“Let’s go!” barks Boris Kodjoe as he leads his entourage to a backstage service elevator of the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, home of the 2013 BET / Centric Soul Train Music Awards. The star-studded show just finished taping and the on-stage finale has quickly become a back-stage celebrity meet and greet with musicians, actors and comedians taking pictures with family and industry friends. It seems that everyone wants a picture with Kodjoe. Wives, girlfriends and female staff smile like teenagers with their favorite sex symbol and even the fellas up their swag game and pose with the model turned actor and now BET‘s newest awards show producer.
Kodjoe is known mainly as an actor and is one of the stars of the BET reality farce “Real Husbands of Hollywood” (RHOH). He is one half of black Hollywood power couple (the other half being super talented and beautiful actress/entrepreneur Nicole Ari Parker). Kodjoe has quietly built a reputation as a hardworking and dependable actor in television and film. Previously regarded as cerebral and intense, RHOH has given Kodjoe a platform to demonstrate his comedic side, which is evident not only on the show but also in other spaces. Kodjoe rocked the mic in German, his native tongue, as part of the RHOH cypher at BET’s Hip-Hop Awards in October. Kodjoe’s positive relationship with BET created the opportunity for him to wear the hat of producer of the 2013 Soul Train Music Awards, a celebration of soul music built around the iconic television show of the same name.
Hosted by comedian/actor Anthony Anderson, this year’s show includes performances by stars like legendary music icons Gladys Knight, Ron Isley and Chaka Kahn and newer stars such as Jennifer Hudson, Tamar Braxton and Wale. Following months of planning and a nonstop week of meetings, rehearsals, interviews, celebrity politics and more rehearsals, it’s no wonder that the Ford pitch man is ready to wrap his first major awards production in style. A hectic week, which included taping RHOH, traveling and constant prepping and revising in advance of the show is coming to a close. Unfazed by the many layers of producing an awards show, Kodjoe arrives to the after party. While most are in party mode, Kodjoe is still in business mode, working the room.
BET‘s CEO Debra Lee warmly greets Kodjoe and he exchanges “pounds” with Centric’s Soul Train Music Awards Executive Producer Paxton Baker. It is clear that Kodjoe’s role in producing the show is much appreciated. Baker offers, “Sometimes producers lose sight of the artist’s perspective. Boris brought a fresh and different sensibility from the artist’s point of view. His Rolodex didn’t hurt either.” Kodjoe joined BET‘s production team, contributing in any way that was needed from making calls to his friends in entertainment for guest appearances or performances to offering solutions to ease concerns between superstar personalities. Kodjoe donned the producer’s hat in order to make this year’s show great by adding more star power. “I understand what they (celebrities) are going through or feeling which makes it easier to relate to their needs,” says Kodjoe.
He moves effortlessly from the producer’s station in the middle of the arena, up to the stage to discuss a performance or down on the floor welcoming the industry guests on hand for a sneak peak of the evening show. It is clear to see why BET tapped him for the producer’s gig and that he is more than a model turned actor. Kodjoe is a businessman whose talents go far beyond his sex symbol status.
The 2013 Soul Train Awards will air tonight on BET/Centric at 8 p.m. EST.
This post was written by The Burton Wire’s contributing writer Patrick Mamou. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMamou.