It’s the 2nd of October 2019, preparing our return to London, from Los Angeles, phone rings. One of entertainments most creative minds, visionaries, NeverLeveled’s Founder & CEO Guy B Duhon Jr. As he introduced himself, a smile embraces our face. Since arriving in Los Angeles late August, many of our request has gone unanswered. With the help of Guy family member, legendary fashion designer Perry White, we’re elated to be the very first to conduct a public interview of his.
We met Guy, during Janet Jackson tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio. Where he stood next to Dwyane Wade, LeBron James while sharing laughs. I found myself intrigue to find out, his status within entertainment.
Guy, who grew up in the city of Compton, California, attended Compton High School, at one point was a three-sport athlete, graduated in the class of 2000. Is now one of entertainments silent forces behind the scenes, a live entertainment producer, promoter, script writer, film director and as he makes it well known, a family man.
I have to say, this was one of our favorite interviews yet. Not only a great storyteller, absolutely one of the humblest souls.
We arrive to LAX Tom Bradley terminal, there awaits Guy.
• Hello, nice to meet you
• Hello, nice to meet you too (with a soft tone and a handshake).
For the people who doesn’t know Guy B Duhon Jr. describe yourself and what does Guy do?
A family man first, I’m a behind the scene person, if a camera moving one way, I like to move opposite. We witness this, please keep going. A business owner, ambitious and driven by family, love and doubt. Self-taught. (We interrupt) Hold on, self-taught? Yes, I always had a vision, researched things I’ll like to do myself and begin learning those things on the fly. For example, If I had a concert, I would reach out to a few contacts or maybe to the artist I know direct, book them and book staff.
By research, questioning those with knowledge, I begin learning my craft. What were you doing before? There wasn’t anyone who took you under their wing to guide you? I was a Boilermaker inside the refinery, working turnarounds, still do on down time. At first no, no one didn’t understand what I was trying to do, still to this day, some still don’t understand. I would ask for help, they’ll disappear. Wasn’t until they seen me around professionals, found out my family ties, seen me in locations around LeBron, Janet Jackson, known musicians and athletes. I was completely brushed off at times. Then the opportunist came. Yes, they’ll come, if we can give you any advice, try to avoid them, work with professionals build while networking through them. I completely agree, opportunist can be crabs in a bucket. I’ve learned overtime. They’ll pull you down and won’t allow you to grow. I agree. How did your first event come together? My father & his twin brother birthday is Halloween. They’ll give an occasional costume party. I had a yacht owner, who loved my business ideas, offered his yacht for my first event, it clicked, costume yacht party. I then reached out to some good friends Gregory Spencer, Jeremiah Thompson, Greg put somethings in motion, some associates then join to promote, Jeremiah took care of security and we started to grow from there. There was more than one? Yes, Labor Day Weekend. Kevin & Sahara Lyons, Patrice Mitchem, Damion Nettles and friends helped bring out a crowd. Lots of memories, was a great time. Forever in debt to them all, they were willing to help when no one else would. Would do anything for them. Any failures along the way? Yes, been a few. Example of one failed event. Wish I could say they were all great but.. Stripper Ball, great idea but circumstances, poor preparation and the wrong crowd. Never again. Stripper Ball? Sounds like a great time. Was supposed to be (as he laughs). We charged the ladies an upfront tip out (a fee to dance) and I forgot the dollar bills. That was all bad. Guy, you can’t forget the most important thing of the event, 1’s!! I agree, I apologize to those ladies. Children, how many do you have? 7 (as he scrolls through pictures). Gorgeous young ladies, you’re in trouble. Your sons are handsome. Thank you. Names, please. Jamir, Leilani, Briahna, Aiyanna, Aryahna, Zaniyah and Jelani. How many hearts did you break growing up? None, I was always good growing up. Oh, stop it, the smirk tells it all. How did meeting Dominique, marriage impact your life? A lot, took me away from the streets, groom me more as a mature man, kept me away from negativity and embraced more positive energy and spirituality. Taught me how to love and convince me to stop being reckless. Will always love her for that. Her and our children had the greatest impact on my life. Now, instead of reacting to situations, I process them, if it doesn’t impact my life in a positive way, I remove myself. I used to involve myself, no matter what. Remember the first time you both met? Yes, we chatted online for a while. We met; she wasn’t feeling me, we didn’t speak for a while, I was in a dark space, just working petty jobs and hustling to provide for my oldest son Jamir, jumping from woman to woman, got tired of it, wanted to be more of a role model for him, started praying for a better life and someone who was for me. Weeks later, my fam Shajuanna walked through the door, asked “guess who I found?” I just looked at her and she says Dominique!! We then reconnected. Keep going, this is interesting. We then went bowling, just building a friendship. While bowling a group of ladies shared the second lane asked were we together, I was confused how to answer so I replied No. Your bold, keep going. The ladies begin to flirt, one passed me her number and said, “when you’re done, come party with us tonight, it’ll just be us”. Were you crazy? Tell us you didn’t take the number? Hold on, I knew in my mind this was the woman I wanted, so when I looked back, she rolled her eyes, I then threw the number away, the ladies had an attitude but Dominique and I vibe was so dope after, I knew we had a future, just didn’t know what it was or for how long. You passed on a great night for years of love? Yes. I knew if I took that number, there would be no future. I felt I was winning once we were out together. Couldn’t let the opportunity go. Way to go Guy (High fives).
How was it growing up in Compton?
(he laughs) Like any other city, not as dangerous as we’ve heard? I like to think every city is dangerous, but I like to think of Compton as a city with many seeds planted in the soil and roses grew from it. Hey, I like that, were you around during NWA, Death Row days? Yes, I was young, there’s lots of memories that stick to me from meeting Tupac & Dr Dre, during their video shoot at Compton Swap Meet, my godfather Dale (DJ Vegas) Summerfield introducing me to Eazy E and DJ Yella in his garage. Who’s your favorite MC’s from Compton? Of All time? Yes. I’ll have to say Mix Master Spade, Eazy, OG Cuicide, DJ Quik, Big 2 Da Boy and Problem. WHAT?! No YG, Game, Cube or Kendrick? Please explain. I remember riding on my big wheel down South Caswell behind West Park, down to Ms. Summerfield home to get on my god sister LaTasha Brown nerves, Daddy V, Toddy Tee and Mix Master Spades was in the garage, Spade was dropping bars, Vegas allowed me to join, one of my greatest memories, highlights of my life and from that time Spade became one of my favorite MC’s. Cuicide was always underrated, still doing it. Eazy & Quik speaks for themselves, Big 2 Da Boy has the catalog of an all-time great, should be recognized more and Problem stay dropping fire. Game & Kendrick some of my favorites too. Oh, Cube isn’t from Compton. You were witnessing history. Speaking of, we were told your grandfather, father and his siblings has history in Compton. You can say that, lots to go into, we’ll miss our flights if I went into it, but I like to think so. Chris Duhon, your cousin, right? Yes, my relative. Any help connecting to the industry from Chris? No, Chris has his lane, I have mine. Nothing but love. Any truth, to relations to Matt Forte and former LSU standout Reggie Williams? Yes, my relative’s as well. Family of athletes, did you have a crew you ran with while growing up? Yes, NBP, World Wide Peace (too many to name) Marcus Claxton (RIP), Booker T Creighton III, Randy Littlefield (my fam), Jonathan Blackwell, Kawan Smith, Michael Brent, William Carter, David Dixon, Jesus Camacho, Tyrone Reed, Jeffry Jackson (RIP), Jeremiah Thompson, Greg Lilly, Gary Hester, Travis Lewis, Lozerri Bobo and Deshawn Cole to name a few (Make sure you print those names man, love those dudes). You named more than a few, shit you asked to interview me (we all laugh).
Compton High, how was it?
