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It's Your Time Business & Music Conference 2024: The Experience

Updated: Jan 24

It's Your Time Business and Music Conference kicked off for its second year in Charlotte, NC with an industry mixer on January 12, 2024, at Society 229 S. Brevard welcoming about 100 drop-in guests.

The Society is a members-only club for both art and jazz lovers, where the smooth ambiance is upscale and calming; while one section is lighted with a generous halo, that serves as an awing, spacious studio.

Monique Douglas is co-owner of the modish historical marker. She talked about the importance of entrepreneurship, legacy, and blank excellence when reminding guests the reason the conference is crucial for community, and business owners.

The Society social club is turning 101 years old. The building is one of the oldest structures that make up South Brevard st., called “The Black Wall Street of Charlotte. The entrance of Society at 229 is the former “Mecklenburg Investment Company Building.”


Benny Pough, the founder of It's Your Time Business and Music Conference talked about his appreciation for Mr. and Mrs. Douglas

The idea for the conference drifted into Poughs mind as an affirmation while flying into Charlotte, NC, that “It’s Your Time (to do something)."

The philosophy became a critical and strategic starting point for Poughs newest lease on life. After all, he’d been CEO over 30 years launching the careers of pioneers from early 90's till now. Although Pough walked away from the industry, it seemed unrealistic considering he was a fixed marquee catapulting the most talented artists into stardom.

Can you really leave all of it behind, something you've mastered, that brought out a sense of reverence, purpose, and joy to your life? Apparently, not completely. Hence, It’s Your Time Business and Music Conference was birthed.

Pough remarked that he gave the option for people to win $10,000, to participate in a small business; but no one applied even though 100 contestants took their shot at the auditioning portion of the conference, and performances which consequently paid out $10,000 to the winner on the final day.

It’s also plausible, that the marketing didn’t suggest that aspiring small business owners, could and should apply, or maybe the business plan, was already laid out. Who knows?  One thing is for sure, there weren’t any candidates looking for $10,000, to fund their company.

Pough says they are accepting sponsorship, to help fuel future symposiums.

The mogul invited Alston Pough and Gabe Parker, to the stage, to talk about their new eco-system for creatives called Dverse Connect.  It’s an innovative Web3 platform, linking creatives, to others in the creative and entertainment space, while also allowing the liberty to showcase work within the platform.

Kimberly S. Reed, who’s longtime friend to Pough, and panelist for It’s Your Time Business & Music Conference 2024, spoke to the visitors in motivating context. She's cancer overcomer, author of award-winning book, “Optimist Always Wins (Moving from Defeat to Life’s C-Suite), " and strategic advisor that teaches organizations diversity, equity, inclusion to workforce and organizations.

Benny Pough always had a knack for spotting talent, and it appears that his sights are set on blockchain technology as being the wave for the future business models at the conference. This isn’t a bad thing, and with the enhancements of this generation, technology plays a pivotal role in the advancements for artist getting music placement, and not scrapping through entities paying for marketing and advertisement.

He has shaped the conference to glean more into the tech, in partnership with Dverse Connect.

The It’s Your Time Business & Music Conference trapsed from January 13th until January 14th at Central Piedmont Community College, Halton Theater.  

The first day of the conference, probably welcomed a couple hundred spectators, but not enough to fill the upper and lower level of Halton Theater though it should've done just that with the wide range of knowledge seated on panel discussions, that talked about everything evocative of starting, running, a successful business, and staying motivated once those things are achieved.

Speaker List Here.

Though this is the second year of the conference, it’s still somewhat slow-moving when appealing to the artistry and celestial talents springing from the Queen City of Charlotte, NC.

Granted, the target audience for the conference seemed to appeal more on the side of Gen Z, which is interesting when considering how many of the indie artists flock to other local ceremonies, that don’t offer stake in currency.

It’s worth noting that many of the local goliaths, that’s well-known on the rap scene in charlotte, NC, are somewhat millennial, and Gen X.

Charlotte artists have long criticized the lack of support that launched other artists like Da Baby, into stardom. They have protested for years, saying that Charlotte, NC does not support its own indie artist, even the elite wordsmiths. So, it was disappointing to see that only a few lyricists from the local area, signed up for their chance at performances that would've secured $10,000 to be the top performer and entertainer of the event. Which scoffs at the question, where were the local talents, the generals?

