What do babies and boxing have in common?
The 79-year-old legend of boxing and notoriety is still making power moves these days, and hes diversifying
his business deals in record-breaking and unexpected ways.
AllHipHop recently interviewed trailblazer
and entrepreneur Steve Marcano, the brains behind many of Don Kings
new ventures. We wanted to learn more about Don Kings 40-year dynasty,
which is soon to include diapers, book deals, a big screen Hollywood
memoir, and more.AllHipHop.com: Youre known as
a mover and shaker among the Black celebrity elite, including people
like Onyx, Vivica Fox, and Mike Tyson. But youre best known for baby
diapers. How did that happen?
Steve Marcano: Im CEO of the first
and only minority baby products company in the country, My Lil Star.
Im successful I do a few million a year. Its not like Im
Proctor and Gamble in the billions, but for someone who started this
shit with $60,000 Ive been consistently in the millions for the
past five years.
I was telling my friend Fredro Starr
(of Onyx) that you cant really build awareness or knock down the
Wal-Marts of the world if no one knows you. So Im also doing things
like reality TV
My show Building a Brand has
eight episodes in the can, and was just picked up by a network. Its
coming out in January 2011. I have people like Gabrielle Union, Bob
Johnson of BET, and others.AllHipHop.com: How did that lead
you to Don King?
Steve Marcano: Don King was featured
on Building a Brand, and I was also fortunate to get his investment
in My Lil star, since were going retail in January 2011.
AllHipHop.com: Theres been a
lot of talk recently about the $200 million Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquaio
purse that Don King is backing reportedly the highest payday in
sports history. Who could pull that off except Don King?
Steve Marcano: Don did it back in the
70s when no one else did.
AllHipHop.com: I hear thats just
a drop in the bucket of all the cash Don King has made over the years
Steve Marcano: Don is working now to
monetize his boxing library. Its worth an estimated $700 million
to $1 billion. He has all that old footage of Ali and priceless stuff
that no one else has. There are deals on the table now for a Hollywood
motion picture about his life, offers for TV and radio networks
a lot of stuff that well be announcing soon.
Im so glad theyre going to do
a movie about him not a boxing movie or a Dons gonna get you
movie, but a true telling of his story.
AllHipHop.com: But wait wow, his
library is worth a billion?
Steve Marcano: This is gonna be major.
Dons gonna own a network, and hes going to crack a billion dollars
without any real hype to it.
You know what I really admire about
Don King? Hes hope hope for any young person who has ever
been in real trouble. I grew up in the projects, and Ive been arrested
before years ago. But when I look at Don King, and he went to jail for
murder in the 60s. In the 70s, he came out and raised $10 million to
do the first major fight. He got Ali and Foreman the biggest purses
in fight history at the time, and hes made more young Black millionaires
than anyone else. So, no matter what people think or say about him,
hes the first true baller that showed everybody you can do
I get sick of hearing people say theyve
been locked up so they cant do this or that. And then you look at
this dude. You know how hard it must have been in the 70s to get $10
million? Coming straight outta jail on a felony, and then you end up
being a consultant to George Bush and receiving humanitarian awards?
Come on, man. He ended up getting a full pardon. So I say, anyone can
turn their shit around.
AllHipHop.com: So, whats your
role in Don Kings upcoming ventures?
Steve Marcano: I put together the meetings
for Don for the monetization of his library and all of those deals.
I want people to know that I really connected the dots. Ive been
working with Don for years, and I helped him out with Ringmasters.
If you check out Ringmasters, youll see my companys name
there, My Lil Star.
AllHipHop.com: Youre doing big
things. Why dont more people know about you?
Steve Marcano: My brand, My Lil Star,
is doing $2 million a year. You dont hear about that, and I get tired
of being swept under the rug. The more people who recognize the caliber
of deals you can do, then the more money you can make. People dont
know that I did the biggest Pay-Per-View in history with Tyson and the
WWE. I put that together, but I never was a person who wanted a whole
lot of spotlight. But again, I know that in order to broker the big
deals, people have to know you.
Thats why I did Building a Brand
and the diapers, and I get Greenlit shows and the ability to say I have
the first minority-owned baby products company in America thats making
millions. Im doing charity. Im giving away a couple hundred thousand
dollars a year, and over 1.5 million diapers over five years. But this
Don King deal? Its the biggest deal Ive ever done.
AllHipHop.com: Well, from most accounts,
Don King doesnt really do media interviews if its not directly
related to boxing or promoting one of his fighters. What do you think
hed say about the spotlight hes about to garner again soon?
Steve Marcano: Well, one thing I know
for sure is that NO ONE speaks for Don. [laughter] But, what I will
do is try to get him to talk to AllHipHop. I read yall everyday,
and Im gonna tell him yall are a young, Black organization thats
doing real things.