Event Host and Curator Taqee Bond Speaks on Hosting Inspirations, The Makings of a Great Event MC, Creating His ‘What’s the Move?’ Newsletter and More.

There is a specific art form that goes into hosting an event. You can’t just be the guy or the girl on the mic shouting out a bunch of miscellaneous things. A great host has to be able to engage the crowd as much as possible but also be able to entertain. Every event host has their own particular way of creating that engagement factor but Taqee Bond has found his lane and has been using it to build his name throughout the event industry for quite some time. Taqee isn’t only one of the best MC’s to host an event in the NYC area but he also helps others find dope events with his well-known event newsletter, What’s The Move?, which he calls a “social directory.”

I had the chance to catch up with Taqee as he talked about his inspiration to get into event hosting, how he became known for his photobombing talents, the start of What’s The Move?, tips for the emerging event host and more in our full interview below.

1 – How did you get started in event hosting?

I was managing artist at the time and I booked my artist a show and the original host didn’t show up. The promoter was a friend of mine so she asked me to fill in and host. I was like “what the hell?” So I just did it and it went really well.

2 – What inspired you to get into the event hosting business? 

After that night, I realized I had a sort of talent, a gift of gab over the mic. So I started getting little hosting gigs, for either free or cheap as hell and Q took me with him everywhere he DJ’d and let me host his set. I was just high off how much fun I was having being myself. Shortly after I started hosting we started, Q Shepard, Cleverly Chloe and myself launched Word of Mouth Radio and I became more of a personality, hosting made way more sense at that time.

3 – What was the first event you ever hosted?

It was that accidental hosting gig from the first question, but after that my very next gig was a couple days later, hosting at the launch of a skateboard shop in the heights some friends of mine owned. We had a fuckin blast. I’m not sure if I was doing a good job or if everyone was really drunk, but that night was the night I told myself “yo you can really do this.”

4 – In your opinion, what makes a great event host? 

A great host is an actual MC. Someone who brings personality to the party and creates moments that people will talk about days after the party has ended. A great host has to be well versed and of course a sharp thinker. That’s an actual host, not that person who has a picture on the flyer and just shows up to the party to drink in their section and be on Snapchat.

5 – You’ve used social media as a huge way to build your name, especially with your photobombing. That’s something that has become synonymous with you. How did that start?

I was at a party at the legendary APT78. Back when a glass of sangria wasn’t enough and you needed a whole pitcher for yourself, back when that middle table was notorious for providing support while you caught a dub from a beautiful woman. wild times, a simpler time. Anyway, I saw these 4 beautiful women setting themselves up to take a picture. I was drunk as hell and the party was so packed I literally couldn’t get out of their picture, so I smiled. After that, my friends kept saying “yo keep doing this, keep doing this!” So I did, slowly but surely my collection got bigger. Global Grind actually wrote an article about it, that’s how I knew shit was real.

6 – How did you start What’s the Move NYC? What was the inspiration for creating a platform that is a pretty much a newsletter for NYC events?

At the time I was hosting and entering my final months as an artist manager so I was all over the city going to these dope ass events and people couldn’t believe I was in these places and meeting these people, so I started slowly putting people on. Honestly, I was incredibly frustrated with everyone around me being so excited about doing the same things every weekend. Every weekend “let’s go to city island or a strip club or a hookah bar” and that’s cool, but damn every weekend? I started collecting emails and piecing together a newsletter of events and parties that were coming up. People loved it and people started using it. I became obsessed with making the newsletter better and giving people more options. Over the next 3 years, the newsletter became a website and the website sparked the complete WTM brand that I like to call a “social directory”.

7 – From all the parties that you’ve hosted, is there one that comes to mind that didn’t turn out the way you thought it would? Which party would you say was the best? Why? 

I can think of so many events that turned out horribly. Either it wasn’t promoted incorrectly, the names on the flyer didn’t find enough bells, maybe the date was no good, there are so many things that go into an event that was a dub, but each one is a learning experience. And that goes for events I’ve thrown and events I’ve hosted. The best party/event I’ve ever been a part of will have to be Anti-Lemonade. I was the project manager to Brianni T. for this event, so my job was to pretty much keep shit together and keep shit moving forward as well as help piece it together. It was the best because it was the most organized event planning process I’ve ever been apart of cause Brianni runs a tight ship and because there were over 1,500 people that came. We had a great night, everyone enjoyed themselves and I learned so much in the process.

8 – I know sometimes attending events day in and day out can become exhausting. What keeps you motivated at this current moment?

