About James Watson Jr.
Born: James Walker Watson Jr. December 28, 1955 in Los Angeles, California.
Parents: The late James Walker Watson Sr. (2003) and the late Ann Watson (2014).
Education: West Vernon Avenue Elementary School (1961-66), 42nd Street Elementary School (1966-68), Audubon Junior High School (1968-70), Crenshaw High School (1970-73)
Residence: Various Cities
Occupation: Chairman/Founder Cal-Tex Enterprises (privately held, wholly owned) Entrepreneur, Concert Tour Producer, Music Festival Founder/Executive Producer, Special Events Coordinator, Pro Rodeo Producer. Years active: 1976-Present.
Political: Democratic Party
Marital Status: Single.
Spouse: Smyra (1998-2003) Divorced, Cassandra (1994-1995) Divorced, Patricia (1984-1992) Divorced, Marsha (1982-1983) Annulled.
Children: James III (1979) Alexander (1990) Devin (1993).
James Watson Jr. is an American Entrepreneur, Entertainment Executive, Rodeo Producer, Philanthropist and Convicted Felon. He is a multi-award winning businessman and concert/festival producer. James has produced some of the biggest concerts, music festivals and rodeos throughout the United States over the last 45 years. In 2018 he was inducted as a rodeo producer into the National Multicultural Western Hall of Fame. He has also been honored with countless awards business, transportation and the entertainment industry.
The only child of the late James W. Watson Sr. and Ann Watson, James was raised with a value system, which was to always give back to the community in order to develop it beyond its present existence. At a young age his parents got him involved in sports, music, martial arts and scouting. Starting in elementary school where he sang in the choir, he also played drums and trombone in the band. When he was 8 years old, he joined the Cub Scouts. At 11 years old, he became a member of the Boy Scouts of America. At 13 years old, James was selected to represent The Los Angeles Area Council, Pueblo District, at the 1969 National Jamboree in Farragut Park, Idaho where he was one of the over 30,000 Boy Scouts in attendance. In 1971 at the age of 15 years old, he became one of the youngest African Americans ever honored to receive Boy Scouts of America's highest rank of Eagle Scout. He was 17 years old when he left the Boy Scouts, by then he had earned 93 merit badges and numerous gold, silver and bronze palms.
After the 1965 Watts Riot, everything changed in his life in 1966, his parents moved to the other side of Los Angeles. They felt they needed a different environment for their family. The next 8 years turned out to be the major difference in his life. His new neighbors were the movers and shakers of the business, sports and entertainment world. The children in the neighborhood attended over 25 different schools (Private, Catholic, Public, Valley and Beverly Hills Schools) in the West Los Angeles area. There was always plenty of interesting social events and parties to attend every weekend in various parts of the city. In 1968, he met the Jackson 5 and they soon became his best friends, which exposed him to another level of life experiences over the years. He was a member of Jack & Jill of America and Junior Achievers.
"Most of the children I had gone to school with had parents who were entertainers, athletes, actors, doctors, lawyers and teachers. I attended Audubon Junior High and Crenshaw High School, two of the best schools in Los Angeles at the time, and many of the people that I had grown up with were now famous. It was like living amongst legends, and a lot to live up to."
In 1971 while in high school and aside from sports and other activities, he started promoting dances and social events throughout the west side of the city. Distinguish Gentlemen was formed by James and eleven of his friends who attended the most affluent and prestigious schools in the area. It was an all-boys social club; they would put on the biggest and most well attended gatherings of teenage party goers on the west side. "Everyone would gather to these parties and social events, in numbers just to be where we were." Also, during this time, James was a member of the Soul Train Gang, where he danced on the show for 4 1/2 years. By being on the show, he had the opportunity to meet all the singers and groups who performed, personally. These contacts proved to be very valuable when he started producing concerts and festivals. While attending Crenshaw High School, he was a member of the CCS varsity basketball city champions. James was highly recruited in track and field by 47 major colleges and universities across the country. He also earned a 6th degree Black Belt in Chinese Kenpo. After 17 years of active competition, he quit competing in 1983 to concentrate more on his business ventures.