Tough at first but fell in love at the end. Gained many brothers and sisters, who I deeply love. Why was it tough? I grew up and claimed a side of Compton where I wasn’t supposed to attend Compton High School, my father wanted to continue his legacy by having me attend there. So, you had many fights? Many may not be the word, my first year was hectic, I’m borrowing Michael Brent gloves to fight, luckily I had established friendships from sports and different neighborhoods growing up, those fights may not have gotten to be a one on one if not, shout out to all my bros for that. Maybe this explains why your so laidback and humble now. Did you attend school with Game or Kendrick? Game yes, Kendrick I believe is much younger, so no. So, Game went to Compton High School? Yes, I believe part of my freshman year. Were you friends back then? No, just a hi, bye in passing. If your teachers would describe you then, what would they say about you? Manish, hardheaded, strong minded. Special thanks to Mr. H (Michael Hibbert) saved me from a lot trouble, he allowed me to sit in his class to clear my mind and Ms. Mickles, Ms. Farris for being straight forward and setting me straight when I was getting out of line. Speak to any of them now? Yes, outside of my household and mother, Ms. Tina Farris is my motivation, she may not know this but following her path influence me to create my own within entertainment. WHOA!! Tina Farris, meaning Tina Farris tours? If so, she’s considered a legend. She taught at Compton High School? Yes, my French teacher, took her class and thought I can talk sweet to the ladies in French but didn’t know what I was saying (we all laugh) I agree, she’s a legend. What motivated me most, seeing her succeed. This is how you got into entertainment? No, working logistics for Badboy and offered a writing gig after. I kept working their accounts with Schneider and Port logistics as an operations manager later. Had a vision of doing my own comedy shows, concerts, parties and special events. I begin writing out a plan, approached Lamar, days later, at that time we were at my wife, sister Nikki home, started brainstorming business name ideas and one of her relatives Tiffani shouted out NeverLeveled and the rest is history from there. WOW! You have a story to tell, I believe we’re skipping a lot. We met on Janet Jackson Tour, you were working, what were you doing there? Sound & Lighting, I still have the pictures (as Guy show me the pictures we have taken) your skin is glowing, moisturized and even has your phone slipping, what do you use? Shea Butter by Shea Butter Lovee, a friend of mine Maurita Donaldson makes it would you like to try some? Sure (he hands a container), this is a great product, can I have it? Yes, I’ll order more. Here’s her Instagram, if you’ll like to order some or I can get it for you whenever needed. Yes please. Is she from Compton as well? Yes, ma’am she is. Compton has a lot of entrepreneurs Yes, you must try Compton Vegan, next time you’re here. If you were local, I would send you to my good friend Travis for a great car wash and detail. “Ambition Auto Spa”
Speaking of Compton Vegan (and yes please take me to meet him next time) we see Culture is getting off to a great start with Compton Vegan, Wings & Waffles and the mega party of Brunch 2 Bomb.
Things are looking great, so much support, Shout out to Jontae Vinson, Lemel Durrah, Adrienne Reed, DJ Benjamin Walker, Iman Omari, Keenan Chapman, Monesia Hobbs, DJ D-Ron, DJ G-Hes, DJ Millie, Edwonda White, Alphonso McAuley, Evan Lionel, Jeremiah Thompson, Ray Ross, Steve “Gab” Smith (5 Star doing the damn thing by the way) and my brother & partner Lamar Brumfield (May have missed some, please forgive me if I did). Can’t wait to make these announcements. We have some great things to come. Share any secrets? Nooo, can’t do that.
Any influencers who had an impact on your life?
Yes, outside of my parents, household. Damon Cagnolatti influenced me to read more, one of the coolest dudes to be around. Will always have a brother in me. James “Blue” Influence me to stay focus, weigh all options, stay sucker free, move different. The big brother/uncle we all need. Lamar Brumfield, my younger bro keeps me health conscious, big impact on my life. Jeremiah Thompson will shoot it straight. My fam Consuella Williams, led by example. Thank you for that fam. Eunique Atkins, monitor her business moves, it’s chess, salute her. Robyn Putman, doesn’t get any better, love her. Booker Creighton III, since four years old jumping off big wheels and running across the street in excitement has always had an impact overall. His siblings Billy Claxton, LaToya Creighton, Michael Green and relative George Claxton all had a major influence on my life in general. Love run deep for them all, my second family. Memories of my best friend and brother Marcus Claxton always keep me grounded and humble.
Separately, my mother Sheila Duhon. Throughout life, hard work, dedication, definition of loyalty and an independent woman. She never had to tell me, I just saw her do what she had to do to make things happen and I always wanted to make her proud and build something great for her.
What motivates you?
