Entrepreneur Christopher B. Stokes has made a name for himself in the music industry with the discovery of such stars as Brandy, Immature, B2K, Jhene Aiko, Sevyn Streeter, Mila J, Kevin McHale (Glee), Omarion & Marques Houston. A Los Angeles native, Stokes has been immersed in the music business since the age of seventeen. Known for his ingenuity behind chart-topping success stories such as multi-platinum selling groups “B2K” and “Immature” and solo artists “Omarion” (former lead singer of “B2K”) and Marques “MH” Houston (former lead singer of “Immature”/”IMX”), Stokes continues his meteoric rise in the music.
Stokes began his career in music at the young age of 12, singing in different groups and talent shows. His mother Irene “Mama Stokes” was an actress/comedienne, which gave Stokes his early interest in the entertainment industry. Stokes later realized that his passion was in the management field. He knew he had a great eye for new talent when he landed his first record deal with a group he was managing called “Next Issue.” That situation didn’t work out, but it gave Stokes the experience and determination to make his stamp in the music industry as a force to be reckoned with. As his career furthered, Stokes went on to discover the 90’s Boy Group sensation Immature. While working with Immature, Stokes was introduced to singer, rapper and dancer Mila J. Later signed by Stokes, Mila J and her two group members landed a deal with the MCA label in 1995 under the name Gyrl. Gyrl disbanded and Mila J went on to be in another Stokes created girl group called Dame Four. In 2006, Mila J was signed as a solo act at Motown under the direction of music mogul Sylvia Rhone to work on what was set to be her first solo album, Split Personality. However, due to creative differences, the album was not released. In late 2012, Mila J went into the studio and put out a mix tape of 5 songs. The mix tape exploded obtaining over 600,000 downloads, causing a stir within industry insiders who then took note. In 2013, Mila J was the talk of every major label in town, but decided to re-sign to Motown. Her first single under Motown “Smoke, Drink, Break-Up” was released in February 2014 and immediately began climbing the R&B Chart. In the 00’s Stokes also founded the hit boy group B2K. It was during this time that Stokes discovered and began working with Jhene Aiko. Stokes met the young songstress when she was only 5 years old. He instantly knew that she was a star and would one day be a huge success in the music business. Stokes artist developed Jhene until she was ready and old enough to take her place in the industry which began with Stokes getting her signed to Epic Records through his then production company TUG (The Ultimate Group). Some time after leaving Epic she and Stokes mutually decided to part ways. Taking some time to further develop herself Jhene Aiko released a very successful mixtape called “Sailing Souls” and on to a chart topping R&B hit “The Worst”. Stokes also served as Vice President of A&M/Interscope Records. During his tenure at A&M/Interscope, Stokes assembled the girl group TG4 and signed them to T.U.G. Entertainment, where Stokes served as their manager. He offered Amber (Sevyn) Streeter the first spot in the group after she opened for B2K and IMX at a concert in Orlando, Florida in early 2001. The group later went on to be signed by A&M records. Unfortunately the group did not achieve the success that Stokes had hoped for and they later disbanded. Amber (Sevyn) Streeter went on to pursue a career in songwriting where she wrote several chart topping hits for artists like Chris Brown and Ariana Grande. She also began a successful solo career under the name Sevyn Streeter. Stokes also helped actor/singer Glee star Kevin McHale get his start in the business. Stokes discovered Kevin back in 2001 at the age of 13. Stokes helped mold him into a solid performer and put him into the boy band NLT, which led to Kevin’s major role as Artie Abrams on the hit Fox television show Glee. Involved in every step of the creative process with his artists, Stokes is an accomplished songwriter as well. He has contributed to tracks for superstar groups Destiny’s Child, B2K, BBD and Immature, and has also written and produced for Bobby Brown, Omarion and Marques Houston.
Without a doubt one of the most influential players in R&B music, Stokes’ creative ventures extend well beyond his music roots. In 2003, Stokes made his feature writing/directing debut with the super successful “You Got Served”. That film surprised Hollywood, opening at #1 and continuing to dominate even in its 2nd weekend. “You Got Served” went on to gross more than $150 million worldwide in box office and DVD combined. The dance film and it’s success ignited a spark throughout the dance community and gave a breath of life to the dance culture in the industry and worldwide. Stokes has also directed more than 150 music videos for artists on his label as well as artists from other labels.
If that wasn’t enough, Stokes ventured into the Clothing industry for a bit with Christopher Brian, a high-end apparel line. Stokes gave mega reality TV star Kim Kardashian her first multi-million dollar modeling job as the spokes model for Christopher Brian Apparel. E! did a news special on Chris Stokes and his clothing line featuring very racy, sexy but tasteful pictures of a topless Kim wearing just the CB jeans. The special also included Kim Kardashian. Shortly after, Kim Kardashian and her family went on to do the hit series “Keepin Up With The Kardashians”. Chris Stokes has been the creative director for the line since its inception, and it represents his vision of luxurious, beautiful clothes for men and women. Deemed “the brand for the million-dollar man,” the collection was a huge success at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas in 2007. Hundreds of celebrities packed Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel to launch the line, which featured a special performance from super producer Timbaland. A year after starting, Stokes inked a lucrative deal to sell the popular line.
In 2007 Stokes directed the horror film “Somebody Help Me” which starred Omarion and Marques Houston. In addition to directing the film, Stokes also wrote the script. The film was released to DVD on November 13, 2007 and made a television premiere on BET on Halloween 2007. In 2010, Stokes went back to his experience in the horror genre and wrote and directed the sequel to “Somebody Help Me”, “Somebody Help Me 2″. The sequel reunited Stokes with Sonny King (Corbin), Omarion (Darryl) and Marques Houston (Brendan) and picks up where the first installment left off. The film made it’s television premiere on BET on October 29, 2010 and did really well on DVD. The success of the horror genre continues for Stokes with the upcoming July 1, 2014 Grindstone/Lionsgate release of his new film “No Vacancy”. Stokes also continued with the Dance genre in 2012 with the hit kids dance battle film “Battlefield America”. The film featured the introduction of young star Camren Bicondova who Stokes also discovered. “I remember I had to convince Camren and her mother to let her act in the film.” Says Stokes. “Camren was hired as a dancer, but I felt like she was a mega star. So I wrote her into the film as one of the characters. She was very nervous because she had never acted before, or even thought about it. But I finally convinced her mother to let her do it. The ending result was great. We all were very happy with her performance.” Camren is now one of the breakout stars of Fox’s new hit TV series “Gotham” as Selina Kyle.
Over his career, Stokes has proven to be a successful music producer, film director, film producer and entrepreneur. Having directed four feature length films Stokes plans to continue and focus more on his career in film directing and production. In 2014, Stokes set his eyes on entering into the world of television and is launching his new Film and Television Production Company “Footage Films & TV” and signing with William Morris Endeavor Agency. This will make Stokes a triple threat, in which he will be focusing on producing, writing and directing original projects.