A Film/TV producer and writer from the west side of Chicago, Blake Anthony has almost two decades of writing and production experience on major studio productions and projects for his company, Blake Anthony, Inc. He recently finalized a contract to buy a majority ownership stake in Chicago Studio City, an iconic film studio and rental facility on the west side. Having partnered with the retired chairman of Cushman and Wakefield, Jack McKinney, Sr., Anthony plans to utilize the space as the Illinois headquarters of their inspiring 7-in-1 project and apprentice program.
His current project is the upcoming “Lucky 23” concert event, a massive day-long concert and discussion platform to bring health awareness and create jobs to combat unemployment and gun violence. Inspired by the historic Live Aid concert in 1985, “Lucky 23” will feature performances by several artists and musicians, including Grammy Award-winning Gospel Artist Fred Hammond and House Music legend Farley Jackmaster Funk.
What are some of the things you do with the Blake Anthony Foundation?
Our mission with the Blake Anthony Foundation, Inc. is to create jobs, train youth and adults with troubled backgrounds, and give them job placement and social skills moving forward so that they can go out into the world and prosper.
Please tell us about your upcoming “Lucky 23” concert event.
Our Lucky 23 concert is a 23-hour event to bring global awareness to women’s health. It will feature 23 hours of diverse musical performances, comedy acts, and insightful discussions to foster a healthier and more socially responsible future for youth and adults.
We have an ever-growing list of scheduled performers for the event, including Grammy Award-winning Gospel Artist Fred Hammond, House Music Legend Farley Jackmaster Funk, Legendary comic TK Kirkland, Kobe Jordan, Rocco, Its Pinky, Everton E-Dee Dennis and Minister Seamore & the Jubilee Travelers Pitcher and friends among others.
I think we’ve put together a multifaceted experience that combines music, comedy, and thought-provoking discussions on the pressing issues of our time. Twenty-three percent of the event earnings will also be donated to support flood relief efforts in Illinois and Florida and the Maui Strong Fund. Additional profits from the concert will also go towards our Nail Guns Over Hand Guns 7-in-1 project.
Can you shed some light on your Nail Guns over Hand Guns initiative?
Nail Guns Over Hand Guns is the name of our 7-in-1 project and apprentice program where our goal is to create 32,000 jobs, including 23,000 permanent positions, for minorities [women, Black, Latino, and Asians] as well as veterans in the states of Illinois and Florida.
The 7-in-1 project comprises an entertainment district with a film/TV studio, an entertainment-based hotel, two manufacturing plants, a museum, a STEM School of the Arts, and a women’s health center in each state. I handle the entertainment end of things with my friend Jack McKinney Sr., overlooking the construction end. We have a job training and placement program that participants will get paid for, with one aspect being the purchasing and repairing of vacant properties in our neighbors. Over, with the program, we focus on social readiness and jobs for our youth.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I slept on [actor/comedian] Kenan Thompson‘s couch for three months when I first went to Los Angeles. Thanks, Lil Big Bro! I call him my Lil Bro because I’m older than him and my Big Bro because he showed me how the entertainment game works firsthand. Thanks again, Cholliewally (inside joke).
What’s next for Blake Anthony and The Blake Anthony Foundation?
For now, we are focused on the upcoming concert and making it the very best it can be. We also have more things coming with Nail Guns Over Hand Guns, so I would tell everyone just to stay tuned in to us. Also, I try to leave it all up to God. I just wake up every day that I am blessed to and get to work.
For more information on the Blake Anthony Foundation and the Lucky 23 concert event, please visit www.lucky23concert.org