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5WPR Founder Chats New Book, Why Everyone Needs Good PR In The Digital Age

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR, one of the top PR agencies in the country. With clients ranging from Lil Kim to Whole Foods to Marc Ecko, Torossian continues the legacy of excellence developed by his company since its inception in 2003 by sharing some of his knowledge of the game. In his new book, For Immediate Release, he drops gems on how to successfully utilize public relations, marketing and branding in the digital age. VIBE caught up with him to talk about the inspiration behind his book and to get some insight into why everyone could learn a thing or two about good public relations.

Talk about the concept behind For Immediate Release and the inspiration behind creating it.

I think there’s a lot of people who talk about PR and very few of them actually earn a living doing PR. I’m not a professor or someone who learns things from classrooms I’m somebody who makes a living from doing PR and so I wanted to offer people the opportunity to learn what real life PR is about.

You’re right that there are a lot of self proclaimed publicists out there, so what’s the science behind effective PR?

There’s a lot of different things. I think being effective at PR means understanding your brand, who you are, what success looks like and it’s different if you’re a celebrity or if you’re a Fortune 500 corporation of if you’re a local store. There’s different goals and objectives in terms of what good PR looks like but certainly, good PR is only good if its strategic and if it’s focused. All press is not good and all attention is not good. It’s about having the right exposure for your brand.

You’ve worked with various celebrities who have had their fair share of drama so what’s the first thing you should do when the client is going through a crisis?

First of all, realize that a crisis is exactly that, a crisis [and] it doesn’t wait for you. That means you need to act quickly, even if you have other things or distractions going on. Nobody cares if your basement is flooded and nobody cares if your Aunt Bertha is sick, the media is going to write the story with or without you. So you have to be a part of the story and there’s a lot of different things that have to be considered when you’re doing that, so it could be anything from a lawyer that gets in the way—lawyers might tell you “Hey, if you make the wrong statement a year from now when we’re in court you’re gonna have a problem with that,” well guess what, your business, your customers, your employees might not wait a year for that story to come out so it’s going to hurt you along the way; its going to hurt you way before you ever get to court. So that’s something to consider. You need to know that crisis is immediate, its not waiting, its going to happen very quickly and he needs to be prepared and ready for the crisis so it means you have to think about everything from what will your Google search results look like if you don’t handle it to what will your customers say, to what will your vendors say so its happening quickly and the world moves very quickly and you’ve got to be prepared. Warren Buffet said something very interesting, which is that it takes 20 years to build a relationship and to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.

In your book you talk a lot about public image so in terms of social media, particularly Twitter, do you think it’s smart for celebs to have a Twitter?

I think celebrities need a Twitter page, I think that the best thing that people should realize is that their public brand is always out there. What that means is that you shouldn’t be tweeting things that you don’t want the whole world to know so if you’re out drunk and you don’t want anybody to know well then don’t tweet it. If you don’t want somebody to see naked pictures of you then don’t send it, look at Anthony Weiner. That’s the world we live in today and it’s true whether [or not] you’re a celebrity. People can talk all they want about privacy online but guess what? If you’re applying for a job somewhere and your email is [email protected] then you should change that before you’re applying for a job. We had an intern a few years ago who tweeted about [her] leaving work and going to get high, well [she] didn’t need to worry about coming back to work the next day. That’s not something I want associated with our brand and many of our people don’t think of that. So, you need to understand that people have to have a public [and] private persona and that goes for celebrities and many other people as well.

Is it a good or bad that fans have more access to their favorite celebrities online?

It’s a good and a bad thing because what does that mean? It means more access is good but you also have to be careful with it. Again, today is a world where everybody has instant access and demand instant access to everything. If your best friend calls you and you don’t call back in a few they’re going to think you’re dead and one has to realize that in terms of how they communicate. So. It’s great and negative to have instant access. So what I would tell you is, that you have to be very prepared ready and cognitive of the various things that instant communication means. It means that you can be rewarded but you can also be endangered.

