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The world according to Bow Wow: think being a recording artist is easy? Think again. (How They're Living).

Many teens believe that being a teen entertainer is "the life" because it seems cool to get paid to be famous. Some think that it is all about rapping or singing on TV, performing on stage, and shopping for all the "tight gear to floss." But beyond the glitz and glam, teen entertainers have to mature quickly in order to serve as a good employee to their boss--the music industry. BLACK ENTERPRISE'S Teenpreneur followed Bow Wow as he prepared for the first concert of the Scream II tour.

Press Time--after bad weather, delays in New York, and plowing through 200 screaming girls outside, Bow Wow hit the 10:00 a.m. press conference held at the Memphis Mid-South coliseum, the concert venue. In his red, white, and yellow Kansas City Chiefs jersey and matching hat tipped low over his eyebrows, this cool and calm 15-year-old slid into a room that anticipated the teen star but happened not to recognize him at first glance.

The room hummed with the excitement of media and well-connected fans. Bow Wow announced that the Centers for Disease Control's VERB campaign would officially sponsor the Scream II tour. The press conference lasted for an hour. The rap star was in and out quickly; his time is valuable and every minute has meaning. He received a proclamation and key to the city from the mayor, an honorary membership to the Memphis Grizzlies by the National Basketball Association (NBA), and answered questions from his fans.

One-on-One with Mr. Moss--It's 11:00 a.m. and time to do back-to-back, one-on-one interviews with ABC-Channel 6/Fox 28 in Columbus, Ohio; Memphis WHBQ Fox 13; WBEG-TV CBS affiliate in Memphis; and the Tri-State Defender newspaper. Annoyed because of constant interruptions during the interviews, he says, "Hey, close the door we are in an interview. Never mind, just lock the door." Bow Wow remained cool and relaxed during the interviews and photos, answering questions about his schedule, the tour, and his future plans. He says to a reporter, "The tour keeps me busy; I don't get recess anymore." When his cell phone rings during the interview, the reporters caught a glimpse of his humble side. He says, "I'm sorry ya'll. I'm sorry. Hey, let me call you back. I'm doing an interview. Let me call you back!"

Bow Wow did his last interview around 12:30 p.m., while leaving the concert venue. The screaming fans couldn't compose themselves even in the sweltering heat. After making his rounds along the inside of the fence in humid 90-degree temperatures, touching arms and shaking hands, Bow Wow got into his car.

Teenage girls started screaming, "Teresa! Teresa! Teresa Caldwell!" Caldwell, Bow Wow's mother, walked around the fence collecting scraps of paper to give to Bow Wow to sign while sitting in his black SUV. They stayed an extra 20 minutes so Bow Wow could sign the autographs and Teresa could hand-deliver each one back to the fans.

Just as he was finishing up, members of the boy groups B2K and IMX pulled up. The screams of the fans were on amp mode. The teen stars greeted each other up with smiles and hugs. With the entire Scream II lineup in place, it was time for another photo opportunity. Now, every girl from 5 to 13 years old was pushing adults and kids aside trying to put all body parts that could fit through the tiny cracks in the gated fence. Chris Stokes, manager for both groups, had an entourage of about 15, which also included the opening act for the show, TG-4, a new teenage girl group.

Lunch Time--At 1:30 p.m., tired and hungry from the long trip, Bow Wow went with his crew to Jillians--an arcade-type restaurant in his downtown hotel--to eat, relax, and play games in between the press conference, interviews, and his dress rehearsal scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. Patti Webster, Bow Wow's publicist, says, "He likes places like that. I try to set up his interviews in arcade-type places like Barcodes or Serendipity in New York or amusement parks. We try to make the interviews fun because he is just a teenager. Sometimes we will just take the afternoon off to go shopping at the NBA store. We even had a photo shoot at the beach once so he could go swimming and play in the pool because he doesn't get to do things like that often."

Working Hard for Balance--It's lunch time, but eating and playing games will not be the only thing Bow Wow squeezes in before rehearsal. School on the road is no joke. Bow Wow takes Spanish, Health/P.E., World Cultures, Algebra, English, and Physical Science. His free elective is to keep a daily journal of what he does. He goes to school two to four hours a day, every day, even on the weekends.

It's 4:30 p.m., time to head out for the coliseum. Bow Wow says, "I hope those coming up in the industry can see past the whole Bow Wow thing. I am a regular person. The entertaining is just another side of [me]."

