Trea Davenport – Pushing PR
Words + Interview By Lucky Smith
In the entertainment industry, most have someone who operates as a buffer for all they do (or don’t do). The person in that buffer position must be thorough, have tough skin and be willing to take the hits for those they represent. Having a resume full of accolades and high profile clients, entrepreneur Trea Davenport has seen it all and done it all. Take heed.
Let’s start with a quick breakdown of what you do.
For the past 2 decades, I have ideated and orchestrated the messaging for PR clients ranging from authors, philanthropists, and creatives to business leaders and hip hop artists including Gucci Mane, Charli Baltimore, Bre Z, Trae Tha Truth, Kurupt, and Kash Doll.
Communicating to the world, the attributes, uniqueness, and nuances of a brand and/or talent requires a mastery of language and storytelling. My innate gifts in this area have afforded me a lucrative and long-standing career. It also made for a natural transition into writing books and film production.
How did you get your start in entertainment? Also, what was your first job?
I was cast as an extra on a Bobby Brown music video in Hollywood, California at the age of 19. As I sat among the other extras waiting on instructions, I noticed a woman with a phone and a planner moving about the set, talking among the key players and the talent. I was so fascinated by the way she worked the room, calmed the artists, and made things happen. The extras were supposed to just look pretty and be quiet, but I couldn’t resist asking around to find out who she was. That was the first time I heard the term “publicist”.
I did some digging and gained a better understanding of what PR is and what a publicist does and I knew from that moment on what my major definite purpose in life was. I had always been the unofficial spokesperson for my talented friends, was very outgoing, and had majored in journalism at Michigan State University until I took a chance and moved to Hollywood, but from that day on I’d been shot by the PR cupid. I then began working with my high school friend.
What is the most interesting thing about the industry?
Being a “celebrity” publicist is like being an agent, spokesperson, cheerleader, therapist, and fixer at all times. There are days when I have to jump into action like Olivia Pope and help clients navigate crises, and others when I have to stroke their egos and others when I have to be brutally honest about setting realistic expectations about how the public perceives them. None of these functions are easy and not everyone is cut out for celebrity handling.
What is the importance of having a publicist and when should someone acquire a publicist?
When someone truly understands what their awareness goals are and can establish a general timeline, expectations, and BUDGET!
You’ve had some major clients. Who has been your favorite and why?
I’ve always maintained a highly diverse roster ranging from Tupac’s protege’s The Outlawz to Cincinnati Bengals stand-out Defensive End Michael Johnson to teen TikTok royalty Brooklyn Queen. I can’t really pick a “favorite” per se, but if I have to choose one of the most exciting and memorable, I’d have to choose Brian Maurice Brown. He is one of the most intuitive and interesting men of our time. He is a former drug kingpin-turned Grammy-nominated music exec and the complex subject of this American Gangsta meets The Secret-style masterpiece.
He was bred on the same Detroit streets that took the lives of his parents while he languished in the shadows during a 5-year stint as a fugitive profiled on America’s Most Wanted as a suspect of a vicious murder and narcotics empire that extended across the country and outside U.S. borders. After serving nearly 10 years in the Federal Correction System, he has risen to success in the entertainment industry, yet his proudest accomplishment is being a loving father to his children, loyal husband to multiple wives, and protector, provider, and stabilizer of many. His mere existence despite the traumatic and astonishing lives he’s lived is unfathomable.
You have branched off into other ventures as well. Please tell us what all you have going on.
I’ve really gotten into the sharing and selling consumable products. Recently, I opened a new online boutique called Lounge. Leisure. Layover. Our brand offers what I and my co-owner Charisse Coleman call, “Quintessential Essentials for Maxin’, Relaxing and Travel”! Our women’s traditional and plus-sized apparel such as capes, jumpers, joggers, and travel accessories, such as luggage covers, document holders, lightweight scarves are carefully curated to offer our customers easily transitional options that are not only comfortable but stylish and high quality.
I’ve also dropped another book in my PR University store called Be a Red Carpet PRo. It is a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive DIY guide to planning and coordinating the red carpet component of any event based on 20 years of mastering the art of red carpet production and personally escorting celebrities down the carpets for the Emmys, Grammys, BET, Soul Train Music, Stellar, and American Music Awards as well as New York Fashion Week, Sundance Film Festival, private events, and countless others.
