From California to Nigeria and back again, Joy Tongo’s life has been a whirlwind of cultures and achievements. Starting out as a model, she knew there was more to her talents, and her journey led her to create JTON Productions. Curious about how she’s using this company to connect Africa with the world and celebrate amazing African artists? Dive into our interview with Joy to hear her inspiring story!


1.
Can you tell us about the inception of JTON Productions and what inspired you to establish this multifaceted entertainment and production company?
JTON Productions was incorporated in the USA in 2006. For over 17 years now we have been spreading our influence across Africa, America and Europe.
At a point in time, I was the Executive Producer (2006 – 2008) of the first-ever Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) which held annually in New York. Shortly after a successful event outing in 2006, I saw the need to launch my own production company with the objective of taking African entertainment to new and recognizable heights in the US. The aim and motto is to bridge the gap between Africa and the western world and Unleashing African talents.   Jton has  evolved over the past years with JTON having subsidiaries to cater to the different need gaps I encountered in the entertainment industry.
2. How do you perceive the cultural gap between Africa and the Western world, and what motivated you to focus on bridging this gap through your company’s endeavors?
Culture is the way of life of a people which includes how they live, music, language, fashion, food, art and much more. I think there is so much of the African culture that is unknown to the Western world. Whilst the internet has further helped to bridge some of the knowledge gap between both cultures; there is still a lot both Africa and the West needs to know about each others cultures.
For us at JTON Productions, in the past 17 years we have become Africa’s gateway and connection to the Western world particularly in all aspects of entertainment with the sole purpose of bridging the gap between Africa and the Western world; and I have always been motivated by the desire to see Africa unleash her beauty, power and multiple super-talents on a global scale. Just like our motto states in JTON Productions, we are ‘Unleashing African Talents’. Jton is amongst the first pioneer in pushing the afrobeat music in the United States. All Psquare’s tour from 2010-2017 was organized by JTON. And Yemi Alade’s US tours from 2017 -2022

3. With diverse services ranging from touring, events, branding, PR, artist development, booking, and management, how do you ensure coherence and effectiveness in managing such a wide array of activities under one roof?
I have a team of talented individuals working with me. I also have an MBA, New York  USA, which in addition to over a decade of management experience has helped me to harness effectively the expertise of my team members.
My keen understanding of the entertainment business in Africa and America has also been a strong factor in how we integrate most of what we do in JTON. Hence, it allows fluidly in our operations. This is not to say it’s always easy but from a planning and management stand point I see the connecting dots of each division in JTON to the overall vision of the company. So whether it is JTON Music, JTON Touring, JTON Management, JTON Films or Power of Africa; the overall goal is to unveil Africa’s best to the world. And yes of course, I wouldn’t be able to do half of it without God’s Grace and Faith.
4. Could you elaborate on the significance of JTON African Magazine during its tenure and its impact in portraying the beauty, power, and talent of Africa to a wider audience in the US and Canada?
JTON African Magazine was my revolutionary idea at the time. It was in print across the US and Canada over a decade ago. My objective in creating the print magazine was to solely explore and reveal the beauty, powerful achievements and super talents from Africa, which at the time it was launched was original, exclusive and unique to JTON. It was another platform to unleash Africa’s Best on the Western world.
The magazine arguably became the first African Entertainment magazine in America. As the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, during the tenure of the JTON African Magazine we had personality covers and interviews with major African stars and personalities including; Akon, 2face Idibia, Nadia Buhari, Football players such as Osaze Odemwiegie and El Hadji Diof, Omotola Jalade, Van Vicker, Dr Eddie Iroh (Author of without a silver spoon), Dr Virginia Wright and many others. The magazine projected the best of Africa to the Western world. Jton magazine is being rebranded this year and will be called, Power of Africa. This will however be an online magazine.
5. What were some of the challenges you encountered while running JTON African Magazine, and how did those experiences shape your approach to your subsequent ventures within JTON Productions?
Tight schedules were one of our common challenges. Getting to meet target timelines can be a snag when we have to depend on the availability of a personality that we need to interview or do cover shoot sessions with. There was also the challenge of consistent funding and sustainable market distribution and the gradual decline of paper prints in the West was a major challenge. In all, we were able to manage the shortfalls with minimal set backs. I have come to appreciate the impact of professional staffing and strategic partners in sustaining business success.
Also, part of the key learnings is what led to my decision to launch an online magazine version like I mentioned earlier. Power of Africa Online Magazine is more or less the evolution of the JTON African Magazine.
6. In what ways do you incorporate African talent and perspectives into the global entertainment landscape through your various ventures, and what impact do you hope to achieve in the long term?
In every way actually. I mean that’s what most of my life’s work has been about… bringing African talents into the super limelight. I believe our music and entertainment is a strong showcase of the African culture. Hence, from curating and designing International tours for African music or entertainment artists, Signing talents such as, Qing Madi into Jton Music whom I believe will be a force to reckon with on the global music scene in the near future and  Facilitating promotion platforms for African talent discovery in the West; to Bringing African entertainment talents into opportunities in the Western world… for me it’s still all about incorporating African talents and perspectives.
My long-term achievement is still the same original goal of JTON Productions, that is Unleashing Africa’s Talent on the world.
7. Can you share some notable success stories or milestones that JTON Productions has achieved in fostering connections between Africa and the Western world, either in terms of artist development, events, or branding initiatives?
Where do I start. I have achieved several milestones in my career and business.