Eventually, James created Platinum Star Entertainment Group, which later became Cal-Tex Corporation. He became involved in concert production, transportation, real estate management and hair care products. His companies, Cal-Tex, CT Transportation, Star Elite Management Group, Production Management, Festival One Entertainment, Connoisseurs Collection and Pro Championship Rodeo Productions have been honored with countless awards and accolades over the last 45 years.
James made a name for himself as a successful promoter and event organizer while in his late teens and throughout his 20's, becoming a well-known entrepreneur/event/concert producer in the United States. By the time he was 30 years old, he not only did entertainment events, but he had also started a transportation service and invested in a hair care company. "It had taken me very little time to figure out that, for the most part, the money and the excitement were in the production end. I invested my savings and had made a little money." There were many stories over the years talked about James, and many who admired his "Midas" touch.
He served on various advisory boards and charities, including Boy Scouts of America, Young Black Scholars Foundation, Sickle Cell Research Foundation, National Minority Business Network and the Boys and Girls Club of America. "Someone took the time with me to serve as a positive mentor. I believed it is important to emphasize other aspects of our society, like working hard to achieve our goals and to know that our goals can be accomplished despite the odds facing our community and country, a la drugs, gang warfare, low self-esteem, etc. My parents, coupled with the discipline I received through the training of martial arts, sports and scouting, instilled in me the knowledge of 'YES I CAN'."
He is committed to producing the highest quality of entertainment and rodeos along with reaching the youth, encouraging excellence in education through his personal interest in the history of music and western lifestyle. "I'm not concerned with the profit margin personally as I am interested in donating to various institutions with similar objectives as my own. I want to give back to my community by raising the self-esteem of its members and helping them realize they can be anything they aspire to be. With education, discipline and hard work all goals are attainable. If I can just help one or two children get a education and move up in the corporate world or even start their own business, I feel I would have contributed to society and to the upbringing of our youth to adulthood."
Over the past 45 years James has donated his time and resources, working with the disadvantaged and underprivileged. "Through my companies and corporate sponsors, I have provided those in need with food, clothing, medical care and assistance. I have also helped people in obtaining employment, along with providing toys for children across the United States."
"'Since 1980, I have presented scholarships and financial assistance to over 1,100 students across the country toward continuing their education. I am very proud that I had the chance to contribute and give back to various communities. I never finished college, but I had opportunities others did not have. I was very fortunate, being in the right place at the right time. I have been blessed to watch my three sons attend and graduate from college. I am proud to support anyone who is attempting to get ahead in life through education.
In 1988, James created and founded the Impact Project. Because of his upbringing and the fact that he is an ex-felon, he has a straightforward outlook on life. James was fortunate, he always believed in giving people a real choice between right and wrong. It's been his experience that when a real choice is offered, invariably, almost everyone chooses the law-abiding path.
The Impact Project requires going into some of the worst areas in different cities throughout the country. The executive staff work with State and Local Representatives, along with Social Services to identify the selected people that are chosen for the project. The project coordinators meet with them to explain our proposal and offer them what we like to call "an internship." If they accept our program, we take over from there. We remove the people from their current environment over the next six months and place them in a totally different location. We then immerse them in a rigorous education and social refocusing program. We gauge their interests, along with their ambitions, and help them to fulfill those goals. We expose them to opportunities they would otherwise never have had. With a critical difference, the connection to their present world will not be severed. They will have full contact, and we encourage that contact with their present life.
The goal of the program is to foster, and then spread, hope. These individuals will serve as ambassadors of hope. We cannot afford to do internships like that for everybody living in poverty. No one organization can afford to lift all the folks that need help and place them in a different world. However, if for every person we help inspires just one other person to break out of the cycle of disempowerment they're currently in, the benefits can be immeasurably positive.
