Alumnus returns for educational symposium about music industry

Student group Esteem Music Group held a seminar to help students seeking to work in the music industry.

“We just want to help students follow the right path into the music industry,” said EMG founder Ivan James, 21, a third year business administration student from Pensacola.

“Breaking into the Industry,” a symposium on educating students on how to achieve excellence in the entertainment industry, was held Feb. 23.

The symposium featured Dave Smith-Hurricane Dave from Blazin’ 102.3-and Keith Clinkscales, co-founder of Vibe Magazine and former CEO.

Clinkscales, who graduated magna cum laude from Florida A&M University and received his MBA from Harvard Business School, works with ESPN Publishing as Senior Vice President & General Manager.

“It’s important to learn how to play the corporate game. Read everything you can about your field of interest, and become the master of your art.

“You are going to fail from time to time, but get back up and get right back into the game. Keep your faith in God not just the people around you,” Smith said.

Kiante Key, 19, a second year nursing student from Atlanta, was very impressed by the information that was given at the symposium.

“I thought that the program was very insightful for those who showed up,” Key said.

“I just wished that more (people) would have come out. I know there are a lot of people that want to be in the industry, but don’t have the drive to come out and be a part of something like this,” he said.

Clinkscales seemed excited to be back at his alma mater.

“It always feels good to come back to FAMU-just to see the faces and the look at the drive in their eyes,” Clinkscales said.

Although not as many people responded as the seminar organizers would have liked, Clinkscales was still optimistic about what was in store.

“Right after Kevin Lyles came in October, we reserved the arena and began work. We wanted more people, but there was such a lack in resources,” James said. “We have lots of great connections, like Juelz Santana and reps from Universal Records.

And hopefully we’ll be able to bring even more people to campus.”

One of EMG’s members, Brianna Nelson, 21, a third year business administration student from Tallahassee, said, “I enjoyed it for the most part, I learned a lot about breaking into the industry and the turnout was pretty good for what it was.”

Students recalled on personal highlights from the symposium.

“My favorite part was the question and answer session,” Nelson said.

“You could really tell that the people who came were thirsty for knowledge about the industry, and just exhilarated to answer and participate.”

“What I liked best about it was that (Clinkscales) seemed so down to earth and personable, even though this man is the senior VP of ESPN and co-founder of Vibe,” Nelson.

Clinkscales and Smith challenged the audience to act as a community, work collectively and get active.

“It’s important to let people know that it requires lots of persistence and focus to get into the industry,” said Clinkscales.

“Stay level-headed and build relationships because the entertainment industry is like a chess game. You always have to be two steps ahead and (be) ready to make your next move,” said Smith.

“This symposium is just an opportunity for us to give individuals a way to be successful, inspire them to go after their dreams and give them the knowledge and opportunities to follow them,” said James.

“EMG is trying to build up the lack of black publishers and basic lack of color behind the industry.

“I think we [EMG] have very driven leaders and the future is bright,” said Nelson.

As far as projects going on in the near future for EMG, they want to have workshops in the middle of March on basic business skills, copyrighting and marketing techniques.

For more info on the Esteem Music Group you can contact them at

Contact Yewande Addie at