BET Awards land the gifting expertise of GBK Productions

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown with Rich Diamonds Company owner Martina Oleforo at the 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

HOLLYWOOD, CA-When it comes to distributing the right moves and adding on perfect touches to its many events that are specifically curtailed to the entertainment industry, GBK Productions is always on point. This explains why the celebrity marketing and public relations firm always has a slew of events it put on annually.

This year is no different. GBK Productions is known around the industry for its innate and intimate way in connecting with celebrities through its events-tailored gifting and style lounges. Name a major Hollywood award event, and chances are that GBK Productions have hosted a gift lounge associated with that show.

Dorien Wilson (In the Cut), Porscha Coleman (Empire) and Ernest Thomas (Everybody Hates Chris) hamming it up at the 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

The list includes the Golden Globes, MTV Movie Awards, Academy Awards, the Emmys…you get the picture. This year’s slate for GBK Productions has already included their Super Bowl LII Luxury Lounge, Oscar Luxury Lounge, and Coachella Influencer and Celebrity Lounge. And they’re not finished yet, snagging gigs to host gift lounges for the 2018 ESPYS and Teen Choice Awards.

The recently held 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards in June showcased the versatile outreach of GBK Productions into the celebrity market as actors Aldis Hodge (Underground, Straight Out of Compton), Dorien Wilson (In the Cut), Erica Ash (In Contempt), Porsha Coleman (Empire), Skye Marshall (Black Lightning), Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor; DC Super Hero Girls; Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.), Andrea Londo (Superfly), KJ Smith (Family Time, Dynasty), Shari Belafonte, and Erinn Westbrook (Insatiable), among others, whizzed their way through the many companies on site eager to share their products with potential clients.

“Underground” star Aldis Hodge (left) attends the GBK Productions 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards June 21, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“It’s important to me because I love networking and getting to know people, said Martina Oleforo, owner of Rich Diamonds. “I love getting to know people; I like meeting people that are successful because I strive to be successful. So it’s nice to see people that are successful and just showing them your product and stuff like that.”

Tamika Wilson came a mighty long way just to get exposure for her company. The professional masseuse and candle-maker made the trek from Alabama to Los Angeles and take part of the gift lounge to magnify more people to her brand, she said.

“My company is Pretty Wicked Sense and I’m based out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, so I’m a long ways from home,” Wilson said. “I pride myself in making natural products so that people that suffer from allergies…my candles have no added incentives. I love being part of the gifting suite, just because of the exposure. I’m trying to create a brand, so I had to step out Alabama to put myself out there and to put my products out there so that more people can see what we have to offer.”

Rich Diamonds Company owner Martina Oleforo hangs out with Asian Doll at the 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards on June 21, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

So why would the Average Joe care a hiccup about what their favorite stars get free from a gifting lounge that is hand-picked for them? Well, the key for these companies is to get as many eyeballs from consumers on their products. The right celebrity coming through any gifting suite doors could be the right pitchman or pitchwoman to endorse what they’re branding to the public. For the longtime thespian Dorien Wilson, making the rounds to various gifting suites around is simply an opportunity to catch up with many of the people he works and hang out with.

“A lot of the people that are around are my friends and we just support each other,” said Dorien Wilson. “We just came out to have a good time.”

More exciting to the “In the Cut” star…more than taking home freebies offered up by vendors is the fact that his series has lasted beyond many people’s expectations. The show has done more than just survived; the comedy hit has entered its fourth season, something that Wilson is very proud of.

“I’m so proud of this season. “We’ve got a lot of new stuff,” said Wilson. “We’ve added Kelita Smith (Bernie Mac Show, First Family) to the cast, who plays my love interest. There is some great stuff happening this season that I can’t give away. Everybody’s returning…the show is going to be great. We’ve done 13 new episodes.”

“Black Lightning” star Skye Marshall (right) attend the 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards on June 21, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

As with the 2018 Style Lounge in honor of the BET Awards and their other gift and style lounges, GBK Productions’ versatility in vendors is always tailor-made for each event. For actors, musicians, and film industry insiders, it’s also a chance for them to talk up any show or current projects they’re working on. Ash, who stars in the BET series “In Contempt” as a public defender, said she is happy to bring attention to the grind that these attorneys or lawyers go through, sometimes without deserved recognition.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s the first of its kind on BET,” Ash said. “It’s exciting because I get to play a public defender, which is not a profession that is not highly touted on television today. So, it’s really important for me to be able to show them in the light that they deserve, which is really, really hard-working and underappreciated.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1289 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.