*Famed choreographer and creative director Laurieann Gibson is behind some of the biggest superstars in the music industry such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, and now the star-maker is putting herself on display in the new Lifetime docuseries “Laurieann Gibson: Beyond the Spotlight.”
Following Laurieann and her team at BoomKack Worldwide, each episode is a rare look into her process as she shapes and steers the creative narrative of her clients that include Sean “Puffy” Combs, Fantasia Barrino, Tamar Braxton, French Montana and many more.
Lifetime partnered with Ish Entertainment to produce the series and Gibson also serves as a producer, alongside her longtime friend and colleague, executive producer Mioshi Hill.
“Mioshi, an incredible executive at the network, has traveled the journey with me in other shows and was also a fan and just brave enough to fight,” for the series Gibson tells EUR/Electronic Urban Report, adding that she’s “really grateful” Lifetime invested in her #BlackGirlMagic.
Having a big social media presence has become a thing for dancers and choreographers and Gibson tells us that she has managed to ride a wave over this trend by not subscribing to the “Insta-process” that drives the industry.
Peep our Q&A with the pop culture icon below.
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Talk about the creative process of capturing your spirit and process for this series.
Laurieann Gibson: I’m really excited because I felt like it was difficult to continue the conversation that I’d been having with my artists, with the industry. It seemed like everyone was so moved by Instagram and the Insta-process and for me, a real creative person, I’m not someone that’s Googles a lot of references. There’s a difference between inspiration and complete mimicking. So for me, I’ve always dug deep into my gift and produced things that I didn’t necessarily see that I actually had to go through the process and manifest the idea. I wanted to have a show that could inspire the younger generation and continue to inspire my artists and to continue to inspire the conversation in the music and entertainment industry — that the process is where the razzle-dazzle is, where the magic is. Just because it doesn’t happen overnight, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Doesn’t mean there’s not something specially cultivated specifically for you and your gift and your walk and your name and your brand and your music. In the process, that’s where you can perfect what you need for the moments that you do walk in and fulfill your destiny.
What excites you most about the journey you’re going to take viewers on in “Beyonce the Spotlight?”
Laurieann Gibson: I felt misunderstood a lot. I felt that I was battling an industry that is sometimes driven by manipulation and oppression and the conversation to deny my contributions as a woman, as a black woman, as an incredibly talented person. I was running into a lot of restraining situations. If I was a man it would be different. I just try to persevere and find the option. I’m not very good at following what people think you should do or what you have to do. I’ve never been a conformist. I’ve never been good at dimming my light or suggesting that anyone else should dim theirs and follow what man tells you is right for you. I’ve never been good at that, so I felt like I would only go back to TV if I could tell the real story. I’ve been trying to tell this story for a while and the value of the dance, the value of someone like myself — a creative collaborator, a visionary, a director, a dancer, a mogul. I was trying to tell my story and it was not being heard. So, Lifetime, being the champions that they are and standing behind great women, was the perfect place that people could receive it and receive the magic. And there’s so much more to come and they’re so open to it, like, we just tapped the surface.
And for my clients, I was happy that they could get a platform that they could say something that they can’t promote — that PR can’t write, which is the process with their coach, the process of their creative process that only inspires your fanbase to buy more records or buy into the magic. So, again, being the visionary that I am, just tried to find another platform to change the narrative in order to take us higher.
Describe your creative process, where do you find inspiration?
Laurieann Gibson: I give all glory to God, honestly. I believe that he gave me a gift and I’m trying desperately to understand that gift and walk in the truth and the authentic-ness of that gift, but everything is inspiration for me.
Have you been surprised by anything you’ve learned about yourself while making this series?
Laurieann Gibson: I’m learning myself. There’s some really bad moments because I’m like, “Oh my… am I that lonely?” Like, am I that much just into my creative that I forgot to live? When I get my artists, that project is the only thing that I know for that time. I don’t think about myself because I’m not there to serve myself. I’m there to serve others and I love that. So there’s really an interesting perspective when you do see my process that there is a sense of loneliness that I had to look at and I’m trying to deal with, or as a result of how much I submerge myself in the creative process, there’s a big sense of sacrifice and loneliness that I finally realized I’ve lived my life in this space, my entire life, and I have no regrets, which is really interesting. I have not lived another type of life. I don’t come home and put it down. I do to recharge, to center, to pray for what I need to go hit the battlefield. I realized two things when I watched this show, that I’m a natural-born warrior and that I did sacrifice what people would say are the successes in life to produce success for other people and now for myself.
