By Ryan Velez
When we see celebrities getting into other ventures, it’s easy to chuckle a bit. Yes, they have the money, but most of the time, where is the savvy or knowledge to make this successful rather than a vanity project? With more and more celebrities taking a stab at technology, this question is more relevant than ever. We know tech is trendy, but it also takes skill and knowledge to do it effectively. So when a celebrity takes part, is this a shallow branding exercise or a true interest in the future? One good example of this question and its answer comes from singer and reality star Ray J, who has built his company Raytroniks to enter the tech space. Ray J recently sat down with Black Enterprise to discuss the company, its work, and how it factors into his own interests.
Ray J and tech may not seem like a common marriage, but it’s important to note that many celebrities keep to the entrepreneurial spirit, and Raytroniks is very much in that vein. Despite the scripted nature of reality shows, Ray J is very serious about tech, investing his own money, time and energy into his first product. Called the Scoot-E-Bike, this electronic scooter is the first of the planned products to be rolled out under the Raytroniks brand. Ray J didn’t conceptualize the product, but he has been heavily involved in the creation, business, and distribution strategy.
“I finally now can transition from music and TV, something that I love to do but, you’re getting paid for your talent so you’re showing up and you’re getting paid to show up,” said Ray. “At some point, you gotta branch out of that and start taking some money that you make and investing it in something that could be profitable, or take a loss, you know, whatever it is. It can’t be Groundhog Day in an entertainment world.” Ray J’s mentality makes a lot of sense. We’ve seen many celebrities try to lean on their bread and butter, only to fall victim financially on bad habits. Diversifying their options not only adds more financial security, but gives these stars the chance to leverage their names and wealth for other causes.
In this endeavor, Ray J has plenty of support, both from his wife Princess and partner Billy Jones, who is hard at work scoring brand deals and celebrity endorsements. Ray J and Jones will both be appearing at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Summit, Oct. 9th and 10th in Burlingame, California.