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Keaton Thrives on Red Carpet Treatment

June 13, 2014

Byron Keaton  
Byron Keaton

Entertainer Byron Keaton’s winning ways have earned him recognition on a few high-profile red carpets, and he hopes to continue his lucky streak this summer.

The St. Louis Community College-Forest Park student is currently acting in an original web series, “Feeling the GAP,” that recently began shooting in St. Louis by JPEK Productions.

Written and directed by Joel P. E. King, the show focuses on how music changed the lives of three main characters.

“Music became the ingredient to killing the chaos and filling the void that could have ruined their lives,” King said. “Byron is a recurring character who is the comic relief of the piece. He works closely with a club promoter.”

King, a St. Louis writer-director, is a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and native of Washington Park, Ill.

“The concept was derived as a way to highlight the St. Louis artists and create a platform that opens the world to their daily driving force -- the music, arts and entertainment,” King said. 

The trailer will debut at the JPEK MegaMixer 7-11 p.m. Friday, June 13, at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and Keaton will be front and center, working the crowd on the red carpet.

Showtime

Keaton would like to return to the BET Awards June 29, but won’t know until June 20 if he earned another shot. He entered a contest through AT&T, one of the sponsors, to be a roving reporter covering the pre-show red carpet festivities, called the “BET Experience at L.A. Live.”

Doors opened after Keaton was named the grand prize winner of the “Rollin’ with Ford and the BET Awards” contest last summer. While spotlighted on the nationally televised red carpet coverage June 30, he was surprised with keys to 2013 Ford Fusion. He had won the 60-second video contest with a mash-up of Beyonce’s “Love on Top.”

“It was so surreal. I was deeply honored and humbled to be selected from thousands of participants,” he said. “It was everything you dream about.”

Performing Artist

On campus, Keaton works in Campus Life and in the bookstore. He is involved in each semester’s New Student Orientation. A graduate of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, he grew up in St. Louis City. An energetic performer and aspiring theater major, Keaton’s aim is a career in show business.

The trip to L.A. was a life-changing experience. Upon his return, things took off. He was inundated with offers to appear at gigs around town.

“Your gifts will make a way for you. It’s the beginning of my journey. I’m living my destiny, a purpose-driven life,” he said.

He promotes himself as “The Man Indeed, For Your Entertainment Need,” with skills as an actor, singer, dancer and master of ceremonies. During the past year, Keaton served as the emcee of STLCC’s 10th annual Bowling for Scholars, interviewing teammates on the red carpet beforehand. He has been a host for several concerts, including R&B singer Alli’s appearance at the Missouri Historical Museum and gospel superstar Tamala Mann.

He finished in the Top 8 Finalists for the "Young and Free Spokester St. Louis" sponsored by Vantage Credit Union. The winner was to blog weekdays, post to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, make weekly videos and attend events.

He did win a Mother’s Day Sweepstakes, presented by American Family Insurance and BET, which included a $500 spa getaway. Earlier this spring, he participated in pre-show festivities at the 86th annual Academy Awards through a photo opportunity.

A photo he submitted via Twitter was selected for inclusion on Oscar night March 2, and actor-writer Johnny Knoxville (“Bad Grandpa”) and his wife posed with it on the red carpet. #MyOscarPhoto campaign, powered by Livefyre and Twitter, gave viewers around the world a chance physically to be a part of the show by posing on the red carpet alongside A-list celebrities.

Keaton was shown in a silver-sequined jacket he had worn to the STLCC Student Awards Banquet last year, and also at the BET Awards. He was sent the Knoxville photo.

Living the Dream

Taking advantage of opportunities is what drives him. A project dear to his heart is the play “Real Life,” written by King. As a member of the original 2010 cast, he appeared in it twice in St. Louis, and hopes to be part of the cast when it opens in Atlanta.

“I believe in its potential,” he said.

Executive producer Andrea Kelly, star of the MTV reality series “Hollywood Exes,” will be on hand Friday at the MegaMixer.

The event, at the Kranzberg, 501 N. Grand Blvd., will feature live entertainment. Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. For more information, email jpekcreativeworks@gmail.com or call 951-223-5735.

Keaton will continue to dream big. After all, he won a car, and was able to mingle with stars that once upon a time had those same dreams.

“They embraced me wholeheartedly,” he said. “I was treated like an industry person. It’s tangible for me.
“I am excited and elated to see what the future brings.”