October 27, 2010

Eddie Bradley: Emperor of Tha Block

Upon first sight, Eddie Bradley comes across as a boss of bosses. Though often seen at the studio dressed in laid back attire, he manages to command the attention of all of those around him with his vision and his drive. Standing tall and regal he has managed to build an empire which crosses all genres of music and business yet remains deeply rooted in Harlem, NYC.

Mr. Bradley recently sat down with me (Aisha Nailah) to share his past, present, and future endeavors. I found it to be absolutely inspiring and hopefully you will too.

Aisha Nailah: Hello Ed. 

Eddie Bradley: Hello.

Aisha Nailah: So, Tha Block Party Live has been running for almost 7 years now right?

Eddie Bradley: Almost 7 years. Correct.

Aisha Nailah: Ok. Great. What sparked the creation of Tha Block Party Live?

Eddie Bradley: Well, I grew up on 142nd Street and one day Damon Dash came around the way (this was around the time of the Best Of Both Worlds Album) and asked us what did we want, what did we need. What I decided to do was ask him for some money to throw a boat ride. So I took the money from the boat ride and I bought some musical equipment to launch a music production company and maintain beats. The funny part about it is that I'm not musically inclined but people on the streets were saying they wanted to come up in the studio and do beats and everything. Well the company was slow getting off the ground the way I wanted to but I had all of this equipment so I knew I had to find a way to promote the company. Late one night I was watching TVand I saw a commercial for public access television saying come on down and learn how to do this, learn how to do that, learn how to use the equipment and get your own show. I thought about it and said that would be a great way to do promotion. Even though it would only be aired in Manahttan I would still get to touch a larger number of people than I would if I was just out here giving out fliers. I mean I would still have to network and everything but I would be taking it up a notch by being on television. After completing the orientation I had to do a special. I had some friends get in front of the camera and we did some snapping. So I had Herb McGruff and a few others on there and then just with the special it really took off. So I got my time slot and things picked up really fast. Originally I wanted Tha Block Party to be a talk show similar to Letterman or Leno. My very first host was Capital J (Def Comedy Jam). I wanted him to bring on this talk show form but also be funny and every week we had a musical guest. When Capital J left my homeboy D came in and decided he would host the show. We started having artists come down and taking phone calls. The show was a hit before but now my phone was blowing up with people wanting to come on the show to promote themselves. I would have them come down and perform and I'd give them a copy of their performance on the show. That was the creation of Tha Block Party and that's a lot like how it is now but we're a lot more organized than we were back then. We're sort of an entrepreneurship. I'm like the first line of promotion for a lot of these people especially if they are doing things independently and I enjoy the fact that I can really help someone's career. 

Aisha Nailah: Wow! Okay... Alright well I know you've done A LOT of shows over the years but is there any one show in particular that really sticks out in your memory?

Eddie Bradley: Let me see... I guess all of my shows really stand out because they all were different. They all were unique. We've had Rakim's son on there, U-God was on there, Moon... They all really stand out. It's like your kids, you can't love one of your kids without loving the other one. 

Aisha Nailah: Right, right. What's the most important lesson you've learned throughout your years of production?

Eddie Bradley: Keep it new.  That's one of the most important things. With production things are always changing. Keep it new. Keep it fresh. Always do better than the last thing you did. For instance now we've developed an internet television station called ThaBlockParty.TV and with this you'll have Tha Block Party Live, you'll have TB News. Actually this Saturday we're going to start TB News and putting out on Youtube so it will be sort of like our "we're coming" party. We have a wonderful reporter by the name of Christine. We're going to share our views on news that happened throughout the week. We're going to have talk shows, game shows, sitcoms, dramas... We're actually looking for other producers to work with. We're getting a lot of phone calls, people are definitely liking the direction we're going in. So that's it. You can't stay the same, you have to be innovative and keep up with new technology and things like that. 

Aisha Nailah: So is your show lineup complete?

