Almost 200,000 people receive Veda Brown's daily Black Gospel Promo e-mail blasts. The colorful, slickly designed emails promote everything from greeting cards, Jada Pinkett Smith's "Hawthorne" TV series and Kirk Franklin's chart- topping CDs to all of Tyler Perry's movie promos. "Black Gospel Promo has become the CNN of gospel marketing," says Grammy nominated producer Steven Ford. "Black Gospel Promo has revolutionized the way that the black church spreads the word about its products."
Now, the gospel music and church communities are coming out to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Black Gospel Promo and the July 27th birthday of its founder, Veda Brown. Gospel legends Vickie Winans and Kurt Carr are headlining the concert in honor of Brown and her enterprise. Radio One's syndicated on-air personality Lonnie Hunter and his Philadelphia-based group, Structure, will perform songs from his Top CD "I'm Back." Veteran gospel artist, Bryan Wilson, best known for hits such as "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and "If You're Talking About Jesus," will be in the house too. Church leaders such as Bishop Andrew Merritt, Pastor Maria Gardner, Bishop Andrew Ford, and Prophetess Francina Norman will be on hand. Former Billboard magazine gospel critic Lisa Collins, marketing expert Melanie Few, Habakkuk label CEO April Washington-Essex, BET.com blogger Torrence Glenn, PR maven Jojo Pada, BET Sunday Best executive Neily Dickerson and TV producer Bobby Cartright will all attend. "Tom Joyner Morning Show" celebrity journalist Jawn Murray and veteran Philadelphia area radio personality Neicy Tribett will co-host the festivities.
A Philadelphia native, Brown rocketed into cyberspace long before the church market took note of the Internet. After college in the 1990s, she founded AOL's Net Noir Black Gospel Chapel. AOL eventually sold Net Noir and Brown briefly took a job with a pastor with his own record label. She sent out email blasts on one of the pastor's CD projects. To her surprise, she received a call from gospel star Fred Hammond's brother who asked her to send out an email blast on the Commissioned Reunion concert in 2001. "I had no other job at the time," Brown says. "So, I said, well, let's try this for a little while."
A while has turned into a ten-year operation that has allowed the firm to earn six figure revenue grosses in the boom years and to become the leading black gospel marketing company today. It sends out 1,800 eblasts a year for clients ranging from Verizon, McDonald's, Revlon, Sony Music and Turner Broadcasting, among others. "I'm grateful to still be here working," says Brown. "The economy has been very unstable the last two years and that's had a big impact on my business but we're still doing what we do and I'm thankful." The free concert takes place at Impacting Your World Christian Center located at 2901 W. Chapel Avenue, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002.