Live Nation Urban
Since his first experience in live, James June has hit the ground running. He’s been in the industry for six years, and it all started with Tumblr and creating fan blogs. “I think being consumed with this world that was so distant from us made me pressed to experience it in person,” he tells Pollstar. “Growing up in Indianapolis we simply didn’t get many mainstream festivals/concerts, we’d have to drive up to Chicago for that. Even the rap/R&B scene was super underground.”
His first official gig was at Broccoli City Music while he was still in college at the now Chadwick Boseman School of Fine Arts at Howard University in Washington, D.C. There, he ran the festival’s Snapchat and helped design merchandise. As his career continued with Live Nation Urban, June has had the opportunity to work with events such as Mary J Blige’s Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit and The Roots Picnic.
June is one of the few Gen-Zers in the music industry. A generation fronted by the likes of H.E.R. and Chloe Bailey, they’re young and ambitious. As June and the rest of Gen-Z says, “it’s lit.” They’re the generation that grew up on social media, taking to platforms such as Tumblr, SoundCloud, Instagram and Twitter back when they were in middle school. Perhaps the most connected generation yet, hastened by the pandemic and quarantining. Gen-Z also primarily discovered their music through the internet.
“I’m thankful for growing up with Tumblr and SoundCloud, those were some amazing music discovery platforms,” June says. “Being connected with dope designers, photographers and editors make my job easier as well, a lot of these I’ve met through parties or Instagram.”
While the next generation is rising through the ranks, June believes it’s important to attribute his mentors and those who guided him to where he currently stands. Reflecting on his first gig at Broccoli City, June credits the festival’s founders, Brandon McEachern, Marcus Allen and Darryl Perkin for providing inspiration and guidance.
“All were big inspirations for me,” June says. “All attended HBCUs and really taught me to be strategic/creative with how I approach this industry. You can have all the followers in the world but your work ethic, hustle and connections will get you the furthest. Another one is Lynn M Scott (another HBCU alumni), my first boss in LA when I was working at LA Reid’s record label. She showed me the value of being authentic in the industry and that my creativity and dedication to Black culture is never something to dim.”
As a young go-getter, June doesn’t stop pursuing his passions. He recently launched an “LGBTQ+ centered platform with Live Nation Urban called Houses of Luv, essentially to book more queer talent and produce experiences rooted in Black queer culture. This was really in response to the lack of Black audiences at ‘Pride’ concerts/festivals. Black queer culture is Black culture and Black queer culture is queer culture and you can’t separate the two, they exist in both spaces at the same time.”