Sometimes just thinking about it I want to cry, not a sad cry ‘cause it’s an overwhelming emotion that when I watched it and I realized that my family, my relationships, they didn’t suffer, they just were not my priority or just not something that I was equipped to live to elaborate on. The only thing that I was equipped to do was to create, was to do everything that I’ve done. And I remained a little immature in dating and forming relationships because I was only in a relationship with my artist or with the peace that I was making or the impact that I had to have or the pressure that I would never allow my artists to be under or the art to be under. I was always busy fighting that — protecting that. So I’m waking up to, “I’m not married, I don’t any have kids”…. and that’s okay but I just saw it staring back at me for the first time. I talk to my dog which is kind of interesting and sad in one episode… and I’m like, “Did I really just go home and do that?” But at the same time, it’s what is part of the process to someone who is more creative than anything else in this life.
You’ve worked with many famous artists. Who was the easiest to work with, and who was the most fun?
Laurieann Gibson: Easy is subjective, right? I do know that I am called to those artists who are really true artists and that are great and who do have big calls on their life. I’m not really called to manufacture situations or things that are a dime a dozen or familiar or look alike or do-alike. I’m always called to people that have to break a mold or get to another level or impact music, i.e. Nicki, Gaga, Katy, Brandy, Fantasy, Jonas Brothers — it’s all very reflective in my clients. I love everybody for different reasons and everyone’s easy and everyone’s difficult.
Obviously, one of the most difficult things that I had to come through was my relationship with Lady Gaga and the dynamics being in full control of creative and what other people saw that as and the manipulation and the things that I had to grow through as an artist. I’m so thankful that I did get that opportunity to grow through all those challenges.
I think Alicia Keys is always one of my favorites. Nicki is great. I love her. She’s so loyal and dedicated. I have a really super special connection with her and the world should know that she’s such a loyal girl and she works so hard. She’s always been so transparent with me. I love that and we have from the beginning done great work and will continue to do some stuff. I’ll always have a special spot for her.
— Laurieann Gibson (@iamlaurieanng) February 22, 2018
Did Diddy and working with the Bad Boy Family provide your big break into the business?
Laurieann Gibson: It’s all been a big breakthrough and I’m still waiting for my breakthrough. My big breakthrough is talking to you. That idea of a breakthrough, I’m still waiting on it, you know what I mean… every day. I feel like I’m in it right now. Now I’m in my breakthrough.
And the impact that P. Diddy has had on your career….
Laurieann Gibson: Sean has a been a freakin’ thorn in my side but one that I believe was called. As great as he is, for him to acknowledge me standing right by his side and my efforts and commitment and the loyalty of my creativity, that to me is so inspiring because sometimes you don’t realize how strong you are and the women you are until you’re pressed, until you’re challenged, until every door closes, until a $700 million dollar man requires every once of your gift at all times and you can’t get it wrong. What I love about him is he pushes me as hard as I push myself and my clients and my dancers and the excellence that I require. He’s the same way but it is not easy with Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs, very few have survived but I’m very gleeful and happy that I have not only survived but dominated and been able to sustain. We are not only great collaborators but we’re also great friends and family. And that doesn’t happen all the time in this business.
Lastly, inquiring minds would like to know, what is your all-time favorite Hip-Hop track?
Laurieann Gibson: “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years…rockin’ this town — puttin’ suckers in fear…I’m gonna take this city by storm, and I’m just getting warm.” Obviously, it’s LL Cool J but I always go to that record when I need to be reminded of who exactly I am.
“Laurieann Gibson: Beyond the Spotlight” debuts March 2 on Lifetime at 10/9c. Tune in to see her work her magic with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs in the premiere episode.
In a time of instant gratification via social media, choreographer and creative director @iamlaurieanng hopes her new @lifetimetv series shows people that there’s purpose in the creative process, and it’s that process that makes greatness. #CheddarLIVE pic.twitter.com/fcgAfHxd4U
— Cheddar (@cheddar) February 28, 2018