What’s so great about the red carpet anyway? An Interview with PR pro Ernest Jackson

One part of the industry that up and coming PR folk can never get enough advice on is how to succeed on the red carpet. In my quest to find more information on what successful red carpet events entailed, it dawned on me immediately to get in-touch with my good friend, Ernest Jackson.

Ernest dropped more than a few jewels on our readers and was so insightful, I was completely delighted to be able to have the opportunity to interview him.

Gigi Capone: How did you first get started in public relations?
Ernest Jackson: Eduardo Simmonds and myself started a company called Medinavision about 11 years ago that focused on promotions, videography & photography. After some time in business we started a tv show in York, PA called The VIP Section, where the show was a big hit. The show focused on the industry insiders and celebrity interviews. During that time I, met a young man named Durvel Wilson who was the owner of Native Son Entertainment. We instantly clicked through our love and passion for the music business, we soon connected and created a partnership called MNS Media Group.
The first PR project MNS Media group ever worked was with a Sr. Publicist named Trea Davenport. The project was assisting for a NYC press day with Kurupt of The Dogg Pound, The Hookmaster “Kokane”, DJ Quik, and Rapper 40 Glocc. The press day was very successful and the relationship formed that day with Trea Davenport, took MNS Media to another level.
Gigi Capone: How many years have you been a publicist? 
Ernest Jackson: I have been a actual Publicist for about 8 or 9 years now.  LOL wow. During that time I met alot of PR Associates including Areina Plowden & MoccaStyles Brand, who have really taught me alot in this business.
GiGi Capone: What would you say is your favorite area of publicity? 
Ernest Jackson: Fortunately I love working most aspects of PR.  I love taking a a clients dream and making it a reality.  Whether I am working a red carpet, a product launch, promoting a artist, working a gallery opening or setting up a media day for a author, we put our heart into it.
Gigi Capone: Who are some of the clients you have worked with that you would like to mention?
Ernest Jackson: Ok you asked lol, here it goes.  Undergroundgirlsofhiphop.com “Presenters of the 2010, 2011 and 2014 Female Hip Hop Honor Awards”, Grand Hustle First Lady “Bola”, Kimberly Rivers Roberts HBO’s “Treme”, BET Rip The Runway’s/Essence Model “Christina Mendez”, Legendary Grammy Winner “Queen Pen”, Justin “J Shoc” Reynolds (Seven Pounds & Tarzan II), Legendary Female Dance/Rap Group Oaktown’s 357, BET’s “Lens on Talent/106 & Park” Neo Soul artist “JeBron”, Celebrity Fitness Instructor/Owner of Curvy Chick Fitness “Charity Lynette”, UBC TV Network/LA Press Conference, ABA Basketball League Red Carpet & Afterparty, Plus Model NYC Casting event Red Carpet, ADRIAN ALICEA HAUTE COUTURE NYCFW Autumn/Winter 13’14 collection (Junior Publicist), Director of Music at BET/BET Music Matters “Buttahman”, NuVo TV network star of Curvy Girls “Ivory May”, New York Fashion Week Celebrity Benefit Show Recognizes Women with Breast Cancer and Alopecia, Love & Hip Hop ATL (Scrappy & Momma Dee Phone Press Day), Basketball Wives LA “Jackie Christie”, Bravo TV ‘s Millionaire Matchmaker “Robin Kassner”, Bounce Tv’s “My Crazy Roommate” star “Gregg Wayans”, International Jazz Star “Jimena Bautista”, Full Blossom Magazine NYCFW “Face The Sweet” Charity Runway Show, Editor In Chief of Hip Hop Weekly “Cynthia Horner” Celebrity Birthday Bash and numerous fashion events.
Gigi Capone: What projects are you currently working on? 
Ernest Jackson:
1. 2x Grammy Award Winning, Multi- Platinum Super Producer “STREETRUNNER”
2. Actresses/ Plus Super Models “Summer Wayans” (2nd Generation Wayans)
3. U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Leader Taneshia Nash Laird,
4. Teen Triple Threat “Xavier”
5. Hip Hop artist Ez The Lyrical Skitzo, Durtyflow, Michael Vettriano & Verbal Murda
6. Celebrity Fitness Instructor/Owner of Curvy Chick Fitness “Charity Lynette”
7. Celebrity Hairstylist Marisa Shockley-Wilson
8. Nikki Lukes Treats
9. Kim’s Eye On Fashion
10. Slip N Slide DJ 5053