Eddie Bradley: Well I can't go too much into the sitcom and the dramas because everything hasn't been cleared with the writers 100% as of yet but right now I'm trying not to make it too much documentary. I want to be more like a FOX with a little mixture of USA. Where we bring you original shows but shows by other producers as well, current events and things like that. The first thing is that we're going to be doing Tha Block Party Live broadcasting live from from the Times Square Arts Center. Originally we were supposed to start in November but I'm working on my radio campaign so we're launching it in early January. We're going to be doing a lot of giveaways; sort of like an amusement park for adults. You'll  be able to come down, listen to music, enjoy Tha Block Party showcases...It will be showcases and networking. As far as TBN News we'll be broadcasting live at the end of the year as well but for now we're starting out on Youtube to get it out there. We have a talk show and we're looking to get another talk show as well. We have a great crew of people so that definitely helps also. 

Aisha Nailah: Sounds like a great lineup. Well, going back to Tha Block Party, it has definitely evolved over the years so how would you describe it? 

Eddie Bradley: I describe it as the first line of promotion for young entrepreneurs whether it be music, fashion, comedy; if you're out here trying to make a name for yourself I'm usually the first person you will come to see. I don't charge for Tha Block Party, I let people come on and promote their websites, CD's, their fashion...We have a lot of designers, magazine editors, authors. I let everyone come on there and really show who they are as long as it's original. It's a time for them to use their own music and show what they do. It's very raw and uncut. 

Aisha Nailah: Are we going to be seeing any music videos or movies produced by Ed Bradley in the future?

Eddie Bradley: Music videos I don't think so. When I first started production I was offering music video production to hip hop artists for free but right now I'm just producing these shows for Tha Block Party TV. My goal though is to get into film eventually. 

Aisha Nailah: Great. Now if anyone has any sitcoms or show ideas that they would like to see on Tha Block Party TV how would they go about getting it on there? 

Eddie Bradley: Well if you're producing and you're looking to get shows on there you can email us at info.thablockinc@gmail.com . Another thing about the website that makes us stand out from what other people are doing is that Tha Block Party TV will be totally interactive. I want everyone to feel like they're a part of this. We'll be having a lot of surveys to get people's input and chat rooms where people can discuss the shows and leave their opinions. Like I said it's raw and uncut, we're not holding anybody back from saying whatever it is that they want to say, everybody's opinion is valuable to me. 

Aisha Nailah: I see... So what if there was someone viewing Tha Block Party TV and they decided: Hey I would be a great news reporter, would you be open to receiving resumes?

Eddie Bradley: Well yeah. They can email their inquiries to castings.thablockinc@gmail.com. If anyone would like to be a party of Tha Block Party Live audience they can email us at  showcasting.thablockinc@gmail.com.

Aisha Nailah: Okay and are you currently looking for sponsorship?

Eddie Bradley: Sponsorships of course! Being that it's a television station we will be doing commercial sponsorships and we'll also be doing ad banners... We've been speaking to a lot of people and companies and we're always open to discussing business with anyone interested.

Aisha Nailah: Great. Now Ed, where do you see you see yourself being 5 years from now?

Eddie Bradley: In 5 years from now we're looking to be bigger than broadcast television. We're looking to utilize the interenet especially that we're FCC unregulated right now to give the people what they want. After this we're looking to do Tha Block Party TV International.

Aisha Nailah: Alright...

Eddie Bradley: Actually Tha Block Party Live International...We'll be doing that next. 

Aisha Nailah: Tha Block Party Live International.... WOW!!! That will definitely be something.

Eddie Bradley: Well overseas they look at just about everything that we do so we might as well start giving them their just desserts also.

Aisha Nailah: I hear that! Well thank you so much for your time and for allowing me to do this.

Eddie Bradley: Thank you!

Tha Block Party Live can be seen every Monday night at 11:00 P.M. on MNN network in Manhattan or via the web at www.mnn.org (channel 56). 

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