Icon Talks Honors Fabolous at Historic Borough Hall

On Thursday March 9th, Brooklyn’s prestigious Borough Hall stood illuminated in a glow of purple, red, and green as various influencers and artists gathered to witness Icon Talks honor a true hip-hop legend: entertainment mogul and philanthropist John David Jackson, better known as F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S.

Taking place on the 20th Anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.’s untimely death, a fitting tribute to a fellow Brooklyn emcee and as it was later revealed an intentional choice by Fab; the night perfectly embodied the style and essence we’ve come to expect from Jackson.

Sponsored by Porsche, the evening began with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception in the historic landmarks grand rectangular rotunda beautifully anchored by marble staircases on opposite sides. Guests included Rotimi, Wale, Doug E. Fresh, Ryan Leslie, Lenny S, Tahiry Jose, DJ Vlad, DJ Clue, DJ Self, Rob Markman, Mysonne, Grady Spivey, and The Source Magazine’s Londell McMillan.

The second half of the night took place in the majestic Grand Courtroom. Leslie paid tribute to his longtime friend with a few words. Touching on Jackson’s ability to remain humble amidst all of his success and offering a brief reminder of Loso’s most recent musical hits, he went on to thank him for “allowing me to be part of the soundtrack of New York City.”

Surrounded by ornate gold and white details under a regal and magnificent white chandelier; the perfect backdrop for this intimate conversation, we get to know Jackson a man from humble beginnings and Fabolous the slick talker with a lucrative 16-year career. Led by Icon Talks co-founder John Burns, Fabolous provided a view into his life sharing the keys behind his success and philanthropic endeavours.

Born in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Fab recalled growing up in the Breevort Houses looking at his environment and deciding that he wanted more for himself. With that mindset he went on to reach incredible heights of success, which he credits to making the most of the opportunities he was given.

On the differences between John and Fabolous

Fab is an alter ego of John. It’s like when Clark Kent goes in the booth and turns into Superman. Still the same guy just one has more flash.

On how to measure success: 

Success can be measured in so many ways. You can achieve success within yourself. Success is anything you put forward to do and that you achieve. There’s different levels and different ways of achieving and acknowledging success. I was given opportunities and those opportunities are successes.

On the importance of empowering young people who might doubt their potential:

Stay determined. You may not get it the first shot. Everything is microwaved. There are those with overnight success; but for most, you will not be overnight successes. Stay determined. If it didn’t work this way let’s try another way. My plan B is another way to make my plan A work. We are going to get plan A.

On his foundation A Fabolous Way: 

A Fabolous Way was created because I wanted to help inner city kids. I was once an inner city kid looking for things to do. It’s easy to find trouble. When you give [kids] the opportunity they can do so much more and keep away from trouble. Give them opportunities outside of just sitting around doing nothing or worse. Opportunity is golden. Someone gave you an opportunity to even be in this room today. There are a lot of talented people who don’t have the opportunity to show their talent. Kids come up to me and sometimes I may listen to them spit and that may inspire them. Giving kids opportunities are priceless.

On when he recognized his potential: 

I thought I was pretty good. I can’t say I knew my full potential. When I went to meet DJ Clue I thought I was just going in to say what’s up. I wasn’t enthused but when I got there Clue says, “We gonna go on commercial break and when we get back my boy is going to rap for you”. I thought I was just going to shake his hand. Back to the idea of opportunities. I looked at it as I have to do the most with this and give it my all and whatever happens from there just leave it to God.

On what Biggie meant to him:

He’s our hero. We seen Biggie come up. It’s the story of where you see a guy come from the mud and become a star and it’s like you right there along with him. B.I.G. always represented Brooklyn and shared everything he ever achieved with Brooklyn. He was our hometown hero. Losing him so soon we didn’t see what he would have blossomed into, and that’s one of the most disappointing parts about losing him.

