It's Friday night, and college guys and girls are getting all dressed up for a night out on the town. During the course of the evening, students will share lots of laughs with friends, make Facebook-worthy memories and dance until they can't stand. The next morning, as they sit among their friends recounting the night before, they will be completely unaware of the party gods who made the entire evening possible. Meet Michael Stewart, a Clark Atlanta University student and a core member of NVus Entertainment. As host of parties featuring celebrity guests such as Young Jeezy, Shawty Lo, Young Dro and Andre 3000, NVus Entertainment has become a recognizable force in the Atlanta nightlife scene. Started in 2005 by students from the Atlanta University Center Consortium — a nonprofit organization comprised of historically black colleges and universities Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and the Morehouse School of Medicine — the goal for the fledgling marketing and promotions company was to create a lucrative business empire before the group graduated.
Stewart, who was approached by one of the founding members of the organization, decided to join NVus because he saw potential. "I would say this is a lucrative business," Stewart says, "because even though it started off slow, I have been seeing nothing but dollar signs since I began this hustle." In addition to the profitability, Stewart was attracted to the confidence of the company and its members. The name NVus was chosen because it embodied the swagger the organization's young men hoped to embody. The gentlemen of NVus set the bar high for themselves, invoking such mantras as "They don't hate us! They NVus!" and former Def Jam President and CEO Shawn Carter's words or wisdom, "When on top, many envy."
Stewart's primary role in the group is to make contacts and network with the Atlanta community. This includes posting fliers, controlling an extensive e-mail list and taking meetings with potential business partners. These are just the daily tasks needed to keep the party machine running. As event dates draw nearer, the real work begins. "The process of throwing a party starts off with nothing more than just an idea. Then you make a plan to support your idea with a good, solid party theme. After the theme you will find a venue, get fliers out to everybody you know and wait on the end result."
Filled with ideas and charisma, Stewart and the NVus crew have successfully thrown a slew of parties for the college crowd. Some of their favorite venues include Club Miami, Frequency, the House nightclub, Utopia Martini & Tapas Lounge, and Sabor Restaurant Bar and Lounge.
Despite being in the business of making parties happen, Stewart asserts that the life of a party promoter is inevitably one of a hustler; that doesn't deter him, though. In fact, one venture isn't enough for this entrepreneurial student, who is working on side projects in addition to his full-time gig with NVus. Stewart's plans include expanding the company into a major record label for Atlanta artists. With the confidence and swagger that's been a signature of the entertainment company, Stewart looks into the future and only sees bigger and better. "What we do in the future may surprise you, but remember this was always in our plans."