Jamaican-born George Crooks, founder and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn-based Jammins Entertainment, an arts and cultural promotions event management company, considers himself a promoter of international repute.
Jammins Entertainment has evolved, over the years, into a premier entertainment enterprise in the New York Tri-State area.
Crooks, 60, who migrated to Brooklyn when he was 12, has developed sound entrepreneurship and path-breaking leadership skills that he said have resulted in the staging of a wide array of activities, in the arts and cultural fields, in the past 30 years.
In a Caribbean Life interview, in his office at Trelawni Place Seafood Bar & Grill, on Farragut Road, near Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, Crooks said he started promotions — concerts and parties — while still in school.
He listed among his promotional concerts — a significant number conducted in New York and Florida — the late Jamaican reggae artiste Peter Tosh, Shabba Ranks, Inner Circle, Gladys Night and the Pips, the Pointer Sisters, Hall and Oats, Patti LaBelle, Fantasia and Baby Face.
Crooks, a UN Navy veteran, is credited with the introduction of the St. Mary Reggae Music Festival in Jamaica; the annual New York Reggae Festival; the Brooklyn Music Festival; the Soul and Reggae Legends Series at the landmark Brooklyn Academy of Music; The Singers in Action series; The Reggae Jazz Festival; stage plays; and amateur boxing.
He said he has conducted numerous music festivals throughout the Caribbean and the United States, including the R& B group TLC and Shabba Ranks in Trinidad and Tobago in 1991.
Crooks said these “have brought increased economic activities and generated much interest locally and internationally.”
In December 2012, he produced the first ever reggae concert at the Barclays Center, downtown Brooklyn, “exalting Caribbean culture in New York City to a new level.”
Crooks recently produced the first ever reggae and soca concert in the newly-renovated Kings Theatre in Flatbush, “which was another success for Caribbean culture.”
The promoter extraordinaire also operates the indoor / outdoor venue, The Cultural Performing Arts Center, in Brooklyn.
Through these and other activities, he said he has provided “opportunities for exposure of numerous artistes and nurtured business development for many in related fields.”
He said, through his renowned advocacy, arts and entertainment can be used to “positively influence the youth.”
In this regard, Crooks, who holds a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing from the University of North Florida, has established the New York Cultural All Star Music Academy that exposes kids, K-12, to the music and entertainment industry.
He said his strong views about the importance of education for the younger generation are well known, adding that his organization provides financial aid to students in need.
Crooks said Jammins Entertainment also proudly sponsors several students at the University of the West Indies.
A large number of young people are employed at Trelawni Place Seafood Bar & Grill, which Crooks said he only promotes.
Besides being the promoter of Trelawni Place Seafood Bar & Grill, Crooks told Caribbean Life that his son-in-law and his unidentified brother were the owners of the upscale concern. Trelawni Place Seafood Bar & Grill is located at 1438 Utica Ave., Brooklyn.
Regarding the youth, he said: “I employ lots of them. They have to have a job.”
“Nothing scares me more than to see young people standing on the street corner doing nothing,” Crooks said.
Despite his very busy schedule, Crooks voluntarily serves on the board of many community organizations, including Brooklyn’s Community Board 17. He is also a founding member and president of Brooklyn’s Urban Night Life Association.
“I thank everybody for their support over the years,” he said. “Without the people in the community, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish all this.
“Thanks to all staff, friends and business associates who worked with me for the past 30 years to make us a very successful company,” added Crooks, disclosing that he had helped to sell the first two major advertisements in Caribbean Life, including the then Air Jamaica, 25 years ago.