Name: Ra-Fael Blanco
Profession: CEO of Media & Communications for 2R’s Entertainment & Media PR (without the fancy title, I am a PR professional)
Age: I have just been blessed with another birthday and I now have to say that I am 40, but as my niece Mia likes to say, I am 35 plus 5.
I have changed/contributed to my industry by: Staying faithful to the passion of what I do. Through the years this industry has given me many highs and many lows, but I love what I do and I do not see myself doing anything other than being in the entertainment industry.
Publicists are the gateway to a celebrity’s world. They project and craft an image, lead them down red carpet events and most importantly protect them from today’s social media and bloggers who laden the climate with the good, the bad and the shady. It takes a strong- willed and special individual to handle a stressful PR position. That publicist has to revive life into, sometimes, dormant or forgotten careers while juggling multiple project and markets at once. Veteran spin doctor Ra-Fael Blanco has remained calm, cool and collected for the past two decades despite tremendous scrutiny and unnecessary drama. In a world of ups and downs, how does he stay inspired? “Many things inspire me,” he answers. “My Heavenly Father inspires me because through it all I am still here. My nieces and nephews inspire me. In some ways it’s as if they are my own kids and I work hard to show them what great work ethic looks like. I strive to make them proud of me. My mother inspires me; her energy, her love for others and the journey of raising my sister, my brother and I. My partner and my crew keep me going and, of course, the very essence of this thing called ‘life’ inspires me… we only have one. Every time we are blessed with another day, we know it’s never going to be the same as the day before. So I always look forward to seeing what each day brings. I’ve learned to live and enjoy today for today because tomorrow is never promised.”
The New York City native has always achieved the impossible, rising from the ranks to become one of the most in-demand publicists. He easily wavers between a roster of television, print, radio and music clients with ease. How is he able to sustain a career in a fickle, “one day you’re in, the next your’re out” industry? “I believe in showing up and doing the job to the best of my ability, but in the process, I am going to love every minute of it all while knowing every IN and OUT of the job. The mentality is ‘the job is already yours… YOU got this…’ now do it!” He adds. “Through the years, I have been blessed with being a dancer for recording artists, an actor and a gazillion things in front of the camera, but clearly my calling has been behind the scenes. My greatest achievement is establishing a company that has the ability to effectively and efficiently share my clients talents with the world often opening new doors for them in their careers. Nothing compares to watching the eyes of their audience light up and knowing I helped get them there. I value what I do and am blessed to work with newcomers Antonique Smith, Young Marco, Russell Taylor, Aaron Paul and Brielle, but also having worked with and or represented the likes of Aubrey Graham (aka DRAKE), Diddy, Tito Jackson, Donell Jones, Danity Kane, Day26, Dawn Richard, Diddy Dirty Money, Nicoye Banks, Bleu Magazine, Joe, Keith Sweat and many more. 2R’s Entertainment & Media PR is the agency that loves and appreciates great music. As my business partner, Robby Dwayne, and I like to say, 2R’s is the company “where going the extra mile is not a question!” he tells BE Modern Man.
But for every victory, pitch, interview, appearance, article and social media click its those personal challenges that no one sees, that comes along with such a pressured position. “I would have to say one of the main challenges that I face as an independent contractor is “chasing the check.” That is something that I am sure so many people, not just in PR, but in every aspect of the entertainment industry can relate to. I work so hard and stay on my grind for my clients and expect to be compensated accordingly. Having to “chase the check” is like a slap in the face. People have to understand that if I do not get paid for the services I provide, then the bills stack up and life gets too complicated. No one wants to go hungry, phone-less, or deal with housing court issues… It’s real! I am keeping it all the way honest with you. Sometimes I have to check-in with myself and weigh the love for the work I do with the possibility of not having a place to stay or food on my plate. While that demonstrates how my personal life is affected, on the professional side, a huge challenge at times is having to deal with being a man of color and not being as respected as Caucasian PR professionals. It happens on a range of levels, from arriving to a red carpet event, a pitch phone call, tens of emails later, etc. all because I am a male publicist of color.”
But without a shadow of a doubt that Ra-Fael’s career is both fulfilling and necessary and offers a gimpse of how one breaks through the static and makes impact amongst peers. “Have patience and love for what you do. Be accountable and give it your all. Know that there is always someone a few steps behind you trying to do what you do, so you must show up at all times because, on the day that you do not, someone else will be right there to fill in the gap you left open.”
“I believe in brotherhood,” Blanco explains. “I believe in helping others out. I believe that there is always someone who you can reach out to and lend a hand or offer a word of encouragement. Sometimes a simple smile can bless someone and make them feel amazing. A smile can change the course of their day. Other times, it requires you to give more of yourself. I’ve done both and want to remind other Modern Men that change starts with us. Giving someone a few canned goods or buying them a meal can go a long way when someone is not expecting it,” he tells BE Modern Man.
And beyond the red carpet interviews? How does he feel, as a man of color, working in a predominately, white field? “Overall, I’d have to say that men of color are not championed enough in the mainstream. We work just as hard, if not harder, than our counterparts; yet we are not acknowledged or recognized in the same way for the work we do. I really work hard not to get caught up in the hype. I remain humble. that being said, everyone wants to know that their efforts are not in vain. Personally I use the lack of mainstream recognition as a catalyst to get me to the next level in my career. I stand on my faith and keep it moving,” he explains. “My narrative is one that tells the story of a multifaceted man whose dreams are way too big to be contained in a box. Each chapter describes the journey which entails boundless joy, unshakable faith, moments of doubts and despair, tons of hope, endless hours of hard work and undying love. It’s a narrative everyone can relate to in some way, shape or form as it shares my quest to be true to who I am while doing the work I love to do.”
Which is why the BE Modern Man platform is crucial. “This type of exposure empowers others and gives them the courage to live and love outside the box while sharing their story with the world. It’s an honor to be considered a BE Modern Man. It is beyond cool, and I am so grateful! I think it shows other men of color that hard work does pay off. It celebrates the journey of one’s career and could possibly inspire others to keep persevering in theirs. It motivates them to try something different. Either way men of color need to see other men of color in the spotlight so that they know it’s possible.
“A BE Modern Man, to me,” he continues, “means someone who is a contributing factor of constant change in his community via community service and professional awareness. It is a declaration that proclaims I am making a positive impact on the lives of others and affirms that because I am pursuing my dreams and reaching new heights so can you. A BE Modern Man is someone who loves himself, freely gives to others and genuinely cares about the next man.
As our tagline states, “it is our normal to extraordinary,” Ra-fael is well aware of his tremendous contribution, not only in the world of public relations, but within his everyday community where he mentors and cultivate young men of color looking to follow his career path.
“My passion, commitment and dedication! Failure is not an option in any aspect of my life. My love for my craft and people is unparalleled. I put my blood, sweat and tears into everything I do. Making others happy and seeing them smile from the inside out brings me great joy. If I could change the world one smile at a time, I certainly would.
“I would like to once again thank you for this opportunity. I am honored and grateful for the inspiration to simply keep going after my dreams all while encouraging others to go after theirs. I hope that my journey inspires the next man to keep inspiring others. This is amazing and I thank you!”
The BE Modern Man team salutes Ra-Fael Blanco in his effort to showcase and highlight the very of best of men of color in today’s entertainment industry. We are excited to know that we have a BE Modern Man in Blanco, who is leading the charge by passing the torch and inspiring a new generation to step outside the box and pursue non-traditional careers. To find out more about Ra-Fael and his roster of clients and projects, visit follow him at IG @ray_the_rebel.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @blackenterprise and join the BE Modern Man conversation using #BEModernMan.