To be completely honest, I haven’t been going outside too much the past couple of months. I’ve been locked in getting my mind right and my business right. Ironically my business is based on going out and being social, but I’ve become a homebody in this process. I’ve learned that I don’t have to go to everything. I used to have such a fear of missing out, now I can’t wait to say “Nah, I ain’t gonna make it.” Nothing personal, I just know that I’m not gonna make it to everything, so I have to pick and choose what events or parties I’m going to pull up to. I mostly go places that will be beneficial for me to be at. Somewhere I can spread the word about “What’s The Move?”. I don’t really like clubs and parties are terrible places to spread a business to me (ain’t body tryna hear that, they want to party). So I try to stay away from those. A good networking event, mixer, launch party, lounge or happy hour is perfect for me.

9 – What’s the biggest piece of advice anyone has ever given you in regards to your craft?

Focus on what’s important. Not what you think is important, what is actually important. We waste so much time worried about the wrong shit and it distracts us. It makes it hard to complete a task or work efficiently because we’re not focused on the shit that will help us. We see other people getting to it and we start to think less of ourselves or start to try to achieve their goals. That sometimes stems from us not being focused. I hear this from people all the time, but I never really understood it until I watched LeBron become the greatest basketball player ever. That level of basketball requires a level of focus that is damn near inhuman. LeBron isn’t worried about shit that doesn’t make him a better player. He focuses only on what will. Now, look at that sweep in Toronto, that was all the power of absolute focus.

10 – If you could collaborate with any other event hosts or party curators, whether in NYC or elsewhere, who would that be? Why?

I came up with a couple of brilliant creatives that are all doing their thing right now. We’ve seen each other grow, we’ve helped each other grow and we’ve literally been becoming the people we said we would become. One thing we never did was throw a huge party together. I feel like with all of our combined talents, networks, and resources, we could throw one of the greatest party’s New York has ever seen, maybe even take it on tour. I always said we’re superheroes individually, but together we’re like the Avengers. (Pre Thanos)

11 – What would be some general tips you would give to the rising event host/event curator?

Do what makes sense for you. Not to you, for you. It may look like a good move, but it may not be the best move for you. As long as you stay true to yourself and put in the groundwork, everything you do will be great

12 – What’s next for Taqee Bond? What can we expect from you for 2018?

Only thing I’m focused on right now is What’s The Move?. I’m gonna host here and there, but really nothing else matters to me right now, which is actually a good thing. I’ve always had a full plate, trying to juggle so many different projects and brands, but finally, I have a full plate, with just one thing on my plate. By the end of 2018, What’s The Move? will be the go-to source for social life activities in New York City.

I Told You Tour – Irving Plaza, NYC

Irving Plaza was a madhouse Friday Dec 9th for the I Told You Tour. Fans lined up to see Jacquees and Tory Lanez, the versatile artist who brings more than enough energy and enthusiasm to his performances. I got a chance to kick it backstage with Jacquees before he came out for his set. I was able to snap a few pictures of him solo and one with Shaggy. Shortly after, he hit the stage to perform some of his well know records such as “B.E.D.”, “Bounce”, “Hot Girl” , “New Wave” and “Body Right”. He kept the crowd entertained with his singing and dancing and then concluded his set with “Persian Rugs” and “Set It Off”

Tory Lanez then made his way to the stage and opened up his set with “Makaveli”, his intro from his mixtape The New Toronto. The rapper/singer continued to showcase an intense level of energy by jumping over the front bannister and crowd surfing. His set played on as he performed his “Controlla” remix, “Say It” which is the first single from his debut album and “Lord Knows.” In true Tory Lanez fashion, he climbed up the balcony bannister and entertained the crowd while hanging upside down. He used this to close out his show in which he performed “Diego” and “Litty.”

This was my first time ever seeing Tory Lanez perform. He performed at Made In America but i missed him. He performed too early, i think me and my girl were still be sleep. I can say that he is extremely energetic and enthusiastic. He was on 100 his entire set and that right there is always a plus. His crowd involvement as far as the crowd surfing and climbing up the balcony is insane. I’ve seen a lot of great shows and performers/performances this year and i think Tory Lanez is definitely up there on my list as far as great shows go.

Check out some of the pictures and videos below.

Video cred : @IrvingPlaza and @Tati_Kalaha

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Who needs a stage, tbh? @torylanez

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Sir The Baptist Brings The Church To Samsung 837.

Atlantic Records signee and Chicago native Sir The Baptist brought the church with him last night at Samsung 837 in NYC. The hip hop/gospel artist introduced himself to the audience by doing a quick interview/Q&A session with Essence Magazine’s Cori Murray and then he got into a brief history lesson about his roots, growing up, and the history behind Chicago, a city mostly known for it’s violence. Sir The Baptist said that his music is not just gospel or hip hop, but it’s culture driven. He stated that his music is to help the movement of what’s been happening in today’s society and going forward. He performed his well known records such as “Heaven” and “Raising Hell” to help uplift the crowd.