As a publicist but also a celebrity in your own right, how do you balance being on both sides of the fence?

For me, it’s very important for us to promote our business the right way, which means that I wanted to write a book because I think that we have a lot to share with people from our success. I’m 37, I started this business, a NYC public school kid who thank God was educated and I’m an entrepreneur who has built a business, and it’s important for me that we share some of the things that we’ve learned along the way. So, when were working for a client its all about our client, we don’t share any secrets in the book. This is not a tell- all book [that] reveals client’s secrets. This is a book where we’re talking about strategies and focuses to win at PR.

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Beyoncé performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella

Homecoming: The 5 Best Moments Of Beyoncé’s Documentary

Once Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline in its nearly 20-year history, we knew Coachella would never the same. To mark the superstar’s historic moment, the 2018 music and arts festival was appropriately dubbed #Beychella and fans went into a frenzy on social media as her illustrious performance was live-streamed by thousands. (Remember when fans recreated her choreographed number to O.T. Genasis’ “Everybody Mad”?)

With a legion of dancers, singers and musicians adorned with gorgeous costumes showcasing custom-made crests, the singer’s whirlwind performance honored black Greek letter organizations, Egyptian queen Nefertiti, and paid homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Aside from the essence of black musical subgenres like Houston’s chopped and screwed and Washington D.C.’s go-go music, the entertainer performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Black National Anthem,” and implemented a dancehall number, sampling the legendary Jamaican DJ and singer, Sister Nancy, to show off the versatility of black culture.

One year after #Beychella’s historic set, the insightful concert film, Homecoming, began streaming on Netflix and unveiled the rigorous months of planning that went into the iconic event. The 2-hour 17-minute documentary highlights Beyoncé’s enviable work ethic and dedication to her craft, proving why this performance will be cemented in popular culture forever. Here are the best moments from Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary.

The Intentional Blackness

“Instead of me bringing out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”

Throughout the documentary, Beyoncé made it known that everything and everyone included in the creative process leading up to the annual festival was deliberately chosen. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” says Beyoncé. “Every tiny detail had an intention.” When speaking on black people as a collective the entertainer notes, “The swag is limitless.” Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Homecoming are the shots that focus on the uniqueness of black hair and its versatility. What’s appreciated above all is the singer’s commitment to celebrating the various facets of blackness and detailing why black culture needs to be celebrated on a global scale.

Beyoncé’s Love And Respect For HBCUs

#Beychella — which spanned two consecutive weekends of Coachella’s annual festival — was inspired by elements of HBCU homecomings, so it was no surprise when the singer revealed she always wanted to attend one. “I grew up in Houston, Texas visiting Prairie View. We rehearsed at TSU [Texas State University] for many years in Third Ward, and I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. My college was Destiny's Child. My college was traveling around the world and life was my teacher.” Brief vignettes in the film showcased marching bands, drumlines and the majorettes from notable HBCUs that comprise of the black homecoming experience. In the concert flick, one of the dancers affectionately states, “Homecoming for an HBCU is the Super Bowl. It is the Coachella.” However, beyond the outfits that sport a direct resemblance to Greek organizations, Beyoncé communicated an important message that remains a focal point in the film: “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

The Familiar Faces

Despite being joined by hundreds of dancers, musicians and singers on-stage, the entertainer was joined by some familiar faces to share the monumental moment with her. While making a minor appearance in the documentary, her husband and rapper/mogul Jay-Z came out to perform “Deja Vu” with his wife. Next, fans were blessed by the best trio to ever do it as Kelly and Michelle joined the singer with renditions of their hit singles including “Say My Name,” “Soldier,” and more. On top of this star-studded list, Solange Knowles graced the “Beychella” stage and playfully danced with her older sister to the infectious “Get Me Bodied.”

