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Knockout Nation: Don King Expands Dynasty; Steve Marcano Speaks

What do babies and boxing have in common?

Don King.

The 79-year-old legend of boxing and notoriety is still making power moves these days, and he’s diversifying

his business deals in record-breaking and unexpected ways.

AllHipHop recently interviewed trailblazer

and entrepreneur Steve Marcano, the brains behind many of Don King’s

new ventures. We wanted to learn more about Don King’s 40-year dynasty,

which is soon to include diapers, book deals, a big screen Hollywood

memoir, and more.AllHipHop.com: You’re known as

a mover and shaker among the Black celebrity elite, including people

like Onyx, Vivica Fox, and Mike Tyson. But you’re best known for baby

diapers. How did that happen?

Steve Marcano: I’m CEO of the first

and only minority baby products company in the country, My Lil Star.

I’m successful – I do a few million a year. It’s not like I’m

Proctor and Gamble in the billions, but for someone who started this

shit with $60,000…I’ve been consistently in the millions for the

past five years.

I was telling my friend Fredro Starr

(of Onyx) that you can’t really build awareness or knock down the

Wal-Marts of the world if no one knows you. So I’m 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. It’s

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 we’re going retail in January 2011.

AllHipHop.com: There’s 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 that’s 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. It’s 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 we’ll be announcing soon.

I’m so glad they’re going to do

a movie about him…not a boxing movie or a ‘Don’s 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.

Don’s gonna own a network, and he’s going to crack a billion dollars

without any real hype to it.

You know what I really admire about

Don King? He’s hope – hope for any young person who has ever

been in real trouble. I grew up in the projects, and I’ve 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 he’s made more young Black millionaires

than anyone else. So, no matter what people think or say about him,

he’s the first true “baller” that showed everybody you can do

it.

I get sick of hearing people say they’ve

been locked up so they can’t 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, what’s your

role in Don King’s 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. I’ve been

working with Don for years, and I helped him out with “Ringmasters.”

If you check out “Ringmasters,” you’ll see my company’s name

there, My Lil Star.

AllHipHop.com: You’re doing big

things. Why don’t more people know about you?

Steve Marcano: My brand, My Lil Star,

is doing $2 million a year. You don’t 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 don’t

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.

That’s 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 that’s making

millions. I’m doing charity. I’m giving away a couple hundred thousand

dollars a year, and over 1.5 million diapers over five years. But this

Don King deal? It’s the biggest deal I’ve ever done.

AllHipHop.com: Well, from most accounts,

Don King doesn’t really do media interviews if it’s not directly

related to boxing or promoting one of his fighters. What do you think

he’d say about the spotlight he’s 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 y’all everyday,

and I’m gonna tell him y’all are a young, Black organization that’s

doing real things. 

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