BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN SHAMARR ALLEN
Name: Shamarr Allen
Profession: Musician, Producer, Entrepreneur, Singer, Songwriter
One Word that Describes you: Unorthodox
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It is a great honor and privilege! It is something that I would have never expected; being someone from New Orleans lower 9th Ward who just loved music and wanted to be a positive influence for other black men. I appreciate how BEMM is showing black men in a positive light and it is a beautiful thing for me to be part of that representation. I also appreciate how the recognition of these 100 Men can and will encourage other black boys and men to strive for greatness and distinction.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
As a kid growing up in the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans a lot of my childhood was spent watching my parents struggle to make ends meet while taking care of myself and my siblings. Not growing up with much and realizing that there was more to life than what was available to us at the time, I used music as a way to create opportunities for myself so that I can have options in life. Early on in my career, I felt as though I was always looked over as an artist. At that point, I realized that I had to take a risk on myself and get my music out there one way or another. I had no record label, so I took all the money I had and created my own label, P.O.M.E. Music Group. I released my first album under my label and have since released two other studio albums, with the fourth coming soon. Whenever I am told no, it fuels my efforts to push harder to figure out if no is really a reality in the situation.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
In relationships with others, I typically look for loyalty, consistency, and good vibes.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently working on my fourth studio album, entitled True Orleans. I am also working on building True Orleans as a lifestyle brand. I am always working to continually support and build my foundation, True Orleans Foundation, to support young artists in realizing their dreams to play music.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was from my father, Keith Allen. He told me that I am only in competition with myself and that whatever I do in life, be consistent. When he realized that I was getting serious about pursuing my music he encouraged me to remember that music is used to make people happy and that when you create music and play your horn, remember it’s for the people.
What is advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Be true to yourself, take chances, don’t be afraid to fail, learn from the mistakes you make, and keep grinding because greatness takes time.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”?
My “Extraordinary Impact” is the creation of the True Orleans Foundation. Through the foundation, I have been able to teach kids music and give them opportunities to see how music can be life-changing. I teach them how to read music, understand contracts, perform live, and practice being entertainers from an early age. They are given the opportunity to perform with me live at major music festivals and events around New Orleans. Through my work with these kids, 90% of those that auditioned have been accepted into the premier performing arts school of Louisiana, The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). Out of that 90%, 100% of them have received college scholarships to places such as Berkley School of Music, Loyola University of New Orleans, and New York School of Music.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the 2nd Annual Black Men XCEL, Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2018, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.