“I came to see if you were a real shark,” smiled Milele Chikasa Anana as she introduced herself to Daymond John.
This was a very cute moment with John, founder and CEO of FUBU, who is one of the gazillionaire potential investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
John was keynote speaker at the Minneapolis Urban League’s 87th annual gala, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Anana, publisher of UMOJA magazine in Madison, Wis., was one of the members of the media asking John questions before he went downstairs to deliver his keynote address, introduced with a glossy “making-of-the-man” video.
John may have been the keynote but “the evening by far belonged to Josie Johnson,” one Facebook posting stated, referring to the educator and civil rights leader being honored as the Minneapolis Urban League’s 2013 Trailblazer.
John was reportedly a touchy customer about making himself available to the local media and perhaps difficult with the Urban League, my sources say.
But League President Scott Gray said Wednesday, “For someone as driven and successful as he is, I found him to be very accommodating and easy to talk with.”
In John’s interview with the media, it was obvious he’s a take-charge guy. One reporter kicked off our time with John by asking about the entrepreneur’s inspiration for his clothing company, FUBU.
“Understand, I’m going to be sharing that during the keynote,” said John, who is worth $250 million according to celebrityworth.com. “I’m not certain you want me to answer that. I have no problem doing that. It’s just that if you are going to get this information during the keynote, you probably want to ask other things that you wouldn’t have, so you can have twice the information.”
Good point, but John still sounded like a prima donna.
Normally, speakers answer these questions to be rid of the media, because we don’t have time to sit through a program to hear a speech.
I told John about chatter that he had not been easy to deal with and asked if he was a difficult personality — or was it the people who are his gatekeepers and are supposed to make it difficult to get to him?
“The only thing true to a rumor is ‘I heard,’ and that’s all you’re telling me,” John said. “That doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m here with you guys today. I’m going to shoot tomorrow and the next day. My girls are off for the summer, and I’m here to talk to empower African-Americans, and so if you think that’s difficult … ” He didn’t finish the thought.
I told him I was going to write about what I had heard. “No problem,” he said. “Also write that I get pitched 500 times a week, from speaking engagements to ‘I need help’ to ‘Come visit a school’ to ‘ I need you to back my company.’ So whether it’s hard or not, I only have 24 hours in a day. If I address everything else, I’d be losing my family and my business. But I made it a point to be here.”
John will be the subject of my Sunday Q&A, which should be fun reading juxtaposed with this column.
Alert the Hollywood Press
“Packing for Minnesota to by golf tennis and celebrate Minnesota Film Board 30th Anniversary Party,” read a tweet from @TINAHILLSTROM1’S Twitter account.
I’m guessing the “by” in that tweet should have read “play.” But what’s a typo on Twitter?
The woman also known as Tina O, the interior designer cum comedian cum clothing designer, has reportedly re-invented herself yet again. Word has it that Tina O’s trying to break into acting. Serious acting, and not just those performances she gives wherever she goes.
Poll: Which of the Ordway’s 2014-15 theater shows do you most want to see?