You're not going crazy if you think one of the guys on the new episode of TV One's popular reality series "R&B Divas," airing Wednesday at 10 p.m., looks like former Camden-Wyoming resident Jakeem Smith.
After all, for the past two years Smith has been the personal assistant to "R&B Divas" star and show executive co-producer Nicci Gilbert, lead singer of the '90s R&B group Brownstone, best known for its Grammy Award-nominated single, "If You Love Me," in '95.
Smith, 23, who's been living in Atlanta, Ga., since 2008, will be making a cameo on the show Wednesday night.
An alumnus of Polytech High School, Smith spoke with the Dover Post about his path to becoming Gilbert's personal assistant and the two celebrity clients he works with as a new partner of the multipurpose entertainment company Sky's The Limit Entertainment LLC., which offers services such as artist development, artist management, marketing and more.
Q What are your duties as Nicci Gilbert's personal assistant?
A I'm basically the executor. [I'm there] if she needs something done like delivering dresses or something to an event or making sure if she's going to an event she has a camera person or video person. I make sure she doesn't have to get stressed about things.
Q How did you become her personal assistant?
A When I moved to Atlanta I always wanted to work with her. So I started off as a photographer. I was doing celebrity events and I was shooting for Sister 2 Sister magazine. So every time I'd see her at events I would tell her "I want to work with you." I'd tell her every time I'd see her. Maybe by the sixth time, she gave me her email to send her a picture. Then after that, I continued to do that and I started working with Chanita Foster, who has a non-profit organization called Beyond The Game. Nicci is a part of that foundation; she's a BTG (Beyond The Game) Girl. This non-profit organization takes care of over 1,000 orphans in Swaziland, Africa. We go over there once a year and help the kids, feed them and stuff like that. It's a year-long [project]; we're always doing fundraisers and things for it. By working with Chanita with the foundation, because I was doing the event planning and organizing and such, I got to get closer to Nicci. Then one day I got an email from her and she just told me she wanted me to work with her. She'd been watching me and she liked my work ethic.
Page 2 of 2 - Q What's the experience been like working for Nicci, and what's she like off camera?
A My experience working for Nicci has been life changing. I would've never thought I'd be doing the things that I've accomplished in the first season [of "R&B Divas"] and now I'm into the second season. Off camera, Nicci is a nice, sweet, helpful person. She's someone who's about her business and about her team going to the next level. She's always challenging me and wanting me to do better.
Q What makes you a good personal assistant?
A Before Nicci can even say, "Jakeem, I need X,Y and Z," I've already done it.
Q You're also a partner with Sky's The Limit, your entertainment company. Does Sky's The Limit have any celebrity clients?
A I'm working with Chanita Foster and she was on VH1's "Football Wives." Sharlinda and Sabrina with Tu La 2 Nail Salon are clients as well. I help them out a lot with marketing for their company. And they're the stars on "Big Rich Atlanta" on Style Network; it's a new show that just came out this season. They're the owners of Tu La 2 Nail Salon and it's in Buckhead, Ga. They've done [manicures/pedicures] for everybody from Beyonce, Jay Z, Oprah, Gayle [King] – you name it, they've done them.
Q For someone interested in following in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?
A I'd just tell them to use their creativity. They should never limit themselves and they should go the full way; don't just give enough. Before I learnt that I was just doing enough to get by. If you want to be known for what you do, you should always give your full potential.