Walt Reeder Jr. used to sit on the walls of Ritter Hall during his break during classes, dreaming about what he would do after he graduated.
“I always had a love for entrepreneurialism and enjoyed all those classes, at the time not knowing I would own my own business one day,” Reeder said.
Now the owner and CEO of Big Bloc Entertainment Inc., Reeder was born and raised in Philadelphia and graduated from Temple in 1991.
On Jan. 18, Reeder was honored at Platinum Production’s Annual All-Stars of Hip Hop Concert at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The show featured famous hip-hop artists Public Enemy, Naughty By Nature, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte and Special Ed.
Big Bloc Entertainment is a full service talent-booking agency and management firm that books entertainers in hip-hop, R&B, comedy, gospel, DJing and celebrity hosting. Located in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, BBE is currently one of the largest African-American talent-booking agencies in the country.
Reeder graduated with a business management degree. He said his goal was to work in pharmaceutical sales, but that didn’t go as planned.
“I graduated during the time of a recession,” Reeder said. “I still remember hearing Bill Cosby say to my graduating class at our graduation ceremony that there weren’t going to be any jobs available due to the recession. Corporate America was on a freeze for hiring.”
Reeder decided to work for his father’s entertainment company for a few years instead. With his father’s blessing, Reeder started Big Bloc Entertainment in 1999. Although it wasn’t his original career plan, Reeder always had a love for the music industry.
“My family was always involved in music because of my father’s company, so I was around the business in some form or fashion pretty much all my life,” said Reeder, who was also part of the local street group, Sound Stage, in the late ‘80s. “Even though I thought I was going to use my degree in pharmaceutical sales, I believe God led me in a different direction to ultimately own my own business.”
Reeder has been in the music industry for more than 25 years. He’s also been the manager of famous rapper DJ Kool, who sings “Let Me Clear My Throat,” since 1995. Reeder said BBE is going strong, and like their slogan states, “building one day at a time.”
“On a daily basis we are in a sales environment, servicing the needs of national and international promoters that are looking to buy talent,” Reeder said. “We are the bridge between the promoters and the artists. We bring the needs of both parties together to make a successful concert happen.”
Reeder credits his own success of the success of his company to his time as a Temple student.
Reeder also said that his classes at Temple prepared him for his career and gave him many tools to succeed in life and his business.
“All my classes were so enriched with great professors that really understood the business,” Reeder said. “It gave me all the necessary theories to excel in business and the ability to meet some of the best students. It was a great social experience long before Facebook and Instagram existed.”
In the venue full of nearly 10,000 people, Reeder was given an award from the promoters for 15 years of service with BBE. Reeder also booked every legendary artist that performed at the show.
“I credit my staff for all their hard work and dedication to BBE,” Reeder said. “Any good owner is only as good as the team that plays for him, and I’ve been blessed to become a voice for the urban community in the music business.”
Chelsey Hamilton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org