Family, knowing I have mouths to feed, I must get out and get it by any means. I see my mother still working hard til this day, my passion is to get to the point she can retire early and I payoff her home. I can’t let my household down and I can’t stand to see my mother getting up to do labor work. I put the weight on my shoulders and in due time hopefully it all pays off. At the time from a distance my fam Consuella Williams inspired me as well. You have beautiful family Guy. Thank you. How do you all keep it together so well? (shows picture of Dominique Duhon) She’s the backbone of everything, I consistently grind and where I’m lacking, she consistently checks me or pick up the slack. Teamwork I love it. She’s gorgeous. Yes, she is, Thank you!
How’s Soul and Paint? You must bring it to London, there are some big Iman Omari fans there.
I believe we’ll make it there soon. We’re planning. I’ll let you know. Iman a great musician & artist, we’ll have to do something special in London. Keenan Chapman, a great instructor and artiste. You all must follow his social media. Yes, you must. We’ll be there. You mind sharing Keenan social media handle? @artistkeenanchapman checkout his paintings, you must take pictures in front of his murals next time you here. He’s great. We’ll do so next time, love his Nipsey Pieces.
Anyone you take advice from?
Yes, there’s some. I like to go to my extended family Booker Creighton III, his father Booker Creighton Jr. my extended brother & business partner Lamar Brumfield, Damon Cagnolatti, James Marks, father in law Craig Oliver, godmother Shawn Louis, mother Sheila Duhon and my better half Dominique Duhon. I know the advice on business and life given from any of them will more than likely the right advice. Would you say you have a great support system? No doubt.
Any future events, film, business plans?
Yes, writing a script now for a series “Compton High”, lots of live shows coming in 2020, things look great for NeverLeveled, subscribe to our site, we’ll add future events to our calendar soon. Just received an offer to work on Coming to America 2 film set (cuts in) Yes, we heard. Congratulations. Thank you, slime festival, many events for children in the works and my goal is to put out a company soundtrack by end of 2020, Jazz, R&B and Soul, maybe a little hip-hop. WOW, lots to look forward to, great work on Equalizer 2 soundtrack by the way. Thank you. Also, before we end this. We’re taking 150 inner city boys fishing and to do many other activities Spring of 2020. I need as many mentors to come out and help us. We love to hear this. We’ll publish it. Any contact information? www.nvrleveled.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Any advice for someone that’s trying to breakthrough in entertainment, looking up to you?
Never let anyone discourage a dream of yours. No one passion for your vision will be the same or ever matched. Write out your plan, attack it. On your path, you’ll have roadblocks, you’ll lose friends, there will be doors shut in your face, you’ll be told no most of the time, just continue to push through it all. There’s no greater feeling succeeding, in front of those who didn’t believe. Great advice. Also, “Let Love Live & Hate Die” Where did that quote come from? Life experiences. Love it!
Before we leave, have some questions.
Greatest Westcoast Artist of all time? Ice Cube
Greatest Eastcoast Artist of all time? Hard for me to pick between LL Cool J and Rakim, 1a 1b for me.
Jordan or LeBron? (Takes deep breath) Damn! Le, Ok Jordan.
Role Model? Father
Halle Berry or Pam Anderson? Halle Berry
Favorite Soccer team? Manchester United
Greatest athlete of all time? Bo Jackson
Who wins 2020 Superbowl? Kansas City Chiefs (if healthy)
Who wins NFL MVP? Russell Wilson
Top 5 Neo-Soul artist: Erykah Badu, Maxwell, Jill Scott, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill (Damn man I’ll hear about this)
Top 5 Hip Hop Artist: Ice Cube, Biggie, LL Cool J, Rakim, Pac (no particular order)
Top 5 food places in Compton? Louis Burger (my favorite), Tams Burger, Los Sombreros Restaurant, Moms Burger and Compton Vegan
Thoughts on Kanye West: Album is a political fundraiser (no other comment) Whoa!! (high fives and laughs)
Guy, thank you once again. We look forward to NeverLeveled arrival in London. What an interview. After speaking on the phone and the credibility & love you give others during your time shows your heart is pure. We look forward to seeing you in 2020. (As he smiles and shakes hands).
See you all in Jamaica during Culture.