Jacob York on producing ‘Brotherly Love’ and the business of hip-hop and film

Photo credit: Instagram @jacobyork

Jacob York continues to evolve in the businesses of hip-hop and film. During the ‘90s, York made a name for himself as key player who helped launch the careers of Lil Kim, Cam’ron, Gucci Mane and Akon.

York has since transitioned into film and is the producer for the film Brotherly Love. York recently sat down with rolling out to discuss his transition into Hollywood and how hip-hop has changed over the years.

How did you initially get involved with producing Brotherly Love?

I have a friend named Charles Austin, aka Charlie Mack, who knew a writer named Jamal Hill who wrote the script that he had been working on for about 10 years. He knew that I produced a movie two years before called Percentage. It went straight to Netflix and BET. So he asked me take a read of the script. I read it and, 24 hours later, I knew that I wanted to put up my own money do this movie.

How was the process of creating Brotherly Love?

Percentage was a joint venture between myself and Killa Films. So I already had a relationship with Shakim [Compere, Flavor Unit] for 20 years. So when I called him and told him I needed him to read this script, he finally took a chance and read it. He liked it. I took it to another person named Ron Robinson who loved it. Ron took it to someone else that he knew named Yaneley Arty. She works with a company called Jacavi Films who are my partners in financing this movie. We went through a process for a while of trying to figure out what the best partnership was. Flavor Unit came in as our distributor. Obviously, they know the film business better than all of us. So they came in as distributors and executive producers. Flavor Unit being Queen Latifah and Sha. That was the process. It took about nine months to kind of work the system and figure it all out.

After initially reading the script, what initially inspired you to produce the film?

I have twin boys who I adopted after my brother passed. They’re 22-years-old. So when I went to view the films out today, I realized that there isn’t content for the younger generations. They’re being given superheroes and dance movies. But no one is giving them the content of what they live through every day. In my Generation, we had Cooley High, Boyz N Da Hood, Do the Right Thing. We had a lot of different movies about teen life. When I read the script, it epitomizes all those movies in one for me.

You started in the music industry. What’s the biggest difference between Hollywood and the business of hip-hop?

When I first got into this business, an ex-partner from the music business called me. He said, “Jacob you’re still in music, we’ve all abandoned music, and we’re in films.” It took me seven years to study the business. There’s an issue with the film business. It’s not as liberal as the music business. When it came to our script, Hollywood didn’t understand the content. What can’t be afraid to do it yourself. There [are] a bunch of people creating their own content. The important thing for me was to make sure that it was visually beautiful. Like if you go to the theaters and see it, you cannot distinguish between this and any other movie. It was visually beautiful. That was important. It’s also important to make sure your story line is consistent and it’s visually nice. Build your own following for it. I wish we had a year of just pre-marketing for Brotherly Love so we could build that cult following. I would have loved to release small clips and talked about it for a year straight. That was the marketing strategy that I would have done. There’s a guy making a movie every 10 seconds. What’s going to make your film stand out is the extra work that you put into it.

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