Q: Tell me about the conception of ThoseGuys/ Afrocentric?
A: Those Guys came from finally wanting to step back out on my own. I was clocking in and out from the “9-5”, building empires for other people. When you have a steady income from your job you blank out the fact you get overlooked and forgotten. When I sat down and thought about it, we are “Those Guys” behind the wins, and the accolades, the packed and busy dance floors, great relationships with venues and suppliers. I had worked hard enough to finally turn my side hustle during my 9-5 into my main and only focus. We Are Those Guys!
Afrocentric was the meeting of 2 minds dying to give the Diaspora community an event they felt comfortable in, an event they could feel proud introducing their friends and family to and a place that made them feel at home.
Q: What made you decide to launch Afrocentric in Dubai?
A: With the exception of Kiza, all of the authentically African parties took place in the deepest darkest parts of Dubai. We have a lot of house nights in Dubai and they are in beautiful, easily accessible locations. We wanted to create an event that catered to the African Diaspora but in a place that anyone and everyone would feel welcome. Afrocentric now takes place on the 1st Friday of every month at the award-winning and stunning rooftop of Pure Sky Lounge, Hilton Hotel, JBR Walk. We have a no dress code policy and no stuffy door policies. It’s about the music and making sure we are providing the best nightlife experience to everyone, whether you’re drinking a bottle of beer or bottle of champagne. #MusicForThePeople
Q: Could you tell me a little bit about the founders of Afrocentric and where they are from?
A: Cory ‘Centric’ is a well established British Jamaican DJ/Producer and had played gigs across Europe and The Middle East for the likes of Kinky Malinki, Circo Loco, Clockwork Orange, Soul on the beach, Tribe and Garage City. Cory has also played alongside heavyweights such as Todd Terry, Kenny Dope, Hardsoul, Grant Nelson, DJ Spen, Moodymanc, Charles Webster and Audiowhores.
Born in the UK, my Mother is from Dominica and Father from the Ivory Coast. I come from an events and marketing background. I came over to Dubai in 2009 and have been in the industry ever since. I’ve had the priviledge of working with artists from all over the world; Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC, Jeremy Sole, Cypress Hill, Moodyman, Karimza, Afrika Bambaataa, Goldie, DJ Marky, Roni Size, Black Coffee, Black Motion, Mi Casa, Ralf Gum, Monique Bingham, Bucie, Da Capo, Liquideep, Cuelo de Song, Vinny Da Vinci, Boddhi Satva, Goldfish, Jojo Flores, Gramophonedzie, Krafty Kuts, Gilles Peterson, Wiz Kid, Davido, D’Banj, Wande Coal, Timaya, The Bellamy Brothers, Lord Finesse, Tall Black Guy to name a few 🙂
Q: What advice would you give to other young, ambitious and black women who want to start off in Dubai’s entertainment industry?
A: If the worst thing you can do is fail then you have absolutely nothing stopping you.
Work together. I can’t stress this enough. If you can find even 1 other person to work alongside you and you can build your empire together then do so.
Always go with your gut. I am only learning this after a few years of ignorance.
Diversify. We currently do social events, product launches as well as organise events for corporate companies B2B/B2C and we are about to launch our first food truck.
The most important thing I can say is the money ALWAYS comes. Try to work from a higher place. Experience, quality and consistency should be the top of your decision when working on any project. These points, done well, will always bring the rewards, both financial and reputation.
Q: What can Dubai do better to support black people in business?
A: Promote black businesses. I see a lot of the awards, recognition events, news articles across many different industries with barely any spotlight on thriving black businesses. We know they are here, so why are they not being recognised?
A few businesses such as Finchitua, Ntombi Designs, Efro & Co, SJ9 Event Services, Kiza Restaurant and Lounge, Hair by Gerty, Exclusive Ladies Salon. The beautiful thing is they are 100% black-owned and black run businesses all self-funded. It’s time for us to be recognised.
Q: Who is your mentor?
A: Ky Dele. I met her about 4 years ago whilst working for another company in Dubai. She came over from The United States to consult our marketing and branding team at the time. We have stayed in contact ever since. This lady works incredibly hard and is an advocate for Philanthropy within the black community. She is a big inspiration to me, always offering support and advice – I call her “Big Sis”. She has worked with and continues to work with some of the best people across entertainment and sports, helping them develop their own brands and endorsements.
Q: What’s your favourite quote and why?
A: Collaborate to accumulate. Working together on special projects can often make you stronger. Having a co-pilot to bounce ideas off or pull each other back to earth if necessary. Teamwork also allows you to grow your audience.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: Maya Angelou ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ and for work ‘Brand Breakout: How Emerging Market Brands Will Go Global’
Q: What can we expect to see from Those Guys Events in the near future?
A: We have been running for a few years now. We have stumbled and fallen a few times but we have finally found our feet and are stronger for it. Now going into the next 5 years we are looking towards international events in the US and across Africa. We are also looking at taking the next step, raising funds for future projects including venues and more live music events, which is where our real passion is.
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