Cool execs: Terrence J’s manager Fred Whitaker Jr. discusses the business of celebrity branding

Fred Whit 2

Behind every successful celebrity is a person who manages them and takes his/her brand to the next level. As the CEO of Journee Enterprises and business manager for actor/TV personality Terrence J, Frederick Whitaker Jr. aka “Fred Whit” helps his clients maximize business opportunities while making sure their careers run smoothly.

In addition to Terrence J, Fred Whit has helped a plethora of talent including, La La Anthony with the execution of her nationwide book tour for “The Love Playbook”, a NY Times bestseller, and consulting for Rocsi Diaz (Entertainment Tonight TV Host) and Angela Yee (On-Air Personality at Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club). He’s even managing rising talent like Zuri Hall, Emmy Award winning Fuse TV host. Fred Whit has negotiated major endorsement deals on behalf of his clients with nationally recognized brands such as McDonald’s, Crown Royal and Jeep.

Whit recently spoke to rolling out about celebrity branding and provided insight to recent grads and college students.

You have known Terrence J since your days at North Carolina A&T. How have you both put together a plan to help brand him beyond “BET’s 106 & Park”?

Terrence and I had a conversation with each other and knew that we were going to give this thing 120 percent. We said we were going to do everything and be very hands on. We came up with a plan and we just attacked it. From there, we set goals. We wanted to be able to grow his brand so people don’t just view him as a host. People can see him as an actor, spokesperson, philanthropist and a global brand with longevity.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. What is an average day like for a celebrity business manager?

I like to say my day-to-day is getting rid of headaches. I make all of the headaches go away so that my clients can focus on their craft. It can range from scheduling and taking meetings to creating branding opportunities, overseeing travel, coordinating with publicists, protecting the overall brand image, it varies. Right now, we are on a promo run for Think Like A Man Too. I’m juggling to make sure he is prepared for all of his interviews/appearances, and at the right places on time. It’s basically being his second set of eyes. When you are dealing with talent, you want them to just focus on what they are there to do. You don’t want them to worry about the little things. Like where do I need to be? What’s going on? How long do I need to be here?  I try to make it as easy and as simple as possible, so when he walks in the room he can just be Terrence J.

What advice do you give to recent grads and college students who are thinking about becoming a celebrity business manager?

Hard work. If you want anything in life it always comes down to hard work. Not taking no for an answer. There is always a way to get something done.  You might not be able to do it that person’s way, but there is always a way to get something done. Be humble, be respectful. Pay homage to the people that came before you. I had a lot of people that took Terrence and myself under their wing. They would tell me stories of how they encountered certain situations and the ways they handled it. When I was put into similar situations, I thought back to what my mentors taught me. I have people like Chaka Zulu who manages Ludacris and Oronde Garret who manages Idris Elba. I can call them at any time of the day for advice. Now I’m able to take their valuable insight and apply it to my own company, Journee Enterprises. The future is limitless.

Instagram: @frederickwjr & Twitter: @fredwhit

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