James Johnson is a prime example of someone who has taken a dream, and turned it into a reality. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, James has long aspired a career in the entertainment industry, but he was never so clear as to how he would make that happen. He’s living proof that sometimes, the best things happen when you least expect it.
After graduating high school, James attended The University of Akron, where after declaring several majors over a five year period, he began to explore his options in the world of Communications. He began working for Radio One Cleveland after sending a “chance” email to Radio Personalty Russ Parr. That shot in the dark led to him earning an internship with the Cleveland radio affiliate. After ultimately being hired as a permanent employee and working a few years, he transitioned to the world of television local NBC affiliate WKYC TV 3. It was with both these companies that he learned the true are of networking. It all led to him finding his true passion, which to his surprise, was writing. In the midst of it all came the birth of Urban Connectionz Online.
Urban Connectionz Online became James’ way of finally doing something he loved. Through this new vehicle, he was afforded the opportunity of connecting with a world of managers, publicists, and artists in an effort to promote their careers and current projects. It was all at a time with the internet was just beginning to become a dominant force in media and publishing. He spent several years writing, interviewing, attending shows, and literally having the time of his life. Crazy as it seems, it was all still a leisure activity that he made time for outside of his day job and school. It wasn’t until 2013, following a two-year hiatus and beginning his Master’s program that he decided to make a career of his passion. Thus came the relaunch and rebranding of his company, and the name: Urban Grandstand Digital!
2013 was indeed a great year for James. It represent not only a chance for new beginnings, but also a chance to fulfill yet another life-long dream. He’s always wanted to work for BET, and had expressed it time and time again to friends, family, and anyone who would listen. Again, he just didn’t have a clue as to how he could make it happen from Cleveland, Ohio. His chance came in November 2013, much like his break into radio more than 10 years prior. Noticing an advertisement on BET’s website that expressed a desire for help with an event, he blindly submitted his resume for the opportunity. Who knew that five days later, he would be in Las Vegas, working for none other than BET for the Soul Train Awards. For him, it was the experience of a lifetime, and his entry into the world of his dreams. The lessons he had been taught time and time again as a child were now reaffirmed. You can do whatever you want in life. You just have to put in the work, and have patience. No matter what anyone has to say, if you want it, you can have it. That now is his motto, and he firmly stands behind it!