By Latasha M. Ford
In an exclusive interview with Latasha M. Ford – CEO, Entrepreneur, Founder of Murchison Motion Pictures in partnership with RobotFilms, Radio Expert, Media Guru, gives us a glimpse into his world and what entrepreneurship means to him. Transparency was key and surely of essence in this 63-minute conversation which covered a multiplicity of topics such as major forthcoming projects, Antonio’s new reality television hit show “Follow Famous,” family, success, struggle, love and much more.
Okay, so tell me a little about yourself and how you have come to be the person that you are today?
Okay, so my name is Antonio and I have four shows which are in the making and they are: a reality show called “Follow Famous,” a show with Pastor Jamal Bryant and Ray Lewis that has gained the attention of rapper and music mogul TI called “Church in the Wild,” and a third show which is centered upon patients with cancer called “Changing Lives from the Outside In.” The show is basically creating a makeover for them giving them their life back. And lastly, “A Mother’s Cry,” which is very dear at heart to me. This show has been created to focus on mothers who have lost their child and in turn lost their life as a result. The show was created to showcase the mothers and them dealing with depression, drugs, losing their careers, jobs and not being able to make it. So, there are four shows on the table right now. But, I am very humble and blessed to share that we’ve been funded to begin filming for our first show “Follow Famous.” Filming will start in July 2018, specifically July 27, 2018. “Follow Famous” is the first show out of the four that has been funded and scheduled to film and go to production. Also, having been picked up by a major distributor. There are currently four major networks that have already been pitched to: BET, BRAVO, E! & Lifetime, whom are all looking forward to bidding on the project thereafter filming of the ten episodes are complete. Very excited about this and how much it stands out. Despite thousands of shows being pitched, the difference between our show is that it’s unique in nature. Its uniqueness steers from being the first show centered on social media followers, brands and reality TV. I have created the first ever social media reality television show. That is what makes the show most interesting. So, everybody keeps asking me, “Are you ready? Because this show is about to be so big.” And I keep telling them “Yes!” The show is going to be so big because we’ve intermixed product, branding, merchandise, and business. I mean within this you have … reality television, social media, beauty, brains, business, sophisticated women and tying it into women who are actually making money on their social media platforms. We’ve been franchised and will be in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Gucci the brand has seen this and is interested in signing on. They have licensed the franchise to go outside the country to Brazil. I’m so humble…
What made you want to tap into reality television?
Most importantly to tell the story and how it is. Reality television is unscripted TV- you get to show the story as its truth and how it really is. I wanted the opportunity to truly show my talent before starting “Follow Famous,” and my focus was primarily centered on “Church in the Wild” whereas the focus is placed on crime in the cities, gang members, drug dealers and saving the cities. But, reality TV allows you the opportunity to give it raw and uncut. And that’s why I’m so passionate about it. It gets to be shown and unfolded exactly how it is. There are women who are controlling their own business via social media and I wanted to showcase this-all of these women who are handling their business. I’m very attracted to the unscripted aspect of reality television.
As many of us have role models and icons that we’ve at some point looked up to, is there anyone in particular who comes to surface for you and why?
Hmm! I definitely have more than one. First, Spike Lee because he has truly paved the way. Spike had such a tough road to climb… I mean all we have to do is just reflect on when he filmed his very first movie in black and white with no money. He started in the business at a time when as a black man, back in those days, you received no credibility and the odds were truly stacked against you. Secondly, my main man Denzel Washington; and, not because he is an actor but for a number of other reasons. Denzel Washington gives back to the community, he speaks to the younger generation, he’s known to go out and visit colleges to pour into others and help the youth along the way. Last, Steve Harvey for so many reasons that I can’t even begin to name. But, primarily because he has such a humbling and true story. Steve has told his story to so many and has never had a problem doing it. He tells his story of having no money, no place to live and sleeping in his car. That is truly a man who met the right woman at the right time and it changed his life. She believed in him. His transition was so powerful!
When it comes to business what does entrepreneurship mean to you?
The opportunity to own your own business and be your own boss! Boom! Let me run that thing back and say it one more time, the opportunity to “Be Your Own Boss.” But, it’s not an easy thing-there are a number of things which comes along with that; one of those things being the huge responsibilities that comes along with not working for anyone else. Yes, you are your own boss, but you have to work even harder and sometimes much longer, but it’s all worth it. Because you’re setting things up in a way whereas you have something in place to pass down to your children. It’s all about planting your own family tree. That’s what entrepreneurship means to me. It’s my interview, right? Well, yes! That’s what it’s all about to me.
Many would say there is a difference between success and entrepreneurship. As such, how would you describe success and why?
