New Blood Entertainment & the Art of the Street Team… May They Rest In Piece

New Blood Entertainment & the Art of the Street Team… May They Rest In Peace
By: Brandon Kolby Jacobs

When it was good it was great. That was the unequivocal perception of us a company. And with the good came the bad and the bad was… well bad. The bad was so bad that inevitably, New Blood Entertainment, its t-shirts, its famed Street Team and notable personalities parted ways with many becoming a faded memory.  With growth of digital marketing, street teams like ours have become a dead art and the few that remain stand on the edge of extinction, with many so called street teams being nothing more than flier distributors and when asked what a street team is, they lack the understanding to define the term. This is an ode to us… the former conglomerate known as New Blood Entertainment and an evaluation of what is to become of the art of the street team…

I suppose in order to get to the ends of how a street team falls apart you’d have to start at our humble beginnings. Rodger Reiter (then Co-Founder), Jeralyn Eckhoff (V.P. of Operations &the founder of the New Blood Beauties), and myself (Co-Founder) are the originators of what became New Blood Entertainment. We started a street team with no titles, no real long term aspirations, no corporate structure at all… hell, what was the point, we were just kids trying to make a name for ourselves in Tallahassee. That structure made us friends and it worked. We helped each other be accountable and we learned the first rule of being a street team… “you’re ALWAYS available to work. There’s no such thing as a day off…

And we were good at what we did… we covered so much ground despite the fact that I pitted myself in open arguments with people like TJ Chapman (head of TJs DJs and B.O.B.’s manager), Skip-A-Chuck… a good friend of the team and supporter of our cause passed away, and my drinking became more than a habit. We became the largest street team by the numbers, presence, radio connections, and club accounts in Tallahassee. We had a lot to be proud of…

(Starting from top left, original New Blood Entertainment Street Team Members- April Anderson, Brandi Chaney, Farrah Romero, Shelondia Williams, Sheena Dixon, Katherine Orphanidys, James Casseus, Tamaa Davis)

We learned the first rule and the second was quite simple…be CONSISTENT and we were. In street team promotions you must provide more than simply the art of passing out fliers. You have to know what you’re promoting and have more to say about it than, “come to this party it’s going to be live!” Some fliers say all that needs to be said and others need to be explained. Our group of characters were sociable. James was a favorite at FAMU among the ladies. The beautiful April Anderson was stunning in her own right, captivating men with her charming good looks. Farrah kept us all organized, maintaining the scheduling of events we were promoting and where we needed to be on a weekly basis (mind you I said I was drinking a lot…lol). Shelondia (my then girlfriend) was the one that would hold us down at TCC along with Sheena. And Tamma, Katherine, and Brandi handled business at FSU. We creatively controlled the city and were damn proud of it!

Even after all these years, out impact on the city of Tallahassee rings through companies like Ice Ent. Promotions (Marquita Tyson is one of our original members) and the success of DJ’s like DJ KD, DJ Lil Boy, Sean-D of the School Boyz, and DJ Nasty from Miami (not Orlando) is something we can say we were a part of, even if in a small capacity. In this we learned the other rule of a great street team… “leave your options open to evolve.”

What happened next, I have to take the blame for. For my company specifically, I did not handle our first struggles well. As we grew and my name became the one on most people’s lips, I grew increasingly more arrogant. Not to mention I DID NOT listen to the next rule “DON’T FUCK OR FUCK WITH ANY OF THE GIRLS IN YOUR STREET TEAM.” That’s a hard rule not to break seeing as how you’re with them all the time. Nonetheless, it’s a good and IMPORTANT rule one I should have held on to, but because I didn’t, things happened and I was forced to leave Tallahassee for personal reasons. Some people still haven’t forgiven me for them. But I still had Rodger on my side…

Rodger and I before Homecoming Edition of TJs DJs 2005

When you’re looking for your way through the tough times go back to what you do best…” I was lucky to slip and fall on Toya at the end of 2005 because if we had never met, New Blood would’ve ended when I left Tallahassee and returned to Jacksonville, but I was blessed to meet someone who was equally as passionate as I USED to be about promoting. She taught me something I didn’t really learn until about a year ago… “sometimes you have to go along to get along.” But I wasn’t the go along to get along type back then and I fought EVERYONE for EVERYTHING and even in my continued arrogance and stubbornness, we grew to the largest street team in Jacksonville and everything lost in Tallahassee was gained here in Jacksonville (even with Bigga Rankin throwing bottles at my head and me and Ivory being “frienemies”). But you can’t battle the world and sometimes the enemy of your enemies isn’t the best person to make friends with… it just makes you even more hated by your enemies…