For instance, I was actually the first person to bring the Black Entertainment Television (BET) to Nigeria as a consultant for the programming direction of the African demographic.

I was also the Producer of the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Awards Nigerian Male and Female Cyphers in Lagos.
I also Produced the BET Spotlight (14-episodes interview series that aired from 2011-2013 on BET, BET J and BET International), and I coordinated 28 A-list Nigerian music artists to participate on the show.

I was also the one who hat booked the Super model Oluchi for the BET International’s Fashion Week campaign in America back then.

Some other significant successes on the stable of JTON Productions includes the following:
Overseeing Yemi Alade’s appearance on the Black is King Feature Film and The Gift Album: both Executively Produced by Beyoncé.
Processing the license for Yemi Alade’s recording and video appearance for the ‘Power and Don’t Jealous Me’ tracks from the Black is King Film and The Gift album.
Exclusive management of every aspect of PSquare’s American & Canadian tours (2010, 2013, 2015 & 2017) including branding, PR campaigns, digital promotions & artist development.

Finalizing deals that secured Yemi Alade for Essence Music Festival 2017, 2019 and 2020

Exclusive management of every aspect of Yemi Alde  American & Canadian tours and dealings from (2017-2022) including branding, PR campaigns, digital promotions & artist development
Actively running Jton Music as a CEO/Label Executive and signing Qing Madi, 17years old emerging Nigerian afrobeat artist
Pioneered ‘Power of Africa’ global initiative comprising Power of Africa Online Magazine, Power of Africa Annual Flagship Conference and Power of Africa Podcasts
Featuring major African stars and personalities on the personality cover and interviews in the defunct JTON African Magazine including; Akon, 2face Idibia, Nadia Buhari, Football players such as Osaze Odemwiegie and El Hadji Diof, Omotola Jalade, Van Vicker, Dr Eddie Iroh (Author of without a silver spoon), Dr Virginia Wright and many others.
8. Looking ahead, what are your future aspirations and goals for JTON Productions, and how do you plan to continue advancing its mission of bridging cultural divides and celebrating the richness of African talent and culture on the global stage?
Looking ahead, Top priority will always be to continue bringing African talents and Africa into recognizable heights on the global scale. I want to see more superlative entertainment talent from Africa get global recognition for their artistic creativity and contributions.
Already, I have activated some of our long-term plans at JTON Productions which will help in furthering the promotion of African Entertainment to the Western world, these includes Expansion of Strategic Partnership with World-class International Entertainment organizations in the West, and the Discovery and Promotion of New African entertainment talents; which is what we are presently doing in the case of Qing Madi. In a short time, we have succeeded in positioning this young 17years old teenager from Nigeria to the world.

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