The Turn Up is Real
Dallas heavyweight promoter Mesha Jackson, gets real with Cosign about being a female promoter
By: Milana Alchemista | @milanalchemista
Photos By: Draven
Everyone knows a party promoter. Usually they’re that guy with a fedora you know through so-and-so and can get you to the front of the line. If y’all are really cool (or he really wants to hit), he might hold you down with free bottles on your birthday.
Depending on who you ask, promoters are either exactly who we want to be when we grow up or the exact opposite. One man’s twenty-four-seven turn up is another man’s bad case of twenty-one-year-old-ism. The less commonly held idea about party promoting is that it involves work (What!? They don’t just appear nightly with a bottle of Ciroc and a smile!?), a lot of savvy, and maintenance of a stellar reputation.
In walks Kimesha Jackson, you know her as Mesha, owner of Tickled Pink Event Promotions, Dallas nightlife heavy weight, and the exact opposite of what you imagined. Not only is she one of the most well-known night life tastemakers in Dallas, but she’s certainly more notable for being a woman at the top of her game, and a pretty woman nonetheless.
Maybe even stranger than her gender is her longevity. Mesha, despite the unmissable baby face, is an industry veteran in an industry where veteran status is not really a thing. In fact, when she told COSIGN she had been promoting for 17 years, you could almost see all of us turn on our left brain, attempting to calculate her age (hint: she started very young). Mesha, to put it simply, is a nightlife unicorn who has seen it all and more importantly, is still around to tell the stories. And even more importantly, she stopped by to tell her stories to COSIGN (don’t worry she’s not naming names, although we did ask).
To dispel some myths and verify the truth in others, we sat down with Mesha to get the down low on Dallas after dark (insert devil emoji).
COSIGN: First off, how did you get your start?
Mesha: I got started in college about 17 years ago. I was working with a group called Dallas Peeps which eventually grew into Party Chaser. I realized at a young age I had a college following and I just turned that into my own thing. I really got my start with Ron King and Rob who was one of the original starters of Party Chaser.
C: What advice do you have for someone looking to get into the promoting business?
M: My advice is that it’s really about relationships. I’m really open to people just shadowing me. I get those emails and DMs on Instagram all the time. [Also] getting contacts and staying in contact with people is what it’s all about. I can say you can go to school for it and learn hospitality and all that good stuff, but really it’s about who you know as long as they’re a phone call away.
C: For everyone who really has no clue what a promoter or PR professional does (aka me), what is it that you actually do?
M: A lot of work goes into putting a party together especially with it just being me [at Tickled Pink]. You’re dealing with the customers, booking the talent, booking the DJs, [phone calls] to the owner, the janitorial staff, the talent, the manager. People think I just twiddle my thumbs all day and that’s not it. I’m on my phone 24/7 which is why I’m naturally raspy, if you call me in the morning I have no voice, I’m on the phone constantly. I work late hours and I don’t work a 9-5. I work a when “I fall asleep to when I wake up.” There’s a lot of hard work a lot of behind the scenes stuff.
C: How is it being a woman in the nightlife industry?
M: I do think it’s easier being a woman, I know a lot of owners and managers and promoters that like to put me on the forefront to make that phone call or to get that talent booking because it’s a woman’s voice. Then you know they [the client or talent] will follow you on Instagram to see how you look, but I don’t use that whole sex appeal thing, I’m really just me. I’m goofy if you knew me. I can get better deals because I am a woman. I don’t know what it is about guys, but I can get those better deals and prices because I can flirt a little but then they know that’s where it stops. I think Eve used to say “Pit-bull in a skirt.” I’m about my business. If you mess with my money it won’t go so good for you. I have two sides to me I’m very business but if you screw me over it will not go good for you. I have a bomb attorney and I will just sue you. They know not to mess with me like that.
C: How does being in an all men’s league affect your personal life?
M: It’s hard if you’re a young single woman. Of course I’m not married, I don’t have a boyfriend, but that’s a whole other story. It’s hard just because men will try and take advantage [of that]. In my early 20s I was very green, it was just like a culture shock for me honestly. [Men will] start out like “Oh let’s have a meeting at Starbucks” and then it turns into “Oh what are you doing later?” When I was younger, I fell for it, I would think this guy likes me, but it’s not that, they’re trying to get something [from me]. I had to wake up and realize that this is my business, this is my bread and butter. You can’t sleep your way to the top and thank God I did not have to do that. I know some people have fallen into that, models, video vixens. You don’t have to do that as long as you put your foot down.
C: And who has trouble putting their foot down in that regard?
M:It’s just a group of girls that honestly don’t know any better or maybe they do know better and they just don’t care.[We call them] the welcoming committee of Dallas. They know their compensation, they get to be backstage at the Trey Songz concert, they get a free bottle, you know it’s just, who they are. We call them up, whatever they do after that is on them. Some people call me the Madame of Dallas, but I’m not. I just have a group of girls on my phone that I know are down for anything. And these are gorgeous girls. As long as I say such and such will be there they show up. I’m not a Madame, I just make connections. I’ve never seen anyone act up, they might do a little too much like being thirsty but what they do behind closed doors I have no idea. These aren’t strippers, these are just regular girls working regular jobs trying to get chose, trying to get pregnant, trying to trap these guys. Daddy issues.
C: What about you personally, do you ever date celebrities you work with?
M: Yes, I’ve dated a celebrity to a certain extent, not like Jay-Z or anything. My life is so private even my friends are like “Who are you talking to?” Since I feel like I’m always on stage when I’m at work, when I do have someone I’m seeing I keep it very private. I don’t post it on twitter or on Facebook or IG because that’s when mess gets started. With all these blogs that are popular now, I want that part of my life to be private. I want to keep some things to myself. I wouldn’t date anyone in the nightlife because I have to do business with them, I don’t want to, you know, sleep where I make money.
In honor of the Vice issue and a facilitator of many vices, we have to ask: What’s your vice?
My vice is shopping! I love to shop I know that sounds super corny and shallow, like what Kanye used to say “spend it before you get it.” All I deal with is cash so it’s just like the next morning I’m at the Galleria. I love new things. I’m actually a bargain shopper, I’m a normal shopper. I’ve bought hair that I was like “why did I spend 800 dollars on this crappy hair”— that’s an honest black girl answer- but my favorite purchase is my car I just got. It’s a Camaro, but it meant a lot for me because I bought it in cash.