Chris grew up on a military base in Portsmouth, Va. The middle brother of five, Chris spent his toddler years with his grandparents in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Chris confided, “My childhood was interesting. I grew up in a single parent home. My mother had me during her senior year in Hampton. She had to make a decision of how she was going to take care of me and better herself, so she joined the military as an officer.” Chris grew up with the structure of a military kid and the work ethic of an old fashioned entrepreneur.
Chris and I sat down at the Revolt TV HQ in Los Angeles. I scanned the room as we approached the office and I notice an abundance of young professionals diligently engaged to Mac monitors. Chris is a graduate of Hampton University and remembered by many of his peers as a serial entrepreneur and the founder of popular marketing company, Executive Marketing. Currently, Chris is the Sr. Digital Producer for Sean Combs’ music network, Revolt.TV. Revolt is a burgeoning company, and impressively, Chris has been contributing to it’s growth from the very beginning. Chris has also garnered a strong stock in the Los Angeles nightlife by starting his own concierge brand known as Social Currency. Possessing the valuable ability to bring innovative ideas to reality is what separates Chris from many of his peers. We gladly introduce a young marketing connoisseur in this week’s #ShineHard conversation.
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Who did you look up to as a kid?
Chris: My mom and my grandparents were very influential in my life. My grandfather put my mother and her sisters through college on only a sixth grade education. He worked construction, was in the army, was in the Korean War, met my grandmother and they started a family. Just his work ethic and always being a staple for the family motivated me to want to do more. I told myself if he could it on a sixth grade education, then with the resources that I have, I can do it as well. My goal is to push the family name even further.
Tell me what your role is here at Revolt TV
Chris: Here at Revolt I’m the Sr. Digital Producer. So what does that mean? I produce content that takes place on our digital properties as well as manage the flow of our social media channels, and our online networks. Revolt.TV, our Youtube channel, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and general conversation, Any chatter that you see online, I’m responsible for that. A lot of people ask is “Revolt a TV network or a blog?” It’s all of those things encompassed into one. We’re a global brand that represents the youth and your voice.
Who are your Mentors?
Chris: I had a mentor when I was in Miami, named Javier, who was one of the main event planners in the 305. His team Varsity Lifestyle Group, they pretty much do all the major urban stuff in Miami outside of “Headliners.” He took me under his wing and really showed me the game. One half of the business is what you know and the other half is relationships. Your network really is your net-worth. Javier extended his network to me and really showed me Miami. My big brother Rahman Dukes has been a tremendous asset for me here at Revolt. He was at MTV for 15 years prior to coming here. He’s our Vice President of News and Programming. Big bro Kenny Burns has a wealth of knowledge from corporate america to entertainment nightlife. Also,Andre Harrell!
How did you go from events in Miami to music in Los Angeles?
Chris: Every event we did people would be like “It’s gonna be a movie!” Well we took it literal. Me and my brother Chris Latouche, people know him as Video Chrixx, we would shoot movie trailers for our events! We took whatever took place that night and turned it into a feature film. Check his Vimeo for to see the lineup. We did one for LeBron James, we did Simply Jess, we did Trey Songz and Dwayne Wade birthday extravaganza, All-Star weekend in Orlando. These videos allowed us to get the attention of one of the Bad Boy artists who asked us to shoot a video for him. The footage was so crazy that it got to Mr. Combs. Diddy asked, “Who shot this? I gotta get this kid out here!” So right there Chris started his journey. This is before Revolt went public. I’m still doing my thing in Miami until one day I get a call and it says, “Hey Chris, we started this thing out in LA called Revolt TV and its right up your alley. You should come out here…” I said, “Say no more.” I came to LA for a job interview and I never left.
Is there a big difference between Miami and Los Angeles?
Chris: Yes and No. Miami is a very transitional place. The perfect way to describe it is, Europe meets South America meets the south. It’s a melting pot and you get a lot of influences from different cultures. In that sense, LA and Miami are similar. LA is the capital of music and entertainment. When you’re in LA people say, “You’re acting Hollywood,” but in my opinion Miami was worse. Being in Miami was a great training ground for Los Angeles.
What’s the key to surviving in LA?
Chris: The key to surviving in LA is balance and for me it’s my spiritual center. At the end of the day, my faith has allowed me to keep things level. LA has a way of exaggerating your failures and exaggerating your successes. If you get on a high and get to feelin’ yourself too much, you can lose sight of who you are. If you get on a low, and start believing any lies you’re telling yourself, you could go off the deep end. For me, my faith allows me to stay balanced.
What is your passion and when did you know?
Chris: My passion is ideas and bringing ideas to life. It’s taking something from that piece of paper to that concept to that story board to that commercial. I love being able to work through that process. Bringing things to reality and blowing peoples minds with it. I think my purpose is idea generation and marketing things into life.
What inspires you to succeed?
Chris: What inspired me to succeed is everyone who does not get to see what I see. For people who couldn’t make it out of Virginia, that see the same thing everyday. For that kid who didn’t have a father, or grew up in a single parent home, that didn’t have somebody telling them they could do it. Also, my family legacy. I look at the things that I didn’t have growing up and what inspires me is for my kids to not want for the things I didn’t have growing up. That’s what inspires me.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career thus far?
Chris: The biggest challenge would be my patience to succeed. A lot times when you’re young in the industry, you have to pay your dues. You have to put the work in. I think with our generation there is somewhat of a tug-of-war, “we want it now” situation. We don’t necessarily want to get son’d for 10 years before we get what’s ours. With that, it’s learning that the generation ahead of us, they have a lot of game and resources. They can be hard on us because they don’t want to give it to us so easily. They worked hard to get what they have. But I do know when they finally past that torch, there is no looking back.
Social Media: What’s the Key to success & What frustrates you the most?
Chris: The number factor to success on social media is to be authentic to you and the platform that you’re using. For example, Instagram is everyone’s shiny suit. Then Snapchat is for any miscellaneous thing that may be cool for right now but tomorrow you don’t care to see it! Just understanding the platforms is key.
What I don’t really care for on social media is the fluff. Don’t buy your followers. Don’t do that because at the end of the day, engagement is the most important thing on social media. When you see someone who has 20,000 followers but they post a picture and only get 40 likes… something isn’t adding up. You may be fooling people but it’s just deceitful. Engagement is more important than following.
What would you say is the #1 Factor to your success?
Chris: I would say my perseverance, my level of patience, and my ability to adapt to adversity. During adversity you can view it with two different lenses. You can view it as, “somethings wrong so everything is all bad” or “Wait a minute, what is the blessing on the other side of this adversity?” For me, when things get crazy, I actually get excited. I know there is a blessing or a lesson on the other side of stress.
What is your long term goal professionally?
Chris: My long term goal is to have the world’s top creative agency. A mix between Donda meets 007. I just love taking an idea from that cloud that’s up here, to as far as it can go. Whether that’s television, whether that’s movies, whether it’s outer space. I definitely want to remain in music and entertainment.
What advice do you have for the aspiring music & entertainment professionals?
Chris: Your failures don’t define you, they actually prepare you for your future success. Every opportunity you receive or every opportunity you don’t receive, use it as a learning experience to prepare you. Don’t let your resume define you, don’t let your first job out of college define you, don’t let your GPA define you. If I would have let any of these things define me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Don’t disregard those things, but there are many factors to getting where you want to be. You just have to build the relationships and find a way to get there.
Johnny: Absolutely! Every failure is an omen of a breakthrough. Chris, welcome to The @ShineHardFamily.