This was my first time hearing Sir the Baptist’s music and it was also my first time going to the Samsung 837 store. As an iPhone user, I was adamant about staying away from anything Samsung related. Also, I was never huge on gospel-type of music. It was never my cup of tea. I’m glad to say I was completely wrong about this! Both the music and the venue were amazing. There was complimentary finger foods such as hamburger sliders and each attendee got 3 drink cards upon entering the venue. I got a chance to check out some of Samsung’s virtual reality technology. After that experience, I’m contemplating on switching to a Galaxy (Sike! Team iPhone all day).

All in all, this was a great. I praise Sir the Baptist. His music is fantastic but the reason why I praise him is because he was able to make it out of a rough place like Chicago and still have a positive mind to think anything is possible. He decided to keep his faith in God and still never lost sight of what he knew was important and that’s giving the people a voice during all of this turmoil.

Check out some pics and a video via @Ryonlawford’s Instagram.

#raisehell @sirthebaptist Turn. Up. #837nyc

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Photo Cred : @Julieli_ & @837NYC

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Brianni T Brings Out Major Crowd For Views Exhibit

Last night in Soho, an enormous crowd came out to support the known event producer Brianni Taylor also known as Brianni T. She was the gracious host who put together the amazing event that she titled “Views Exhibit”. Brianni Taylor held a Kayne West “Life Of Pablo” themed show in May and from my understanding it was a complete success. This art exhibit was to showcase not only the artistry and talent of the featured creators but to show the versatility behind the main who inspired the exhibit. That man would be Drake.

Throughout the course of his career Drake has pleased us with numerous songs, features, albums,  and unforgettable melodies that demonstrates his impact on the music industry. Let’s not forget about his unmatched sense of style and fashion which puts him in a lane of his own. From his abrasive and arrogant yelling on tracks such as “Know Yourself” and “Worst Behavior” to his soft melodic voice on tracks like “Find Your Love”, Drake has proved to be one of the most creative and dynamic artists in the game. Through the Views Exhibit, a bunch of visual artists were able to capture some of the greatest moments in Drake’s career through paintings and other works such as props, apparel, and accessories.

There were 3 sessions to the exhibit. Each session lasted about an hour and a half to two hours long. This gave the exhibit a chance to be seen by more crowds of people and it became a flexibility factor for those who couldn’t make a particular session. The drinks were completely on the house! The sponsor of the alcohol was D’usse and it’s no surprise that each drink was inspired by a Drake song. You had the Controlla, the Hype, and the Pop Style. At the end of every session there was the Drake Karaoke. Any attendee who wanted to sign up for Drake Karaoke had to perform in front of the huge Drake fans and rap/sing a Drake classic. I even took a chance at the Drake Karaoke and performed “Headlines”.  The winners got free tickets to Drake & Future’s Summer Sixteen Tour. This was an excellent touch to the Views Exhibit. It wouldn’t be fully “Drake themed” if you couldn’t witness the best Drake impersonator out of the crowd.

All in all, this exhibit will be one to talk about for a while. Brianni says she has more to come and some big plans for her next show. Thanks to Brianni T and the entire “Brianni T Presents” team! Make sure you stay on the look out for any forthcoming exhibits from her by following her social media handles:

Instagram.com/BrianniT

Twitter.com/BrianniT

Check out some of pics below from a few of the artists who featured their work at the Views Exhibit.

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Todd Patrick : Sip & Shop NYC

Last night in NYC Desyree Nicole, creative director of the luxury menswear line Todd Patrick, put together an amazing Sip & Shop event for the new influencers and those who love fashion. It was my first time ever meeting Desyree and from what I saw she’s a very energetic and enthusiastic person. She seems to feed off of great vibes and conversational people. More importantly she’s in love with fashion. It shows in her work. I had the opportunity to briefly speak with Desyree and I asked her how did she come up with the name Todd Patrick. She answered by saying “Todd Patrick is my little brothers name. The brand is inspired by him.”

Those who attended this Sip & Shop event had the pleasure of enjoying an open bar, a great crowd and a few racks where the new Todd Patrick collection hung. All of the attendees also had the opportunity to purchase any of the products from the new Todd Patrick collection. This collection consisted of some great contemporary Fall/Winter pieces. Fall really came faster than we thought and after last nights weather, Todd Patrick’s new bomber coats, hoodies and denim jackets will definitely be worth a pick up!

Congrats to Desyree and the entire Todd Patrick team! May you continue to flourish.

Check out the Todd Patrick website and make sure to pick up some pieces! ToddPatrick.us

 

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