The admission to submit music ranged from the standard pricing of seventy-seven dollars, to the largest package of four-hundred and ninety-seven dollars. It’s understandable that Christmas, breaks the bank for the working class whether they pursue music or run something on the side. Its reasonable to assume, that for some starving artists, the funds weren’t there. However, it’s an investment like anything else in business, and that investment comes with sacrifice.

Surprisingly, there are hundreds of lyricists, that makeup the music scene in charlotte whether hip hop, boom bap, neo-soul, gospel, jazz, R&B and drill music. There were more neighboring cities, and out-of-state artist that attended.

Hopefully, the word will travel that the conference is a serious consortium whether for business or entertainment, and if nothing else, to network with the social elite, and connect with the plug.

Is it worth the efforts, and the reason Charlotte natives should take the conference seriously.

Charlotte rappers have debunked that Charlotte NC was a place where artist could make solidified name for themselves without going outside the state to places like Atlanta, New York, and LA to set roots into the music industry. Without riding coattails on this statement, one could suggest that "It's Your Time," is a linear starting point to do something differently, especially with a large payout on the line totaling $10,000.

Although Its Your Time isn’t just about the music, but establishing longevity in the industry while starting businesses to help fuel and fund those other passions.


There were ten contestants, and three finalists for It's Your Time. Although a talentrd ensemble, only one winner emerged from South Carolina , the multitalented vocalist @milliemanny


Interviews from It's Your Time Buisness & Music Conference 1/12 and 1/13.

KLAZIK: The artists smooth delivery, and witty wordplay proves that he’s a seasoned and sophisticated rhymester just like his stage name “Certified KLAZIK ,“ which is the reason he took a chance at performing.


Granddaddy Lo: #YouTuber and Country Hip Hop Artist at “It’s Your Time Conference Networking/ Micer founded by author and music executive, Benny Pough, at Society 229 South Brevard St.— The lyricist aims to shakeup the music scene with creative genre that’s a bit hardcore with a whisk of Southern flair🔥🔥🔥 The native from Spartanburg, SC says he’s cooking up some lyrical fire in the kitchen, that’s different than rap today which is predictable.


Shana Douglass: Co-founder of immersive company, NFT CLT, a Web3 tech consulting and event production business.

Douglass is a visionary that has solidified her clientele. She’s helped to launch new material or house older works with the eco-friendly NFT (non-fungible tokens) system known as “Blockchain.”

Short explanation: Blockchain companies, store data on an enormous scale, which includes music, art, creative and intellectual content, slicing out the middle man while giving sole ownership to the curator— all while marketing/advertising the work to a global audience.

Douglass is successful co-owner of several Blockchain companies that’s provisioning services all over the country while educating clients about NFT, and how to grow their own businesses and brands. Clearly, Douglas has the gift of the gab, and Intel to back it up by staying up to the minute, securing the bag, and looking fantastic while doing it🔥


Greg Jackson: Award recipient of The Martin Luther King Medallion Award, Gospel Hip Hop Artist and Founder of Heal Charlotte.

Jackson is extraordinarily vocal about community, stopping violence, and empowering, educating and saving the youth which is his call/purpose, before the music.

While reaching within, Jackson understands that hip hop would bring him closer allowing him a bridge to communicate through verses, the power and goodness of God, while still reaching the villages within the community.


Bilal Issifou: The mega-mind that launched recruitment platform for HBCU students called “Unchained Inc. “

Unchained Inc., is a job finder application that connects black and marginalized users to corporate employment opportunities suited for their degrees or talent that were otherwise not available when considering equivalent and equitable career finds for students of minority.

The vital quality that makes the system standout amongst ziprecruiter and Indeed, is the built-in technology that generates networking opportunities, as well as career fairs subsequent of the job locator.

Unchained inc is backed by the largest marketing groups in the world like Nike TruStsge, Equitable, and Accenture to name a few clients.

Issifou launched the app in 2020, and it’s grown as a hybrid recruiting app for HBCU. In 2021, and the first year of development, Forbes listed Issifou as remedy for the Black talent shortage in corporate pipeline.

He’s also spearheaded the marketing to bring diverse paneling from HBCU, in addition to the students which speaks to the crowd surge for the overall conference experience.


Bluestate: Lyricists traveled from the East and the West Coast, to take part in the “It’s Your Time (Music & Business) Conference,” for their shot at the throne, there were a few native artist that made it to the finals like rapper @bluestate704.

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