and long-term strategic plans in the works and extraordinary relationships in the African American media, small business, sports and community sectors, OBC is not only positioned to pilot the return of arts and entertainment to the city but to restore it to the front and center placement it formerly enjoyed in Oakland.
“I could not be more excited to be part of OBC. Working with five other distinguished professionals of this caliber is like being a part of the Bay Area entertainment dream team,” said OBC member and Oakland native Marcus King. “I feel privileged to make history once again in the very place with the same people I started my entertainment career. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to grow the Bay Area entertainment landscape while mentoring the next generation of entertainment producers and executives.”
King is a veteran film and TV executive producer of vehicles like “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” “Ray,” “Redemption: The Stanley “Tookie” Williams Story,” and numerous television specials. He’s the co-founder of the Laffapolooza Comedy Festival and Foxxhole Radio. He’s the former manager of Academy Award- and Grammy Award-winning superstar Jamie Foxx and legendary R&B recording artists, the Isley Brothers.
Tony Phruishun Spires, is an executive producer of the TV show “Gimme Five,” former talent producer of BET’s “Comic View” and talent consultant on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” He’s a veteran filmmaker, theatre artist, poet/spoken-word artist. He’s the longtime manager of comedian/actor Don “DC” Curry and served as the manager of DL Hughley, Laura Hayes and Faizon Love. He’s the founder of the legendary Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival, which helped launch the careers of many notable artists. He’s also co-founder and producing artistic director of the youth arts non-profit, Full Vision Arts Foundation.
Lionel Bea of Bay Area Productions, has been Oakland’s and the Bay Area’s leading African American concert promoter for more than three decades. Producer of the famed Stone Soul concert series and the Black Comedy Explosion, he has promoted concerts and tours by A-list artists such as Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Henry Royal has been an entertainment executive for more than 30 years. As the former proprietor of San Francisco’s DAS Club and general manager of Oakland’s Kimball’s Carnivale he hosted icons such as Eddie Murphy and Paula Abdul and helped launch the careers of legendary Oakland artists: Rap superstar MC Hammer, R&B Sensation group Tony! Toni! Toné! And comedian Mark Curry. He’s managed tours for A-list artists including: Prince, Sheila E., Lionel Richie, Patti Labelle, and Santana. He currently is the managing general partner of Royal Paramount Limousine.
Kyle Newport has been a strategic advertising and live event marketing professional for more than 30 years. He has served as an artist manager, tour manager and promoter representative. He has worked closely with artists such as: Frankie Beverly, Will Downing, Charlie Wilson and Cedric The Entertainer.
Geoffrey Pete owns Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, the famed entertainment venue and multipurpose
banquet facility in downtown Oakland where he has hosted such greats as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, Beyoncé, Sean Penn, E-40, Too Short, Jay-Z, the late Congressman Ron Dellums, Alice Walker, former Senator Barbara Boxer, Johnny Cochran and Vice President Kamala Harris.
For several decades, Mr. Pete has been involved in direct political action to advance the cause of education and economic empowerment for African Americans. On his OBC membership Mr. Pete comments, “One God, one aim, one destiny.”