Life of the party
College students find success in party promotion business
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 01:12
After weeks of promotion, Sickamatic Royal T-Krew held its reggae/hip-hop party at Buffalo Live on Main Street on Nov. 16.
It was a success. Hundreds of partiers from New York City, Maryland and Buffalo were dancing to the visceral thrills of G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy” and the anthemic cries of dancehall artist Beenie Man’s “Romie.” Meanwhile, John Nurse, a Daemen College graduate, was right by the admissions door as the attendees paid to get in on the fun.
It was another successful night for the Sickamatic Krew, one of the few party promotions teams in Buffalo dedicated to the college nightlife.
For years, college students have taken advantage of their demographic’s desire for fun by hosting parties at various clubs. Many have failed in this business endeavor, while others have thrived in Buffalo’s nightlife. Party promotions is a job that requires a delicate balance of confidence and humility, ambition and reality.
Nurse knows this more than many of his competitors as he’s been in the promotion game for more than five years. He’s seen many groups rise and fall in the promotions market.
“A lot of people kind of let this entertainment thing get the best of them,” Nurse said. “I’ve seen it happen in my own group. People get a big head, pop a few bottles, take a few pictures with the glitz and glamour. But at the end of the day, you’re still human. You’re not better than anybody else.”
Most student promotional groups are made up of what Ayodeji Lapite, a UB alumnus, calls “made men.” These men have already made a name for themselves on campus. Lapite, who is one of the founders of Dreamchasers, was a member of a now-defunct entertainment group and president of the African Student Association (ASA).
Washington Darko of Dreamchasers was a member of the Black Student Union, while Dwane “Duece” Bruce of Roc Boyz Entertainment is a brother of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. They already have an advantage because they have the attention of diverse circles. Roc Boyz consist of Tracey “Trace” Young, a senior health and humans services major; Damian “Dame Dolla” O’Meally, a UB alum and rapper; Daniel “Bubz” Harris, a UB alumnus and assistant coach on UB’s track and field team; and Duece.
“They’re definitely heavily involved on campus,” said Alisha James, a senior communication major who’s familiar with the business. “A lot of them are in the POC [Student Association’s People of Color Council], then you have a lot of them who are Greek Life. They already know a lot of people and have already done their networking, so I think it was a good idea to start doing that promoting.”
Organizations like Dreamchasers and the Roc Boyz are groups that were built from the ground up – molded from their members’ name and ambition.
The promotional groups do carry different vibes. Dreamchasers and Sickamatic are visibly self-assured, while Roc Boyz’s four core members carry a silent confidence. Even though their personalities are different, the three teams were able to build their brands into respected names in the nightlife.
Roc Boyz, founded in 2008, started small. Their first party was in a Fillmore classroom near the end of that fall semester. This was an outlandish idea, but it worked as students filed into the classroom. The University Police shut down the party eventually, but this was still a memorable moment for the Roc Boyz and the party’s attendees four years later.
Their stock only went up after the party. The Roc Boyz moved to doing house parties, but they ended up getting so packed that the team was forced to move its events to the clubs. They held their first club shindig at Broadway Joe’s during last year’s spring semester, which was also a successful event.
Now they’re known as one of the top promotional groups among the college crowd.