On what he hopes he’s best remembered for: 

I hope [I’m remembered] as somebody who made the most of an opportunity. I was a kid who was observant and looked around to see what was in the world and my world was a 4 block radius in a housing project, but I knew there was more. I said I wanted to do more than this and when opportunities came to do that I took them. One opportunity can lead to the next one.

In the spirit of the evening three Brooklyn 12th graders who were identified by their teachers and community leaders as future icons of tomorrow were awarded the Icon Scholarship.

At the end of the talk Sharon Carpenter and fellow Icon Talks founder, John Hartsfield presented Jackson with the Icon Award.

The night culminated with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams presenting Fabolous with the Key to Brooklyn and Proclamation for his contributions to the community.

The previous night at the Icon Talks dinner longtime friend and collaborator Swizz Beatz had this to say about the 39-year-old father,

“Congratulations to my brother Fab for being the secret weapon. I call him the secret weapon. He’s the secret weapon for fashion, the secret weapon for music, the secret weapon for creativity, he’s the secret weapon behind a lot of artists doing what they do today.”

Swizz concluded,

“We gotta get this new album out. No more mixtapes.”

Congratulations to Fabolous on receiving the Icon Award, Key to Brooklyn, and Proclamation. We salute you for your continued commitment to supporting underprivileged youth.

We’ll be on the lookout for the new album. In the meantime, take a peek at the Icon Talks Dinner held at Manhattan Motorcars.

About Icon Talks:

Icon Talks is an intimate discussion with icons from various walks of life, from music moguls to professional athletes, CEO’s, actors, and activists. The conversations will explore their path to success and provide a platform to engage, entertain and inspire.

Founded by John Burns and John Hartfield on the principle that an icon is someone who inspires not only through their innate talents, but someone who manifests their purpose and passion in how they live their life and touch the lives of others. With that mantra as our driving force, we identify and work with the icons who are not only celebrated in their own profession, but who are passionate about inspiring others through their triumph, determination, and good will.

Icon Talks directly funds and benefits nonprofit, Icon to Ican. Icon to Ican is a charitable organization offering a multitude of youth development programs for disadvantaged and/ or disabled children. Icon to Ican provides mentorship and developmental opportunities for kids from the distressed areas; offering inspiration that they CAN overcome barriers and also come become an ICON.

Entertainment FLY Interviews

Exclusive Interview: Ryan Leslie Is Probably The Smartest Man In The Music Business; Talks SuperPhone, Rihanna, Cassie & more


SFPL‘s Gabriel Williams recently caught up with Ryan Leslie during his concert at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. The talented singer-songwriter-lyricist-musician-producer and entrepreneur held an exclusive event for his fans, in which he performed a plethora his songs, and even went back into his music catalog of renowned hits.

In case you were under a rock, Ryan is a well-respected Grammy-nominated musician, tech entrepreneur and champion of artist rights who has made it his mission to transform the way that people create, share and meaningfully connect with their greatest supporters.


A Harvard graduate at 19 who has been lauded by Kanye West as one of the music industry’s only capable creative directors, today Leslie is known within the industry as living on the forefront of music, business and innovation.

Independently, Leslie has been able to earn over $2 million in one album cycle with the support of just 15,000 fans through Superphone.

Musically, Leslie is also a highly respected artist and Grammy-nominated producer who’s worked with Kanye, Chris Brown, Cassie, Fabolous and Rick Ross. In 2013, Leslie released his subscription-based lifetime album MZRT, which releases one song every month for the rest of his career.

‘MZRT’ subscriptions are available to a limited group of 1,000 friends and supporters. Higher support levels come with greater access to Leslie’s world and creative process through exclusive content. He only accepts support for the album during months where a song is released.

After the show, Gabriel sat down with Ryan as they discussed a few topics from new music, new artists that he’s listening to, Rihanna, fashion, his lucrative business called SuperPhone, and even open to the possibility of getting back into the studio with Cassie, if asked.

What’s Ryan been up to?

Traveling the world, that’s what I do. I just came back from Tel Aviv and it was beautiful. I spent a lot of time overseas in Europe and everything.

Project in the works?

