Pharrell Williams Named Creative Director of Karmaloop TV
Pharrell Williams, the Grammy winning musician, lead singer of N.E.R.D., producer/label owner behind more than a decade of worldwide hits and the creator of global clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, has joined Karmaloop TV, the new multi-platform TV network targeting youth culture. An innovative entertainment and lifestyle entrepreneur and Renaissance man, Williams will take a significant equity position in and assume the title of Creative Director for new programming network Karmaloop TV.
Slated to launch in late 2011, the new multi-platform network will feature original productions as well as the popular and cult movies that have shaped and defined “Verge Culture.” Comprised of the first generation to grow up with the Internet, Verge Culture is a new, growing multicultural group of teens and young adults who communicate digitally and globally to spread the latest trends in music, fashion, technology, art and action sports. It is a group that defines itself by ideas, instead of race or geographic location. They are alpha-consumers and early adopters who crave the latest and the newest, and it is their taste and buying patterns that influence larger popular culture.
“Pharrell is, without a doubt, one of the most influential cultural creatives and business minds in America today,” states Greg Selkoe, CEO of Karmaloop TV. “We’re delighted and honored that he has joined our effort to create a multi-platform brand that will once again excite cutting edge youth culture about TV, just as MTV did in the 1980s.”
Karmaloop TV’s President, Katie McEnroe, adds: “We think Pharrell’s unique creative vision will build the kind of content that speaks to the many diverse passions that drive the young, trend- and tech-savvy sophisticates we are targeting with Karmaloop TV.
Pharrell Williams summed it up this way, “Karmaloop TV will once again give intelligent and creative youth culture a voice and a TV entertainment brand they can call their own, something that has been missing for a long time now. We intend to create amazing programming that really speaks to this group and is innovative, fun and groundbreaking. Progressive youth culture is hungry for different content than what is out there now – they are currently massively underserved.”
As one half of the record production duo, The Neptunes, Williams and his partner Chad Hugo were the driving forces behind a long string of hit records from popular artists in genres from hip hop and R&B to rock and pop, from the mid-90s through today. Beginning with their 1994 success with Blackstreet, Pharrell partnered with Hugo to create a long line of hits by hip hop and R&B artists like Clipse, Mase, MC Lyte, Kelis, Ludacris and Jay-Z. In 2001, the duo had their first worldwide #1 smash with Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U,” which was followed in short order by more hits from artists like Nelly, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado and Snoop Dogg. Through the present day, Williams’ production skills have powered hits by artists including Beyoncé, Shakira, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and many more. Together with Hugo and childhood friend Shay Haley, Williams has made four albums as lead vocalist and drummer for the band, N.E.R.D. Williams has also recorded one solo album, 2006’s “In My Mind,” and since 2001, has served as the co-leader with Hugo of his own successful record label, Star Trak Entertainment, distributed by Interscope Records.
Like Quincy Jones before him, Williams has used his decade-plus success in the music world to build a string of lifestyle-centric businesses that represent the cutting edge of youth culture. These include founding the popular clothing brands, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, as well as designing limited edition jewelry, furniture and glassware for Louis Vuitton and Domeau & Pérès and creative efforts for brands like Pepsi and the X Games. He also partnered with Tokyo born artist Takashi Murakami to create the artwork entitled The Simple Things, kicking off the official opening of Art Basel Switzerland in 2009. The sculpture was manufactured by Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. in collaboration with Jacob & Co. (a.k.a. Jacob the Jeweler). It was started sometime early 2007, taking two years to come to complete fruition. Williams is also a partner in Bionic Yarn, an innovative textile firm based in New York dedicated to developing environmentally sustainable fabrics using recycled plastic bottles. The company has corporate partnerships with companies including Cole Haan, End Star, Moncler, the Gap and Timberland. Finally, he recently scored Illumination Entertainment’s animated film Despicable Me featuring the voices of Steve Carell and Russell Brand.
Williams has a charitable organization, From One Hand to Another, that has partnered with NASA to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to students. A Virginia Beach native, Williams is the only man to be named both Best Producer at the Grammys (2004 with Hugo) and Esquire’s “Best Dressed Man in the World” (2005). His role at Karmaloop TV allows Williams to bring his creative vision to the fore to create diverse content designed to connect with young people in the multi-platform “TV Everywhere” world.
About Karmaloop: Karmaloop TV is the latest outgrowth of the success of Karmaloop.com, the world’s largest online retailer of streetwear from around the globe. The 10-year-old site currently attracts more than 4.5 million unique visitors per month and has projected 2011 revenues of more than $115 million from retail sales of more than 300 influencer streetwear brands. Reacting to its position in the epicenter of the Verge Culture market, Karmaloop launched KarmaloopTV.com in 2008, a broadband entertainment network. Today Karmaloop has the 18th most viewed YouTube channel, and the online video platform is expected to get 40 million views in 2011.
In May 2010, Karmaloop announced its plan to launch Karmaloop TV, a multi-platform programming network designed to help operators “reclaim” viewership among the 18 to 34 year old demographic. Funded in part by venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners and spearheaded by former AMC President Katie McEnroe, Karmaloop TV is slated to debut in late 2011 with programming that appeals to the trendsetting young people who make up Verge Culture. Karmaloop also has an equity and representation deal with United Talent Agency (UTA), one of the entertainment industry’s “Big Three” talent, literary and sponsorship agencies.