by Rachel James – Terry
Whether it’s hobnobbing with the music industry’s elite, attending star-studded events or being named to Billboard’s 40 Under 40 Power Player’s list, for many, JSU alum Cortez Bryant is living the dream.
Serving as co-CEO and co-founder of the highly influential artist management firm The Blue Print Group, Bryant, along with co-CEO Gee Roberson, commands touring, distribution, marketing drives, releases and key branding partnerships for the likes of rap heavyweights T.I., Nicki Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne, to name a few.
“Today, every kid is trying to be a rapper. Back then it was Wayne, at 11, beating on his chest walking down the hall rapping,” Bryant said. “This was like 1995, and I’m like ‘Nah, that ain’t gonna get us out of this city.’”
It’s a moment that still generates laughs between Bryant and Lil Wayne.
Bryant says higher education would have been beyond his grasp if not for the help of Dr. Lewis Liddell, former director of the Sonic Boom, who gave him a music scholarship to Jackson State. Bryant also credits JSU and the Sonic Boom for giving him principles he utilizes today.
“Sonic Boom was like a family. I have two or three people who work with me now that came from the Sonic Boom family. It taught me a lot about being a leader and being disciplined. Those same values I learned in the Boom I used as a CEO and a boss and running my company. That foundation is the heartbeat of a lot of things that are happening with me now.”
At this year’s Notable Alumni Panel, Bryant encouraged giving back, referencing a moment in 2012 when he was finally able to present his former band director with a check for $500,000 to be used as an endowment for music scholarships.
The ’01 mass communications graduate explained that interest generated from the endowment will sustain scholarships as long as Jackson State remains in existence and “long after I’m dead and gone.”
He added, “When I had an opportunity to give back, it was only right for me to give back to an organization that gave and taught me so much.”1 comment