Success means family! It’s all about family and being able to purchase your home and your children never having to worry about anything other than being a kid. Owning that property, whereas you never have to worry about your children not having a place to lay their heads… leaving something worthy of them having at the end all be all, my daughter and son. Paving the way so your children can avoid going down the same road that you perhaps had to go down. For instance, I’d share a quick and short story with you that I experienced throughout my college years in Maryland. There was a period during my senior year of college whereas I had struggles when it came to room-board and finances. One of my best friends knew that I had worries about my room and board and not having the money, so he opened the doors to his home for me. Yes, you heard me right, his home. He said, “Antonio you can come stay in my house at a much cheaper price.” I will forever remember that moment for the rest of my life because in the space of disbelief is where I rested, because I couldn’t believe it. Here it was, we were the same age and at the same stage in life, but the difference was his family had things set into place for him. He never had the worries of where he would lay his head. He had a home that was passed down to him. And that’s what others do… they position their children to not have certain worries. So, I never forgot that and I told myself once I get successful, the first thing that I am going to do is purchase property to pass down to my children.
Are there any specific tools and/or golden nuggets that you’d like to share with future entrepreneurs?
Yes, actually I do. Listen, I have wonderful, great things, I live very well, I own nice things, I drive nice cars and live by the water. I am very humbled and blessed to have this as part of my story. In saying such, for those who are aspiring to tap into the entrepreneurship side of their life, I would give it to them straight-up and uncut… have the faith and believe in yourself. And, it’s just as simple as that. There will be very humbling and uncomfortable times, you may possibly lose everything. Such as myself, I lost my home, my marriage, and I reached a point of having to live in a room, a room that I was renting from someone. And, I was in that room alone-all by myself. But honestly, during that time there was not a lot of overhead nor responsibilities on my end. Yes, I was uncomfortable. Yes, I lost a ton. There may be times that you will be faced with uncontrollable situations, and sacrifices will have to be made. The ego may have to be set aside at times in order to be successful. Ultimately, you’d learn that you don’t need those things that you feel strongly about. All you really need is the faith and that ultimate belief in yourself. You have to ask yourself “What are you willing to sacrifice to be successful?” I left the corporate life, I walked away from Radio One and other great jobs, because I believed in myself. Shortly thereafter, doors began to open up for me. At the end of the day, “What are you willing to sacrifice for your success?” God will make things work for you once you make the necessary sacrifices. If you continue to tell yourself “I need my job,” then you will always need that job. Bottom line is, are you truly ready to step out on faith and start your own business, get nitty and gritty to do whatever it takes?
If there were three barriers and challenges that you would share with others as to what they could expect on their entrepreneurship journey, what would those be?
There will be financial burden, preparation for spiritual foundation will be required and surely necessary, and you will have to steer yourself clear of unhealthy, non-supportive relationships and friendships. Listen and listen good, you have to ensure that you are grounded spiritually and mentally and in tune with oneself because you will be told “No” while on the journey. Question is, will you be able to handle the “No!” You’re going to have to sell yourself, some will buy it but many may not. I am going to stress again, you can expect to hear “No.” You will have to be careful when it comes to love. When you’re on a journey, love can either screw things up or spruce things up for you, because everyone isn’t on the same page as you are. Love plays a significant role in your success or the lack thereof. I have lived this! Everyone will not believe in you to the point of ride or die. This is an area which is very difficult for African American men tremendously, because sometimes the lack of having a supportive mate destroys black successful men profoundly. You have to be very careful as to who you are in a relationship with. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t have that true love, that woman or that man, because you surely can. However, you have to be very careful with who you involve in your life. You have to be very careful.
As being an entrepreneur and successful man, is being single uncomfortable for you?
Success and love goes hand in hand with one another, but again-if you are not careful you can either hit that pinnacle of success or hit the pit of potential success. Any normal successful person wants that true love, that support system, that woman to be at home when you get there. Not with a frown on her face but with open-supportive arms when you make it back into town. It’s not always easy, but I’m good. I’ve been married before, and I’m not opposed to love. But, it has to be right.
How do you manage being a successful man and entrepreneur all while being a parent?
I am never too busy for my kids. I’ve always been just a phone call away. Business will never overwhelm me to the point whereas a call from my kids will ever be missed. As a parent, it’s typically more challenging when the children are younger. Now they are older, so they keep me going and hype me up along the way. I will never allow business to get in the way of spending quality time with my children and being there for them even if that means just picking up the phone when they’re not with me.
Any closing remarks, golden nuggets, or words of wisdom?
Absolutely! Never stay focused on the same thing for too long. Sometimes, we get stuck on one thing for way too long. I’ve been taught throughout the years that it is okay to move along to the next. Give yourself three years to make your plan work surely, but no more than five years. You have to switch it up. Don’t stay in the same thing and get stuck in doing that one thing. If it don’t work, it don’t work. BOOM! Don’t waste three to five years on one thing. Don’t get stuck.
Latasha M. Ford
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