Her Balance Of Being A Mother And A Star

Originally slated to headline the annual festival in 2017, the singer notes that she “got pregnant unexpectedly...and it ended up being twins.” Suffering from preeclampsia, high blood pressure, toxemia and undergoing an emergency C-section, the entertainer candidly details how difficult it was adjusting post-partum and how she had to reconnect with her body after experiencing a traumatizing delivery. “In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected. My body was not there.” Rehearsing for a total of 8 months, the singer sacrificed quality time with her children in order to nail the technical elements that came with the preparation for her Coachella set. “I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol … and I’m hungry.” Somehow, throughout all of this, she still had to be a mom. “My mind wanted to be with my children,” she says. Perhaps one of the most admirable moments in the film was witnessing Beyoncé’s dedication to her family but also to her craft.

The Wise Words From Black Visionaries

Homecoming opens with a quote from the late, Maya Angelou stating, “If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.” The film includes rich and prophetic quotes from the likes of Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and notable Black thinkers, reaffirming Beyoncé’s decision to highlight black culture. The quotes speak to her womanhood and the entertainer’s undeniable strength as a black woman.

Blue Ivy’s Cuteness

Last, but certainly not least, Blue Ivy‘s appearance in the concert film is nothing short of precious. One of the special moments in the documentary zeroes in on the 7-year-old singing to a group of people whilst Beyoncé sweetly feeds the lyrics into her ears. After finishing, Blue says: “I wanna do that again” with Beyoncé replying with “You wanna be like mommy, huh?” Seen throughout Homecoming rehearsing and mirroring Beyoncé’s moves, Blue just might follow in her mother’s footsteps as she gets older.

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Trailer Released For Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five Flick, 'When They See Us'

Ava DuVernay's last work of cinematic excellence is coming pretty quickly. The writer and director's forthcoming film When They See Us has officially released the trailer, and in the 30th anniversary of the very event it memorializes. The Netflix film, which takes a look at the true story of the Central Park Five—five black teenaged boys who were falsely convicted for the April 19, 1989 rape of a white female jogger—is set to hit the streaming platform on May 31.

The four-part series will follow the lives of Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Jr., Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise over the course of 25 years, allowing viewers to follow their perspectives from accusation to conviction to exoneration to their eventual settlement in 2014.

 

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On this exact day 30 years ago, a woman was raped in Central Park. Five black + brown boys were framed for her rape. The story you know is the lie that police, prosecutors and Donald Trump told you. WHEN THEY SEE US is the story of the boys from their eyes and their hearts. May 31 on @Netflix.

A post shared by Ava DuVernay (@ava) on Apr 19, 2019 at 9:25am PDT

When They See Us boasts a laundry list of talented stars, including Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, and Marquis Rodriguez.

Take a look at the trailer up top.

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Getty Images/Theo Wargo

Wendy Williams' Estranged Husband Reportedly Fired As Executive Producer From Talk Show

Wendy Williams’ estranged husband, Kevin Hunter, was reportedly fired as an executive producer on her eponymous talk show, Deadline reports. The news follows a tumultuous time for the host, who allegedly filed for divorce due to Hunter’s reported infidelity.

Since 2011, Hunter served as an executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show. Nationally syndicated and distributed by Debmar-Mercury, the company issued a statement on Hunter’s departure. “Kevin Hunter is no longer an Executive Producer on The Wendy Williams Show. Debmar-Mercury wishes him well in his future endeavors,” a spokesperson for the company told Deadline.

Williams tearfully admitted on her show in March that she relapsed and was living in a sober house. Prior to that, she embarked on a brief hiatus from the show due to health concerns as she was recovering from a fractured shoulder. The show then took another hiatus because of her bout with Graves disease.

Hunter recently spoke out publicly about the divorce and has expressed remorse for what he did to their marriage. “I am not proud of my recent actions and take full accountability and apologize to my wife, my family and her amazing fans,” Hunter told PEOPLE. “I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs.”

“Twenty-eight years ago I met an amazing woman: Wendy Williams. At the time, I didn’t realize that she would not only become my wife, but would also change the face of entertainment and the world," he said. "I have dedicated most of our lives to the business empire that is Wendy Williams Hunter, a person that I truly love and respect unconditionally."

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