Chris Stokes (director)
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Chris Stokes in 2014
|Born||1966 (age 48–49)
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Other names||Christopher B. Stokes|
|Occupation||Film director, Record producer, Screenwriter, Film producer|
|Relatives||Juanita Stokes (sister)|
Chris Stokes is an American record producer, manager, and film director. He is the son of actress Irene Stokes and older brother of Hip Hop/R&B singer Juanita Stokes, and is notable for discovering many popular singers, actors, and performers.
Chris Stokes' career has its origins in writing and producing records. He came to public attention in 1995, producing his sister Juanita Stokes' single Mind Blowin'. He discovered several major acts of the 90's such as IMx/Immature, B2K, and Brandy and helped shape the solo careers of Marques Houston and Omarion, in addition to discovering such stars as Jhene Aiko, Sevyn Streeter, Mila J, and Kevin McHale of Glee (TV Series) fame.
While managing IMx/Immature, then called Immature, he discovered singer, rapper, and dancer Mila J, who landed a deal with MCA Records in 1995 under the name Gyrl, and she appeared later in the group Dame Four, managed by Stokes. He managed her first solo act at Motown under direction of Sylvia Rhone, and signed again with Motown in 2014. He discovered her sister, Jhene Aiko as well. He also discovered Amber Sevyn Streeter, and with the group TG4 signed her to A&M Records. She would go on to pursue a songwriting career, with credits for artists such as Chris Brown and Ariana Grande.
Stokes has writing and producing credits on Destiny's Child's The Writing's on the Wall, distributed by Columbia Records, which has sold over 17 million copies worldwide. He has written and produced for Bobby Brown, all B2K albums, and also wrote and produced for the solo careers of Marques Houston and Omarion. During this period Stokes also served as Vice President of A&M/Interscope Records.
He founded the music/entertainment group TUG (The Ultimate Group), which became home to artists including Omarion, Marques Houston Immature/IMx), B2K, TG4, Mila J, and NLT. NLT marked the first major career step in the industry for Kevin McHale, who would go on to play the major role of Artie Abrams on Glee (TV Series).
Transition to film and television
Stokes first became connected with Film and Television through the talent he managed. In 1992, Marques Houston made his acting debut in the animated comedy film Bébé's Kids, and received his big break as a regular on Sister, Sister in 1995. All three members of Immature appeared in the film House Party 3 (1994).
His first film credit came in 2001 as the writer and director of House Party 4, which starred Immature, which by then had transitioned to their new name IMx. He is perhaps most well known as the writer and director of the 2004 dance movie You Got Served, starring members of his TUG record label. The cast included Lil' Kim and Marques Houston. The film opened at #1 at the box office during Super Bowl weekend with $16 million grossed in its first week.
He also wrote and directed Somebody Help Me and Somebody Help Me 2, two horror films. The first, Somebody Help Me, was released to DVD on November 13, 2007 and made a television premiere on BET on Halloween 2007. Both were distributed by Vivendi. The company's second feature, No Vacancy (film), another horror, was completed in 2011 and the first of Stokes' films not star talent from his music career. It was distributed by Grindstone / Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
Also in 2011, Stokes returned to the dance battle genre with the dance-drama Battlefield America, starring Marques Houston, Gary Anthony Sturgis, and Lynn Whitfield. The film follows a young businessman whose community service obligations require him to turn a group of misfit kids into a dance team. The movie was distributed domestically by Cinedigm, and opened in theaters June 1, 2012. Through this film, Chris Stokes is credited with discovering Camren Bicondova, who appeared next on Americas Best Dance Crew, Season 7, and on the Fox series Gotham as Selina Kyle, Catwoman.
|2001||House Party 4||Writer, Director||Cameo appearance as "Ray Ray"|
|2004||You Got Served||Writer, Director|
|2007||Somebody Help Me||Writer, Director, Producer|
|2010||Somebody Help Me 2||Writer, Director, Producer|
|2012||Battlefield America||Writer, Director, Producer|
|The Helpers||Writer, Director, Producer|
|Boogie Town||Writer, Director, Producer||Not yet released|
Christopher Brian Collection
In 2007, Stokes launched a clothing and fashion line, the Christopher Brian Collection, which debuted at Magic (trade show) in Las Vegas February 2007. The line featured Kim Kardashian as the principle spokes model and was available at Dash, her Calabassas boutique. Promotional images for the brand featured topless pictures of Kim Kardashian wearing just the Christopher Brian pants.
- Who is Chris Stokes? Chrisstokeslife.com. Retrieved 07/03/2014.
- Sevyn Streeter Co-Writes Hits for Ariana Grande and Chris Brown, Records EP for Atlantic Records. Songwriteruniverse.com Retrieved 07/03/14.
- "CHRIS STOKES, a Platinum Plus West Coast Music Producer/Director, And Manager of the Hottest Hip-Hop Music Artists in the World Zooms Into the Illuminating Spotlight and Branches Out To Ionospheric Dimensions With Films!" May 29, 2003. PR Newswire.
- "CHRIS STOKES, CEO of THE ULTIMATE GROUP, Will Announce Company's New Film and Television Divisions, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN FILMS and THE ULTIMATE GROUP FILMS & TELEVISION" June 23, 2003. PR Newswire.
- Official Chris Stokes. Officialchrisstokes.com. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- Kehr, Dave (January 30, 2004). "You Got Served (2004) FILM REVIEW; A Hip-Hop Dance Team Duels Some Menacing White Boys". The New York Times.
- Who Is Chris Stokes. ChrisStokesLife.com. Chrisstokeslife.com Retrieved July 3rd, 2014.
- No Vacancy, 2012 on IMDb. Internet Movie Database
- Christopher Stokes Reveals Plans Behind Clothing Line Debut. Fashion Victim, Dennicas's Place. Dennicasplace.com Retrieved July 3rd, 2014.
- Take Cover: Kim Kardashian. J'Adore Magazine, November 2007. Jadoremag.com. Retrieved July 3rd, 2014.
- TMZ: Chris Stokes. TMZ. Retrieved July 3rd, 2014.