A lot of people say they’re “hustling”.  but only a few follow through. Cory Townes is one of those people. He has written for some of your favorite online publications, and has been building his influence from the ground up, one dope idea at a time. Chris Coleman caught up with Cory to find out about his journey, his struggle, and how he continues to innovate. Peep game!


CC: Let the people know who you are and what you do.

My name is Cory Townes, and I am an online contributor to some of your favorite websites.

CC: What’s your background–where’d you go to school, major, etc.?

I was born and raised in Southwest Philadelphia, PA, and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for almost a year now after aspiring to move to NY for almost two years. I attended Lincoln University of PA, the first Historically Black College and University as a Business Admin major and Marketing minor, and am a proud brother of the Epsilon of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

CC: I’m sure you had an interesting childhood growing up as the son of the famous DJ Jazzy Jeff right when he and Will Smith were rocking the airwaves, TV and racking up on awards. Do you think that helped to shape you into the man you are now?

Yes, I definitely had a unique childhood. The success of my father allowed me not just the opportunities to see different things or go different places, but it also showed me at an early age that a young Black man from Philadelphia can literally see the world. It allowed me a perception that there was a world outside of Philly, and that I wanted to do whatever I could to experience it for myself. And it also was a little weird for me to see my father on television every Monday night.

CC: When was it that you knew you wanted to dive into the music and entertainment industry?

Well, my household was always musically-driven. From my father doing what he does, to my mother playing Sade and Teena Marie in the car on the way to and from school, it was always music, music, music. And while I looked to my father and his success as a guide, I had my step-father, who was one of the biggest and most successful artist managers and consultants in Philly, to instill in me a work ethic, that a man’s word is everything, and to live with reciprocation embedded in my heart. So I had two different perspectives of the same goal. I co-created a clothing line during my sophomore year of college with three of my friends by the name of Babylon Cartel, and it was there when I found my talents as a writer and found how valuable a social media presence is. I always knew that the performing aspect of music might’ve skipped me, so I found a way to be involved when it cCoryame to writing about music.

CC: We often hear that the music and entertainment industry is a tough one. Any advice for creatives looking to forge their own successful career?

I mean, I’d say that media and entertainment is pretty difficult to get into. I consider it a gift and a curse, where everyone with a computer and an opinion can consider themselves a journalist. I’m very careful on what I call myself, bearing the title of “journalist” means you put in the time, blood, sweat and tears to gain that title. I would advise anyone trying to set out on that path, whether it’s entertainment or otherwise, to stay true to yourself, your work ethic and your voice, and to surround yourself with peers that push you to become better. Let your inspiration be your elevation.

CC: Can you touch on using technology especially social media to create your own opportunities and build your own lane?

Social media has been my main vehicle to build out my brand and my name as a writer. There’s no other platform that you can literally connect with people from all over the world and discuss topics that you share interest in. It allows me to self-promote my work, as well as track its progress all over the internet. It also allows me the chance to connect with other writers and establish those relationships, and it’s those relationships that keep me sharp.

CC: Was there a critical moment in your journey thus far that you thought to yourself, “I just want to quit.” How did you overcome that?

[Tweet “I think I’m living through the “I wanted to quit” time right now.”]


My first year in New York came with a lot of ups-and-downs, with crowning achievements and immeasurable losses, and there were times where I saw myself packing it all up and heading back to Philadelphia. But I realized that life is about how you bounce back from those losses, and that makes you the man you are. In looking back, I wouldn’t have done a thing differently, and I know I’m going to look back on this time in my life and realize that it was all apart of the story. Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

CC: What projects are you working on now that you want the people to know about?

As of now, I’m taking time as it comes, if there’s a particular topic that I’m interested in writing on, I’ll do it. Participating in the “Do You” campaign was an amazing experience, and many thanks and much respect to Blavity for giving young creatives a platform to showcase themselves and their talents. I’m looking forward to the rest of 2014 and am excited to see what 2015 brings my way.

Cory is nothing to play with, so make sure you keep up to date with his moves on his website, and online!