How many times have you thought something is missing from today’s music scene? Jabari Kafele asks himself all the time. This fresh faced young man is about to bring traditional R & B back in a major way.
Growing up in New Jersey, Jabari grew up in the church with gospel music. Family members were always playing R&B and Jabari cites SWV as one of his favorite groups. The number of throwback names he mentions include Escape, Luther Vandross, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige and Monica. These names coming from a 24-year-old may throw anyone that remembers when these were on the charts.
There are a few things that had a lasting impact on him at very early age. These events are part of why Jabari is so focused and determined to be successful. While in High School, he was a victim of police brutality. “There was a food fight at school, police came and next thing I was face down with boots on my back” he remembers. As a result, he ended up with stitches and was charged with aggravated assault on an officer. Tried as a minor, he spent his senior year of High School under house arrest. While in court one day, the judge asked him about college. There was no question, Jabari was going to college.
He filled out the common application for all the HBCUs. He graduated from Claflin University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Criminal Justice. It was while in college that his favorite rapper Meek Mills was performing a few towns over. Jabari was determined to meet Meek and within hours Jabari agreed to help the rapper’s cousin, Omelly with his music. Jabari is that guy that isn’t afraid to get in there, roll up his sleeves and do whatever needs to be done to make sure artists are successful.
As of result of this meeting, Jabari met others in the music industry. “I wanted to intern at Bad Boy records since I was in High School. I applied a few times and finally I was accepted. I was a brand and party promoter for Ciroc. I worked hard and was quickly working directly with the National Director of Ciroc,” stated Jabari. He learned a lot from this time at Bad Boy. It was when he was going through a break up and he realized music was missing something: Newer songs with lyrics that help you get through difficult times, lifting you up.
This is how Bari Entertainment was born. Jabari is the type of CEO that wants to be hands on. He doesn’t want to follow the mainstream trends to just put out music for the sake of putting out music. He works with artists to help them find their sound and create their own musical style, rather than taking people that can sing and cramming them into a trending box. As you talk to him, one person comes to mind: Clive Davis.
Bari Entertainment is in the business of making music that is timeless. Jabari was recently at an Escape concert and saw that the crowd demographic was vast. “It was a wide age group, 20-year old’s mixed in with people in their 60s getting down. Escape’s songs are music for the fans of the music.” When you think of Motown, Jermaine Dupri and Quincy Jones you can hear their touch on the music. You will be able to tell a Bari Entertainment artist based on how their sound differentiates itself from other music.
Jabari believes in helping artists tell their story or talk about their journey by being hands on and on the floor with his talent. In addition to CEO, he will also be the head of A & R. He is scouring social media looking for artists and has an open-door policy to those interested in joining his roster. The vision of Bari Entertainment is to help create and coach singers that want to have a lasting career. That is where the Clive Davis comes in. “I am driven by my love and passion for music. Not the Money. We are not going to rush the process to get music pushed out,” he said. With a studio in New York he is accepting people for the company’s internship program. Bari Entertainment will be releasing its first album next spring and there is no doubt it will happen given Jabari’s hustle.
To him a hustler is “someone that goes out and gets it, in a positive and legal way. You set a goal, go above and beyond and get that goal.” No wonder why his personal hashtag would have to go with positivity and empathy. “#resilient You have to be able to bounce back from any setback.” It’s obvious that with Jabari’s hustle and love of R & B, Bari Entertainment will soon have a long roster of the next generation of singer inspiring listeners with their timeless lyrics and uplifting message.
About the writer: Catherine Brinkman has a sales career spanning 2 decades. She has won numerous awards including Rookie of the Year and Silver Sales Associate for Dale Carnegie, a global training company. In early 2016, Catherine started her own consulting business, partnering with sales and marketing teams to increase revenue. She works with everyone from Silicon Valley giants to small startups. She has a fun, comic approach to her consulting, having studied satirical writing at The Second City. She can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @catbrinkman