Dr. Derrick Payne’s gleaming white smile is familiar to a lot of the city’s entertainment lovers from the events he’s helped to produce. by Tony Jones
Special to the Tri-State Defender
Dr. Derrick Payne’s gleaming white smile is familiar to a lot of the city’s entertainment lovers from the events he’s helped to produce.
From several ATL-styled events engineered by CGI Entertainment mogul Curtis Givens to last year’s Battle of the Bands at Melrose Stadium, increasingly when people see Payne’s logo as part of the production team it’s become like an assurance of an honest, well-produced event.
| Dr. Derrick Payne, pictured here with his daughter, Demi, has hooked up once again with partners Aaron Jones and Alan Holman and the result unfolds as the Family Day Whiteout Extravaganza this weekend. (Photo by Warren Roseborough)|
Giving a nod to Booker T. Washington High School and the success story brewing there, Payne drops props to his Alma Mater, Hamilton High School, for nurturing a sense of teamwork that has proven invaluable to him in the pursuit of entertainment marketing.
“I was on the football team and the idea of team was something that I grew up with, so it’s just become natural in this entertainment thing. The guys that I do this with, Aaron Jones and Alan Holman are the real visionaries,” he said.
“People know us as the Reunion Memphis team. We all graduated together, so we planned a reunion for the Class of 1988 and it became a big event supported by people from all over the city. We’ve stuck together since and now we’ve grown to this event. Alan lives in D.C., where he handles the web based imprint. Aaron handles the talent and I handle the marketing.”
Payne said attendees should come expecting many surprises.
“In the event planning process we’ve learned of so many diverse types of talents in our youth that aren’t showcased enough. We’ve had calls from so many parents and kids that want to be a part of the show that we’ve gone from planning on a couple of acts and some music to having ten acts, including several types of dance groups and ballet,” said Payne.
“We want to expose the audience to the wider range of entertainment and talent that these kids have to offer.”
While dentistry clearly is his main focus, Payne said working the entertainment projects have become an interesting and fun outlet. He’s embraced the behind the scenes role and says he’s learned a lot by working with Givens.
Payne’s collaborative spirit last year led to successfully bringing the Battle of the Bands to Melrose Stadium, where he met two of the city’s most promising young rap talents, including Young Phenomenon, the stage name of 16-year-old Cory Coats Jr., whose father produces the event.
“Man that kid is something else. And that’s where I met Lil Peanut and saw him perform for the first time. He’s the first one we called for this event.”
While he admits that he likes a lot of gangsta raps grooves, Payne doesn’t do much, if any, business collaborating on shows in the hardcore market.
“I don’t have anything against the hardcore market,” he said, “and it’s not because I’m getting older. I bump it sometimes, but what I’m finding more and more is that there are not enough family-based events,” he said.
“Again, I go back to Curtis (Givens). I’m really in the background on his events, but he’s done such a terrific job of bringing the glitter of ATL and the glamour of LA to the Memphis audience. As a matter of fact, that is how the idea for the Family White Out was formed. My six year old would see me and my wife getting dressed to go to the All White or the All Black Affair and she wanted to go as well.
“So it occurred to me that maybe something like this would work and I think we’re going to have a successful event. We’ve had a lot of calls from people saying they’re going to support the event and I hope they will come and participate.”