Be a Red Carpet PRo highlights my passion for planning and executing a smooth and successful red carpet in the midst of the lights, camera, action, and even chaos. This clever how-to book breaks down every aspect of red carpet facilitation from credentials and barricades to media placement, lighting, ordering step and repeats (backdrops), and much more. It is loaded with advice for newbies and savvy resources for established PR pros.
Break down what your book was about.
Living for the Sacrifice is the fascinating outline of engagement of one of the most intuitive and interesting men of our time; Brian Maurice Brown aka Peanut. A former drug kingpin-turned Grammy-nominated music exec, Brown is the complex subject of this American Gangsta meets The Secret-style masterpiece. Peanut was bred on the same Detroit streets that took the lives of his parents while he languished in the shadows during a 5-year stint as a fugitive profiled on America’s Most Wanted as a suspect of a vicious murder and narcotics empire that extended across the country and outside U.S. borders. After serving nearly 10 years in the Federal Correction System, he has risen to success in the entertainment industry, yet his proudest accomplishment is being a loving father to his children, loyal husband to multiple wives, and protector, provider, and stabilizer of many. His mere existence despite the traumatic and astonishing lives he’s lived is unfathomable. Brown’s philosophies on love, life, leadership, and self-assessment; lay the groundwork for a new approach to personal, spiritual, and professional fulfillment.
On the production side, what are some of the films you have under your belt and what’s upcoming?
Well, I’m earning the moniker “The Storyteller”, that’s for sure – currently producing a feature-length film that focuses on the formative years of Brian Brown’s life, up until the time he became America’s Most Wanted fugitive. The movie is based on the documentary I directed and produced called Living for the Sacrifice: A Hood Hero’s Guide to Success inspires others to consider that an individual from a sorted background with a tainted past and questionable perception in the eyes of the law and the average person can very well be a vulnerable, misunderstood, generous genius longing to be loved and accepted.
I’m also producing and directing a hilarious docu-series reality show about the antics, hustle, and unbelievable drama of the tax preparation industry called Better Days, I’m in post-production of a reality series, Love Against All Odds, that follows unique couples as they navigate insurmountable circumstances. I’m working on completing the follow-up to my and co-author Lalanii Wilson-Jones’ racy urban novel Sugar Mama, the memoir of highly lauded humanitarian, activist, and recording artist Trae Tha Truth and my very own memoir and self-help book series.
I remain at the helm of my PR, Publishing, Production, and Planning agency Trea Day, LLC ideating and executing strategies for clients ranging from innovative African American woman-led electric vehicle charging and energy efficiency company CEO Natalie King to beauty brand boss Damienne Flagler.
What can we expect from you next?
I eat, breathe and sleep TREA DAY; my PR, Planning, Production, and Publishing Services Agency – and I love it – but I am most definitely branching into more consumable products that make money while I sleep. I’m also becoming moew and more versed in the metaverse space, launching NFTs and specifically the merging and integration of music in Web 3.0.
Being in this industry and working with the names you have, what is some good advice you can give to someone trying to get off into this industry?
Trust your instinct. Don’t give in to the industry’s template for operating in the PR space, directing a film, or for its expectations of you for that matter. Create a new DNA, a new mix for your projects that’s unique to who you are and the authentic way you tell stories.
Detroit has quite a bit of talent that has come from there. Why do you feel that is the case?
Are you kidding me?! My beloved hometown is the mecca of talent from Motown greats like Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson to Eminem, Big Sean, Kidd Rock, and Anita Baker. This is what we do!
If people wanted to contact you, how can they reach you?
My PR University store www.pruniversitylife.com offers templates, resources, and books like Be A Red Carpet PRo, 20 Laws of PR Power, Turning Prospects Into Paid Clients, webinars, clothing, PR lifestyle products, and free tools. Check out my site www.loungeleisurelayover.com.
Any last words for the readers?
I hope to inspire by being a shining example of one who is intentional in her actions, movements, and mindset to manifest the life I desire to live. Your mindset is your greatest asset.
Photo By AJ Photography