The Philadelphia Tribune
- Ayana Jones
One the nation’s largest African-American owned talent booking agencies has reached a significant business milestone.
Led by Walt Reeder Jr., Philadelphia-based Big Bloc Entertainment, Inc. has marked its 15-year anniversary in the entertainment industry.
The full service agency specializes in providing hip-hop, rhythm and blues and gospel artists, comedians, celebrity hosts and disc jockey acts to promoters, concert venues, colleges, clubs, corporations, casinos and churches.
“It feels really good to be one of the leading African-American agencies out there that has stood the test of time and has been received warmly in the industry by artists, managers and promoters alike,” said Reeder, who is president and CEO of Big Bloc.
He’s one of a few African Americans who own a talent booking agency.
Reeder credits his staff and the ability to build key relationships as critical factors to Big Bloc’s success.
“What has kept me afloat is just relationships,” Reeder said. “Building strong relationships in the entertainment community and building on those relationships to get more business. I have a hell of a staff. They help me run a sound business and keeping those relationships together and just trying to do the right thing by people.”
Reeder grew up in the entertainment industry and worked for his father’s business Walt Reeder Productions during his high school and college years. The Philadelphia native is a graduate of Temple University. After founding Big Bloc in 1999, Reeder became the guy that many promoters turned to when they needed national talent. He serves as the bridge between the artist and the promoter.
“My job is just to provide the talent for the stage,” Reeder said.
Reeder’s agency handles the majority of urban entertainment that comes through the Philadelphia area. The company books talent for venues such as the Robin Hood Dell Music Center, Mann Music Center, Keswick Theatre, the Liacouras Center, Penn’s Landing Festival Pier, Boardwalk Hall Arena, Caesars casino and Harrah’s casino. Big Bloc provides talent for events such as Lady B’s Annual Concert Series, the annual Odunde Festival and Charlie Mack’s Celebrity Weekend and the annual UNCF Mayor’s Masquerade Ball.
Colleges and universities around the country have tapped into the agency’s offerings including Cheyney University, Lincoln University, North Carolina University, Florida A&M University, Penn State University, Millersville University, Howard University, Hampton University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.
Reeder said one of the most challenging aspects of being in the entertainment industry is that major promoters like Live Nation and AEG Live have a monopoly on A-list artists like Beyonce or Usher.
“I’m not always successful in delivering those types of acts to urban promoters in different markets across the country, because Live Nation and AEG are involved with doing those types of events,” Reeder said.
Within recent years, Big Bloc has expanded to add celebrity hosts to its roster. Reeder said many buyers are calling upon his agency to provide celebrity hosts from reality shows like “Love of Hip Hop” and the “Housewives of Atlanta.”
As for future aspirations, Reeder said he wants to see Big Bloc expand into the realm of pop culture.
“I’m a firm believer that we need to continue to grow where we are planted,” he said. “We’ve been planted in an urban market in an African-American setting with urban music but as we grow into the future, we would like to get into more of the pop culture and booking some of those type of artists.”