Since its inception, Impact Project Foundation has created employment opportunities for men and women throughout the United States. Most studies conclude that less than half the adult population in this country is achieving its potential. "We can't change every criminal into a law-abiding citizen. But if we can make even twenty percent of them choose another path that would enable them to contribute to society instead of detracting from it, it would have an enormously beneficial impact." Also during this time, numerous scholarships have been awarded to our interns in various Community, State Colleges and Universities.
Never having set out to teach anyone lessons about his life, he always now ends up sharing his past endeavors and experiences with people, mentoring and enlightening them. In 1979 he was an associate member of an organization called The 100 Black Men of America whose role was to mentor young men and women. As a member of the Young Black Scholar Program, he had the privilege of mentoring a young student by the name of Barak Obama, while he was attending Occidental College in Los Angeles. In his wildest dreams he would have never thought that skinny teenage student from Hawaii would later become the 44th president of the United States.
Highs and Lows
Despite all the success James has achieved in his personal and business endeavors, he has also hit some lows. Over the years, He has been arrested numerous times. As an adult, he has served time in county jails, state prison camps and federal satellite camps.
Most recently, he was convicted on May 4, 2023, for wire fraud involving one of his music festivals (2019). "Being 63 years old, at the time, I should have known better. I am ashamed of what I did to my family, business associates, friends and community. I accept full responsibility for my actions. I have worked very hard within myself to become a better man, father and human being inside and out. I had let my moral values, character, integrity and self-respect become non-existent. I understand the mistakes I have made over this past year and have made the necessary changes in my attitude and disposition. Before, I carried myself like I was above the law, without regard or respect for the law and the rules, which I was reared to follow. In turn, I hurt my family, business associates, friends and people in the community in the process. I am truly ashamed of myself and totally disgraced myself. I wish I could undo what I did, but I can't."
James was brought up in a very respectable home and environment. There, he was taught the difference between right and wrong. He departed from the principles and lessons of his parents and mentors and their spiritual training and beliefs. He lost, at times, being appreciative, as life can sometimes lead us in many directions in our money-hungry society where right and wrong can get convoluted. "I have been blessed to have traveled around the world, enabling me to see and experience many remarkable things. In the business and in the entertainment industry, my companies and I have been honored with countless awards, resolutions and proclamations throughout the United States over the last 45 years."
Along the way in obtaining money and power, he forgot how blessed he was in the first place, such as spending time with his family and enjoying the basic, simple pleasures life has to offer, being appreciative of having wonderful parents, children and friends. Often times, life leads us in so many directions and sometimes we have no idea whether it's right or wrong. The decision to take the right path, most of the time, is determined by money, but money doesn't always equate to right or just. We live in a society where we are forced to be driven by our wealth and not necessarily our morals. Sometimes, we are forced to ignore our morals due to the lack of respect or the need for basic survival in a society driven by money. However, it doesn't mean that we won't end up back on the right path.
He is going to pray and ask the Lord to be his guide and watch over him and use his God given talents, to again, become a productive member of society. "I will obey and respect the law and earn my living honestly. "I am determined to live a healthy, jail free lifestyle, one that is productive and honest. I have made the commitment to change!"
James Watson Jr.
Selected Awards: Boy Scouts of America; Eagle Scout (1971); Life Member National Eagle Scout Association; Four (4) Office of the President of the United States Certificate of Special Service Recognition (Received from Presidents: Carter, Reagan, G.H. Bush and Clinton); 23 Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition; 17 Certificates of Special Senatorial Recognition; State of California Senate Rules Committee Commendation; State of California State Assembly Resolutions; City of Los Angeles, Office of the Mayor Commendation; City of Atlanta, Office of the Mayor Commendation; City of Dallas, Office of the Mayor Commendation; City of Houston, Office of the Mayor Commendation; District of Columbia Resolutions; State of Louisiana, Honorary Lieutenant Governor; State of Louisiana, Honorary State Senator.
In 2018 he was inducted as a rodeo producer into the National Multicultural Western Hall of Fame.
He has received countless resolutions and accolades over the past 45 years, in business, music, entertainment, rodeo and charitable work.