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. (born James Walker Watson Jr.; December 28, 1955) 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 three decades. He has also been honored with countless awards in 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, he sung in the choir, 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, he was selected to represent The Los Angeles Area Council; Pueblo District at the 1969 National Jamboree in Farragut Park, Idaho. He was one of the over 30,000 Boy Scouts in attendance. In 1971 at the age of 15 years 3 months 12 days 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 James's 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 1969, he met the Jackson 5. 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, judges, 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. It was an all boy social club, they would put on the biggest and most well attended gatherings of teenage party goers on the west side. "By having all of the most popular guys from the most prestigious high schools, the choicest girls from the most prestigious high schools would flock to these parties and social events, in numbers just to be where we were." Also during this time, he 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 of 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 member of the CC5 varsity basketball city champions. He also received local, state and national honors in track and field (high hurdles). He was highly recruited in track and field by 47 major colleges and universities across the country. He earned a 6th degree Black Belt in Chinese Kempo. After 17 years of active competition, he quit competing in 1983 to concentrate more on his business ventures.
Eventually, he 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 Collections and Pro Championship Rodeo Productions have been honored with countless awards and accolades over the last 41 years.
James made a name for himself as a successful promoter and event organizer while in his late teens and throughout his 20's. He became 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 had 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 told about him, and there were many who admired his “Midas” touch.
He has 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 in spite of 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."”.
“I am committed to producing the highest quality of entertainment and rodeos along with reaching the youth, to encourage excellence in education through my 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 an 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 41 years he has donated his time and resources, working with the disadvantaged and homeless people. Through his companies, family foundations and corporate sponsors he has provided those in need with food, clothing, medical care and assistance in obtaining employment. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mr. Watson, his staff, along with thousands of volunteers serve meals to the homeless.
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 could give back to various communities. "I never finished college, but I had opportunities others did not have. I was very fortunate, being at 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."
For more than three decades, I have donated my time and resources, working with disadvantaged and homeless people nationwide. Throughout the course of the year my companies, family foundations and corporate sponsors have provided those in need with food, clothing, medical care and assistance in obtaining employment. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, my staff, along with thousands of volunteers and myself have served meals to the homeless, distributed clothing and provided toys for children across the United States.
“In 1998, I created and founded the Impact Project Foundation. Because of my upbringing and the fact that I am an ex-felon, I have a straight forward outlook on life. I was rather fortunate to have been raised under a very stable household, with two wonderful, hard-working parents. I always believed in giving people a real choice between good and evil, right and criminal. It's been my experience that when a real choice is offered, invariably, almost everyone chooses the law-abiding path. The Impact Project Foundation requires going into some of the worse-off areas in different cities. Our executive staff work with State and Local Representatives, along with Social Services to identify the selected people that are chosen for the project. Our project coordinators meet with them and 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 out of their current environment, place them in a totally different environment, and immerse them in a rigorous education and social refocusing program. We gauge their interests and ambitions and help them to fulfill those goals. We expose them to opportunities they would otherwise never have. With a critical difference, the connection to their present world will not be severed. They will have full contact, and indeed, we encourage that contact with their present life. The goal of the program is to foster, and then spread, hope. These folks 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. Then we have ten people outside the program who in turn can inspire others. What that also does is gain the attention of government. And a government such as ours does have the financial wherewithal to help large numbers of people. Any governments' greatest resource is its citizens. Most studies conclude that less than half the adult population in this country is achieving its potential. If you want to equate that to financial terms, we're spending trillions of lost dollars per year. Now, even the cynical folks in cities should sit up and take notice of numbers like that. And beyond the government you have the private sector that is constantly complaining that they can't get decent help to fill their job requirements. I have to tell you that some of the most creative and quick-thinking people of my acquaintance are sitting in jail right now. For some folks they see justice in that. For me, I see wasted opportunity. 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 to them to contribute to society instead of detracting from it, it would have an enormously beneficial impact.”
Since its inception, Impact Project Foundation has created employment opportunities for 437 men and women throughout the United States. Also during this time, 82 scholarships have been awarded to our interns to various Community, State Colleges and Universities.
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); Certificate of Special Congressional 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; Distract of Columbia Resolutions; State of Louisiana, Honorary Lieutenant Governor; State of Louisiana, Honorary State Senator.
He has received Countless Community, Civic Resolutions and Accolades over the past 41 years, in business, music and charity work.
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 and a few times in state prison camps. Most recently, he was convicted in March 2011 for "Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud," involving one of his music festivals.
“I have worked very hard within myself to become a better man, father and human being inside and out. I take full responsibility for my actions. I had let my moral values, character, integrity, and self-respect become non-existent. I understand the mistakes I made in the past, and I have made the necessary changes in my attitude and disposition. Before, I carried myself like I was above reproach, with no regard or respect for the law and the rules, in which I was raised 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. I totally disgraced myself. I wish I could undo what I did, but I can't.
I was brought up in a very respectable home and environment. There, I was taught the difference between right and wrong. I had not lived my life by the lessons I was taught by my parents and mentors, nor had I lived by my spiritual training and beliefs. I have been blessed to have lived a very successful, enjoyable life. I have been fortunate 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 myself have been honored with countless awards, resolutions and proclamations throughout the United States over the last 46 years.
Along the way in obtaining money and power, I forgot how blessed I was in the first place, such as spending time with my 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 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.
I never set out to teach anyone lessons about my life, but somehow, I always end up sitting with people, rehashing the path that I took to get me to where I am today. I feel my past endeavors and life experiences would enlighten others. I guess that's a part of who I am and my destiny. Being 52 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.
On March 14, 2014, I lost the most important person in my life, my mother! I made her a promise, before she died and to myself that I will live a different life and never ever get in trouble again!
I am going to pray and ask the Lord to be my guide. I will use my God given talent, to again, become a productive member of society. I will obey and respect the law, and earn my living
James Watson Jr.