A few years ago I co-supervised a young man named Blake Martin. During work hours he was responsible for helping develop and implement an educational teen after school program. Although Blake was more than capable of doing the job with his eyes closed, he did not present much enthusiasm about the stringent grant stipulations that stifled our programs creativity. It was not until I asked him to lead a dance and step team at one
of the after school sites, did I see him come alive.
Within a matter of seconds Blake would choreograph visually appealing dance and step routines, motivating the young participants to become excited and familiar with dance moves and music that were once foreign to them. From the very first dance class, I knew that it was my responsibility to stay observant and aware of Blake’s talent if/and when our work relationship ended.
Today, Blake is known as a playwright/director/screenwriter, production specialist, and professional dancer-an all around entertainment artist. He is the CEO and founder of Blake Martin Productions Company, an entertainment social club that accepts everyone. Blake describes his fashion shows as “a comprehension of the entertainment genres- film, fashion, and dance.” Clear about the direction he is headed, Blake plans to be “the individual who has the top film company, top dance company, and top fashion house at the same time. No one has been able to say that they are at the top of all three genres; I want to be able to be Tyler Perry, Diddy, and Marc Jacobs in one person. I want to say that I control entertainment.”
Following the cues of his mother, Blake IS walking his path. “From an early age, she would combat everything I knew in the world. I came home one day and told her that my teacher said ‘you can be anything you
want to be’ and that we ‘should reach for the stars’. She told me ‘you can see the stars, so therefore, you can go further and bigger than that’.” When Blake wanted to book his first fashion show venue with a 1,000 seats, friends and others suggested he think smaller- his mother pushed him to go with his first mind. The show was successfully sold out.
Blake kicks down the door to his fears, walks through it and then redesigns the layout to his liking. His mother tells him “ Enough is not enough; Great is not enough; Try to jump way over the lines that someone has set with you, surprise yourself.” And of course, when he tells himself he cannot accomplish something, she responds with “Now you GOT to do it!!!!!”
One obstacle that Blake had to overcome to get to where he is today is “Worrying about what my audience or society has to say. I had to get to the point where I am happy with what I put out… As a young, black, gay male, these things are important to me, but I know they are not important to everyone else. If I am happy with the product, then I am proud of what I have done.”
Many of Blake’s production ideas are born while listening to music in the car, but he is most productive while present with his talent. “I usually have a skeleton of the show but I play off of energy. Everything is on the spot. I will put the song on and stare at my models and within 60 seconds I have the entire scene. I see everything in that exact moment- stage, lights, music, costumes.” Having observed Blake choreographing, I
must admit that it is one of the most unique processes I have witnessed.
A portion of the profits from each of his shows is donated an organization, cause, or individual in need. Blake has contributed a number of community service hours with a variety of fraternal organizations (in which is the founder of one), as well as through Blake Martin Productions. Often when he and his team members speak to high school students, they present stories of success and achievement and in closing, make a personal share or reveal. The reveals can range from “by the way, I am a gay black male”, to “by the way, I am a victim of rape or domestic violence”. The reveal is intended to let young people know that “where you are is not necessarily where you have to be or the sum of who you are.”
Blake Martin is under thirty years old and well on his way to achieving the vision he has identified for himself. With little sleep and LOTS of ideas, Blake is laying the foundation and providing a platform for entertainers to achieve.
Blake Martin’s Success Formula = Limitless dreams + Artistic process + Courage to be who he is meant to be
More on Blake Martin
1st weekend of August I am taking 150 models to NY from the 5th-9th. They will be going on GO SEES, completing runway training, and learning more about the fashion industry.
Through the profits from my productions, I want to provide a full year scholarship to 1 male and 1 female entering college in the Fall of 2012