11. Co-Judging the Face of FFF Week contest.
12. On March 29th, i’m joining Cinnamon Chips Media & TNOS to put on our 1st Women In Business Panel discussion, in honor of Womens History Month.
13. Also I Partner with Durvel Wilson of Native Son/Beneath The Surface Salon to do complete Image/Branding Packages.  That covers, Photo-shoots, Hair (Marisa Shockley-Wilson) & Make Up (Kiuana Santiago), video of the shoot and promotion of the Product/Video, when completed.  So we try to give people a one stop shop.
Gigi Capone: Can you please explain to our readers why as a publicist, it is so important to get your clients seen on the red carpet. 
Ernest Jackson: Red Carpet Visibility serves as a great opportunity for your client to be seen, to talk with the media, to engage the fans and to ultimately network with others in their field.  Depending on the media presence at a event, you can literally have your client doing more media in one day than the whole month combined.  Normally when pitching a client, mainstream media outlets have editorial calendars to work with and that may cause a delay in your client features for that month.  That’s when a few good red carpet events can really continue clients visibility and branding.
Gigi Capone: How much preparation goes into conducting the publicity for a red carpet event?
Ernest Jackson: Alot of work, lol a whole lot.  You typically start planing for your red carpet event 3-6 months out, because you have to lock in your sponsors and that can be a 3 month process to confirm. Then you have to send out your Save The Date, Press Releases and Celebrity/Media Invites. You have to follow up with each of them, while continuing to add more.  You have to coordinate with venue and work on promotional campaign for the project. Create a media tip sheet for the red carpet and order your Step N Repeat, Red Carpet, Lights and Poles.  All of that before you even step foot into the venue you are working that day.   Plus every major red carpet event I did I had my team with me and Meke Moss always stands at the front of the carpet and works those celebrities.
Gigi Capone: What was the experience like for you handling PR for your first red carpet event? 
Ernest Jackson: My first big red carpet was the Female Hip Hop Honors Awards in L.A. presented by Shylise Simpson of UndergroundGirlsOfHipHop.com.  I was very nervous.  I was prepared but nervous.  No matter how many celebrity invites or media outlets are confirmed, you never know who will show.  So right before it starts every time, I take a deep breathe and give it all I have.  That event was amazing, the media was in full force and the ladies of Hip Hop past and present showed up and represented.
Gigi Capone: In your opinion, when should artists start attending red carpet events?
Ernest Jackson: I start a client out on the red carpet from the word go. The artist should always be ready to show their face.  Make yourself memorable.  Let the media get used to seeing you on the red carpet at events.  Be friendly, extra personable.  Learn their names. They will always remember your name for the follow up story.
Gigi Capone: What advice do you have for aspiring new publicists in the music industry? 
Ernest Jackson: Before anything else set your company business in place.  Make sure your company is fully registered. You my take a few free projects to build your brand, but do it with C & D list celebrities, so you both can grow. Build your media base, always remember the media will be there when the client leaves, so never treat your media bad, no matter how big or small the outlet.  Grab a few interns to help you with client successful placements.  Make all clients sign a contract and put a lawyer on retainer, lol because you will certainly have those clients who treat you like a extra bill and try to avoid you during pay periods. Let the lawyer do all the work, while you handle other business. PR is alot of work, alot of grind, with very little thank you’s so when you do it, you have to be passionate about it, or it can be discouraging.
Thank you so much for your time and support.  Please follow Ernest Jackson on Social media at:
IG: @stricklyforthepromo
Twitter: @stricklyforthep

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