Jeff Clanagan

CodeBlack: Jeff Clanagan Shares His Rise from Hip Hop Concert Promoter to One of Hollywood’s Most Powerful Producers

Kevin Hart is on fire these days, but that doesn’t mean the funny-man is doing all of the hard work by himself. He’s got a team, led by Codeblack Entertainment’s Jeff Clanagan – a man who got his start as one of Hip Hop’s first concert promoters, and later, Master P’s No Limit Films.

In the last decade, Clanagan has been behind some of black comedy’s most successful specials – including those from Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Epps and Steve Harvey.

As Hart’s new film Let Me Explain hits theaters, New York City radio show “Pillow Talk with Kareem The Dream” caught up with Jeff to talk the new film, to find out more about how Clanagan got his start in the game and how others can get started, too.

Here’s a few snippets from the show:

Jeff Clanagan his relationship with Kevin Hart:

“Our role is we produce the film with Kevin, we’ve been involved since the inception. Everything from the documentary segment in the film that shows him when he travels overseas. I was on the road with him in Canada, I was on the road with him in Europe, so we’re his producing partner. We not only just distribute and market stuff, but we also co-produce with Kevin.”

“I don’t want to put out any numbers, but obviously the last one “Laugh at My Pain”, did really good business. We’re expecting a large turn out. We’re taking a chance with the Fourth of July weekend, which is the biggest weekend of the year, but we’re programming it. Kevin’s hot, and the time is right, I think we’re going to do exceptionally well.”

Jeff on his new partnership with one of Hollywood’s biggest studios, Lionsgate:

“In the past, Codeblack has been primarily focused on the DVD market, and home video market. Our new partnership and relationship with Lionsgate now moves us in a whole other direction where we now focus on theatrical movies. We’re going to do less movies, but higher quality movies. Whether it be through an acquisition or production, you’ll see our business start to change and we’ll start doing a lot more theatrical.

Up until this point, there’s never really been an African American company or division at any of the major studios. The timing was perfect for me to make this move because it now puts me in a position where I’m inside the studio, where I can focus and provide outlets for filmmakers, directors, producers and writers. I can focus on making movies for our market.”

On how he got his start in the business:

“I was a concert promoter for 15 years. I actually started promoting parties while I was in high school. From the entrepreneur standpoint, I’ve always worked to achieve what I wanted. In the ’80s I was one of the first Hip Hop promoters. I did the first NWA tour. I did Def Jam tours, Ready for the World, Def Comedy.

If you know anything about live event promotion, as a concert promoter, you got to wear ten hats. You’ve got to book and negotiate groups, the marketing, street teams. From that standpoint, I developed a lot of skills by necessity.

I wanted to get into the film industry, so I used all my music relationships, and I started doing music videos. That’s how I learned how to produce and I pulled a film director, who was in film school at Berkeley, and I started managing him. His name is Dave Meyers, who went on to be a very big music video director, and now a big commercial director.

From there, I went on to run Master P’s company, No Limit Films, when he was blazing hot. We were the first ones to do the independent movies and the distribution, all in one.”

For the full interview, listen here or below (Jeff starts at 37:25):

KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN – Film Clip “Guy Code”

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