Mark B.D. Sesay knows his path to stardom isn’t paved with gold.
That’s why the Howard University alum and Prince George’s County resident has his hands in many ventures, including entertainment, marketing and even real estate.
“The most difficult thing I find about breaking into the entertainment industry is the combination of perseverance and consistency required to make it, compounded with the amount of resistance and lack of support at times,” said Sesay, 27, whose family hails from Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Sesay, a Laurel High School graduate born and raised in Prince George’s County, regularly ventures into the District for business, nightlife and networking opportunities — much like he did at a recent Black Press Week event, where he spoke with publishers, editors and reporters from the nation’s African-American press.
“You wonder if all the hard work will pay off one day,” he said. “Unlike other industries, there’s no set way to make it. For example, to be a doctor or lawyer, you have to go to school. Entertainment, you have to find out what works for you while still having to hunt to survive.”
But that’s where individuals find out what they’re really made of, Sesay said.
“I’m in the mogul and entrepreneurship realm for the long haul and for the right reasons — for the culture, for my culture, for our culture,” he said. “Just using my gifts, vision and creativity to build and protect our culture.”
The president of the Hip Hop Union DMV Chapter, Sesay has kept busy organizing and promoting nightlife events, conferences and even mansion parties. He’s secured concert dates for a number of artists and he has worked in artist management.
The scope of Sesay’s involvement in the entertainment industry has proven to be far and wide. He served as brand ambassador for Moet Hennessy USA and has been featured in several television and movie projects, doing background and support roles in spots for the Super Bowl Bud Light commercial, “Jason Bourne” and even Bollywood movies.
“The key is to stay humble, strategic, work hard, and hold yourself to the highest standard,” said Sesay, who lists his inspirations as Malcolm X because of his pro-African views and his “unapologetic nature” and Diddy because of his “hustler” ability.
“I’d like to keep it humble and just be cool with being me and thank those that have paved the way and the impact they’ve had on my life,” he said.
Currently there are several television projects that he’s working on as well as conferences and concerts.
However, patience remains the key.
“I’ve learned perseverance through my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi,” Sesay said. “I use acting and music to educate because art imitates life and it will stand the test of time.”
Sesay considers himself a spiritual person, quoting the movie “Amistad”: “I will call my ancestors, I will call into the past, far back to the beginning of time and invoke them to come and help me at the judgment. I will reach back and draw them into me, and they must come, for at this moment I am the whole reason they have existed at all.”
It’s that quote and the stories of his great-grandfather, Bai Bureh, that sums up the driving force that inspires Sesay, he said.
“It’s the blood in my veins,” Sesay said. “I truly can’t wait to see what the future holds.”