My project is a lifetime album. So, I am dropping a song every month until I decide to retire from the game. The way you subscribe to it, you send me a text, you authorize a payment, then you can say how much you think the song is worth. People give me anywhere from between $1 to $100 a song. Shout out to Christopher! I’ve been giving songs away for the last nine months and he gave me $900 for nine songs. Pretty crazy, right?

New artists you’re checking for like Bryson Tiller, Torey Lanez?

I’m listening to Destiny Ryan, who was just on stage with me tonight. I think the names that you mentioned have more than enough exposure, so for me it’s about exposing that next wave of talent. I think her talent speaks for itself. She came out and really ripped her performance tonight and I’m looking forward to seeing how the world responds to her.

Any artists you would like to work with that you haven’t yet?

I wanted to work with Prince, but he gated out on me before I got the chance to get in the studio with him! You know, I have a very short list of legends I wish I could get in the studio with. I believe two of my last living legends would be Bootsy Collins and Stevie Wonder. Bootsy on bass, you know is incredible, and Stevie for sure. I performed for Stevie once at an ESPN party and that was crazy. He was sitting at the table with his family. But yeah, that would be just amazing. I mean, I would consider him one of my teachers.


Japanese styling, you know what I mean? Tonight is pretty simple: I still got the timbs going, Top Man you know, I like to keep it simple with the basics. But you know, it’s all about the silhouette. You’d never think this is a size small, because it’s intentionally oversized. Yeah, it’s pretty fresh.

Rihanna’s “Work”, I can tell that’s your favorite song, isn’t it?

Well, actually, you know it’s a couple of things…one of my former right hand guys was shooting a lot of my content for like 5 years, and Rihanna’s team called and said: “Hey, we love your content. Do you have another guy like the guy who’s shooting yours?”. I didn’t. I knew that was going to be a crazy opportunity for him, and so he’s now actually Rihanna’s personal archivist. So, whenever I get a chance to link up with him, he has just like hours and hours, and hours of footage. He gets excited about records and, he told me that this record was going to be crazy [and showed me footage]. I knew from the moment I saw his edit from behind the scenes, that it was going to be infectious. So, I intentionally don’t listen to it on the radio, because I knew it was going to haunt me everywhere, and then it just so happens to be one of my girls favorite songs. We drive and we travel a lot. We just shot a video in Port Antonio together so that was basically the soundtrack for the past however long that song has been out. Whenever we get in the car, that’s the first one in the playlists.

Would you like to work with Rihanna?

Yeah, I would love to. It’s crazy, I mean Riri and Cassie both came out almost at identical times. She had “Pon De Replay” and Cassie had “Me and You.” It’s just pretty insane the body of work that Rihanna’s put together. I think she drops a new album every nine months. She has an incredible team around her. Great creative; I love her style vocabulary. I love the collaborations she’s done. I remember watching when she first got together with Freda Gianni. When Freda first came on at Gucci and they did the tattoo heart collection for whatever cause she was working on. I really like that movement. I see what she’s doing with Puma. You know, man, I just like the whole movement.

Are you and Cassie maybe getting back in the studio anytime soon?

I haven’t really spoken to her in probably like years now. Definitely been following her career, so I’ve been watching. I saw she just came out with a film with Terrence J, so I think that’s an indicator that she’s moving into Hollywood and major motion pictures. I wish nothing but the best to her and her family. I got to know her family pretty well. But I’m always extremely accessible so should anyone want to work with me my number is public. I think ya’ll might have posted it before, but that number that’s on my Twitter and Instagram? That is my direct cell: 646-887-6978, SuperPhone.

Photo Credit: Joe Chea


Fly Visual: Ryan Leslie – “Wonderful Ones”


Ryan Leslie has released a new music video entitled “The Wonderful Ones.” Ryan wrote, produced, arranged and performed the song and played all instruments in a single night this past month. Shot in the Panorama Villa, the latest addition to Jamaica’s gorgeous Geejam Studios (which has hosted acts like Drake, Rihanna, J. Cole and Alicia Keys in the past), the video trails R.Les and Victoria’s Secret model Daniela Braga as they enjoy the good life in Port Antonio.