Bow Wow's mother has been by her son's side since the beginning of it all. Bow Wow got started in the industry by rapping and performing at talent shows early on and received his big break when he appeared in Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice video. Caldwell says that she decided to co-manage her son because she thinks it's important for her to be with him. "I think it is important that parents with teen entertainers definitely manage their child. I am the only one that knows when my child is tired." She says her roles of being a mother and co-manager keep her very busy.

"The mother role is to make sure he succeeds in whatever he does and to make sure he gets his education and goes to college. I've been preaching education for so long, Bow knows that I want him to go to college. Education is the key. I tell Bow I don't want him to be a 30-year-old rapper."

Caldwell says that as Bow Wow's co-manager, she sits down and reads paperwork and contracts with him so he's involved in business decisions. She says she asks him his opinions first before explaining her own.

Rehearsal Time--Refreshed and ready to go to work, Bow Wow gets to the coliseum early. Before dress rehearsal, he hangs with his two DJs--Shakim and Jus--and The Roc, the hype man of the tour, an upcoming artist on So So Def Recordings Inc. Everyone is laid back, playful, and having fun. Behind the scenes, cameras are everywhere but no one is paying them much attention.

Bow Wow threw a football around with Shakim and The Roc. Eleven-year-old DJ Jus rode a scooter around the coliseum floor before rehearsal.

Jermaine Dupri, known in the hip-hop industry as JD, rolls into the venue, chills for a little bit, and then begins to rehearse his intro for the concert. "For Bow Wow, staying focused every day is a job. It takes a mental [sharp] mind to handle that. You see how he was just playing football and now its time to work," says JD, just before rehearsal starts.

Bow Wow, DJs Shakim and Jus, and Bow Wow's dancers, Threat--of Devyne Stephens' Atlanta-based Upfront Entertainment--went to wardrobe to prepare.

It's 6:15 p.m., Bow Wow comes out with The Roc, his headset microphone on, ready to work. Lil G (Greg Teasley), 17; Vic (Victor Carter), 18; and Slim (Chris Leonard), 19, of Threat give Bow Wow short dance intermissions for wardrobe changes. Performing can be a grueling job for anyone, especially a teen. With high acrobatics and high-priced pyro-effects, Bow Wow not only has to be precise with his flows, but also with the choreography.

Bow Wow Talks with Management--Co-manager Michael Mauldin talks privately with Bow Wow; ironing out details about the concert. Mauldin explains, "We are taking a different approach with Bow Wow. I don't think we maximized our opportunities with Kris Kross or Jermaine." He continues, "The tour is a family attraction. Last tour, we saw parents jammin' with their kids. We even saw some grandparents enjoying themselves with their grandchildren. Performance wise, Bow Wow attracts ages 6 to 60."

A full rehearsal with costume, lighting, smoke, fire, video graphics, stage and sound effects, and, of course, live cameras taking footage, took about three and a half hours. Caldwell says, "The show is hot. It's real hot." Bow Wow, bright eyes and all smiles, says, "I can't believe the show is tomorrow, it's gonna be crazy!" It's 10:15 p.m. and Bow Wow is finally headed back to the hotel to eat dinner, get some sleep, and mentally prepare himself for the next day's concert.

Bow Wow reveals, "I was 13 when I realized that being a teen entertainer is more than people think. It's photo shoots, publicity, and press. I thought I was just going to make a rap album. The whole work thing is first. The parties and all that come second."

schedule

* 10:00 a.m.--The Centers for Disease Control/VERB press conference begins.

* 11:110 a.m.--Bow Wow's one-on-one interviews begin.

* 12:30 p.m.--Bow Wow finishes up interviews and greets fans and signs autographs outside of concert venue.

* 1:30 p.m.--Bow Wow eats lunch at Jillian's and goes to school.

* 4:30 p.m.--Bow Wow leaves the hotel for concert venue.

* 6:15 p.m.--The dress rehearsal begins.

* 9:45 p.m.--The dress rehearsal ends and Bow Wow charges out of concert clothes.

* 10:15 p.m.--Bow Wow leaves concert venue to eat dinner and rest for the next day's concert.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Biography
Author:Smothers, Shani
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Words:1633
Previous Article:Where are they now? (entreprenuership).
Next Article:A day in the life of TV star Kyla Pratt. (How They're Living).
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