 How did things start by brandonkolbyjacobs 

“Never forget what you came here for. Because when the money starts coming in, it’ll be easy to forget what the mission originally was…” I’m proud say that by 2006 we were the sole street team for Tom Fisher and the Plush Entertainment Complex (the most notable club in Jacksonville) and by 2007 we were promoting for them, Club Paris (Jamie Siem TOTALLY over paid us with $2000 a week…lol), SOL-US Tanning, and other events around the city. In 2007 New Blood Entertainment made $72,000. Now we spent tons of cash on parties, liquor, women (well I spend tons of money on my women of interest), Bluetooth’s (that would be me again) and I stopped studying the market, completing marketing analysis to determine how people were receiving their information (didn’t take digital mediums like Myspace and Facebook seriously then). I started throwing out fliers if we had a few left over (something that wasn’t common in the early days because we never took days off so we never had any fliers left ove)r. I stopped checking on the team to make sure they were working and eventually… well… all our extracurricular activities did us in. “You have to know how what you’re doing is changing! You have to be the first to bring an idea to the market in street team work. Being a day late will always make you a dollar short!”

New Blood Entertainment Spring 2007

 Discussing why we couldnt deal with each other by brandonkolbyjacobs

And as I said previously, with great success comes some great failures. By January of 2008 I had done my two most successful parties to date, the street team was making tons of money, we had more work than we knew what to do with and had won “Street Team of the Year” at the Duval Awards (we got jipped at the Diamond Awards… me thinks someone was still mad at me…lol). But with the success Toya began to like me less (I can see why now) and Damon (my right hand homie) began to feel like he wasn’t appreciated and then I made the worst decision for the company that I could possibly make… I went into business with D. Wash on a club in the middle of nowhere with no sound liquor license! I guess I just KNEW I was hot shit… And so I went into a deal with Pulse Lounge thinking I could run a recurring night, do street team promotions, manage a DJ, manage artist and beat Ivory’s Friday night at De Real Ting (I told you I was arrogant). Well like I said before you have to leave yourself open to evolve, but you have to have the manpower and maturity to deal with your evolution when it comes. I guess I didn’t understand that part….

"It's been so long, that I really don't know what to say. What I will say is at the time, we did a great job with street team marketing. In retrospect, we could have embraced some other markets and social mediums better. Some other mediums would have proved more profitable, for example e-blasts, newsletters social networking sites. You know, "sit on (your) butt" work. But it was fun while it lasted. Love ya B!"- Toya Goodman

The Biggest Month Long Mistake…

And the quick rise to prominence came to a resounding halt with the “April Massacre” and the success we had achieved over the years in all that time meant nothing and New Blood Entertainment was disbanded in May 2008. We would go on to start another company (W.A.T.S., LLC.) but the greatness we achieved as New Blood Entertainment would not be recaptured.

 Why people started getting annoyed with me by brandonkolbyjacobs

 On Toya leaving newblood by brandonkolbyjacobs

"For me, I just got fed up. You spent so much time focused on yourself that you forgot about the team. So much of what you said was "I/me/my" related when what New Blood Entertainment was, included so many people outside of you. Yes, you were the founder, but there were so many other people who made things work. I felt like you forgot that and eventually, it was time for me to move on."- Toya Goodman

Toya would move on to focus more on her spirituality, Damon would go on to focus more on his studio recording, Marcus and I would fall out, and the majority of the girls went on to become mothers, wives, or took up regular jobs. Grand Prix has essentially been the only mainstay out of all us from the final group.

There were many street teams before us and several who would like to say that they were locally more recognizable then us… but in all honesty who can say that with any degree of honesty? New Blood brought Marcus to the forefront as a promoter, helped aid the Woodz Boys (who have come and gone) in their rise to prominence, made many models, helped push DJ D-Money forward, and is responsible for many of the last minute promotions for numerous club grand opening. When it was down to the wire and you needed the team that was going to break into a complex to get fliers in it at 5AM, if you needed promotional material snuck onto the green at the Players Championship, etc you didn’t call the Glamour Girls (and that’s not a diss) and Prestige evolved into a collection of full blown models and entertainers in their own right. When pressed for time and needing results, New Blood Entertainment was who was called, but New Blood Entertainment… no… that’s’ wrong… my arrogance separated us.

 Discussing memorable moments with newblood by brandonkolbyjacobs

 Best Promotional Event by brandonkolbyjacobs 

R.I.P. to New Blood Entertainment, may you live on in the memories of those who experienced your greatness… January 2005- May 2008