“The Wonderful Ones” is the 8th installment of the MZRT Lifetime album available at where members of Ryan’s private music club contribute anywhere from $1 to $1000 per song to have access to a new song per month for life.


Fly Tech: The Story Of The “SuperPhone” With Ryan Leslie


Hold on! We’re gonna let you finish, but Ryan Leslie has had the best independent career of all time!



Arguably of course. Perhaps you didn’t already know but singer-songwriter Ryan Leslie has ultimately created what truly should be known as the blue print to independent artistry for years and years to come. Not only has the Harvard Grad discreetly removed himself from all major music distributing platforms, but Ryan has mapped out an entire formula that allows him to directly connect and interact with all of his fans on a personal level. Whilst simultaneously gaining directly from his fan base in what many would call (for lack of better terms) “cutting out the middle man”, it’s clear to see we might just have a genius on hands.


Now as many of you would most likely think (us included) it’s almost unheard of for an artist to share their personal information like an email address or even worst, cellphone number to the general public. But with the power of some new technology, Ryan has consistently maintained the ability to have an interpersonal relationship with his supporters which bridges the gap between “artist to fan”, a stigma that has withheld for so many years.


SuperPhone is a bidirectional mobile communications system that enables creators to deliver smart, scalable SMS messaging to millions of supporters worldwide. The app is mobile-responsive, with each user assigned an active mobile number that can also be used for bidirectional calling. Leslie’s mobile product is built on relationship equity, turning contacts into currency by way of a direct-to-consumer approach that taps into the true value of forging genuine personal connections with your loyal supporters. SuperPhone empowers creators to take ownership of their audience and influence, bypassing the perceived need for a major label or third party distribution platform to increase an artist’s global footprint and create opportunities for true revenue generation says Forbes

Watch as Ryan Leslie breaks down his genius in an exclusive mini documentary with Forbes. Complete with special appearances by Fly guys, Kanye West,  Nipsey Hussle and more below:

With over 11,000 #Renegades to connect with daily, successful is an understatement! Certifiably Fly Mr.Leslie #WeApprove

-Stay Fly



Entertainment Music

Watch: Ryan Leslie – “Designer Pain” [Fly Visual]

Ryan Leslie has been planning a big music comeback! Today, the genius himself releases his captivating visual entitled “Designer Pain,” which was produced by himself and Kaui Williams of the Black Phoenix Beat Club.

Ryan is currently working on his forthcoming album MZRT, where he has been packaging and recording in Europe with a release of July 4th.

Music Uncategorized

Fly FREE Mixtape: Fabolous – ‘Soul Tape 3’


In the the giving mood the Brooklyn way, famed rapper Fabolous releases part 3 of his mixtape series ‘Soul Tape’. This time around, the BK bred talent receives some featured help from the likes of; Mack Wilds, Tiara Thomas, Stacy Barthe, Jadakiss, Ryan Leslie and more. Check it out below and download for your holiday festivities…

Music Videos

New Video: Ryan Leslie – “Carnival of Venice” #BlackMozart

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Off the cap of his new upcoming album ‘Black Mozart’, Ryan Leslie serves us with a Las Vegas strip, Lamborghini cruising video entitled “Carnival of Venice”. Check it out below…

Music Videos

New Video: @RyanLeslie – “Lovers & Mountains” (Irving Plaza Promo)

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Off of his current album ‘ Les Is More.’, Ryan Leslie drops a new visual for “Lovers & Mountains”, which also plays as a promo to his upcoming concert at the Irving Plaza here in NY. Peep the video below…


[New Video] Ryan Leslie – ‘5 Minute Freshen Up’

The hardest working man in show business, Ryan Leslie hits us with another visual titled ‘5 Minute Freshen Up’! Check it out!

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[Video] Ryan Leslie – “5 Minute Freshen Up” In-Studio


Follow @RyanLeslie !