We had the good fortune of connecting with Kennie Leggett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kennie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
If you caught up with those who knew me from high school they might describe me as ‘talkative, life of the party, class clown, and always getting into trouble’. You may even learn about some of my experiences with Inglewood Family Gang. If you hollered at some of the ladies around the way from my old neighborhood, they’d probably respond with something along the lines of, “I always saw something special in that boy, but I just knew he would be in jail or dead by now…”
I was incarcerated at JAMESTOWN STATE PRISON in 2008, from the ages of 20 to 21, followed by CHUCKAWALA in 2009, IRONWOOD from 2009 to 2010, and ARIZONA from 2010-2013. It wasn’t until I served time again at IRONWOOD in 2013 and 2014 that I really began to develop my entrepreneurial spirit and knack for networking and marketing. I was 25 years old. I remember telling myself, I don’t want to be here anymore. I started reading this dope book “Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide to Making Money in the Music Business” by Todd Brabec and Jeffrey Brabec, and I was changed forever.
I’ve been exposed to the treacherous, yet abundantly resourceful streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood my entire life. As a natural hustler, I’ve always aspired to persevere beyond my adversities and give voice back to my community. Growing up around gangs, drugs, and violence, I aligned myself with the Inglewood Families, adopting the name “Mannchester”, but I vowed never to let this part of my life define me.
In prison, I truly began to cultivate my purpose of becoming what I was always so often fearful of accepting – being a self-made entrepreneur and leader. In 2015, I established Juggalot Records, which birthed a myriad of brands, including Jugg Wear and Juggalot Security. After being recognized by names such as E-40, TrapKitchen, DJ Mustard, YG, and so many more, Juggalot Company LLC was created in 2019 with a vision to share the motivation and inspiration received through unfortunate circumstances with those enduring similar upbringings as myself. Since 2015, I’ve been fortunate to create more than 100 job opportunities and to touch the lives of more than 30,000 followers across the globe, not to mention the 200 I’ve directly impacted through mentorship and sponsorship.
When I was released from prison in 2014, I hit the ground running. Juggalot Records, with the enhancement of my then artists Clive Aden (“I’m On”) and Bon Bon Swagga (“Dab n’ da Pussy”), we undeniably created a wave for our neighborhood. I had a team around me and it was a glorious and exciting time for us. But after enduring certain tragedies, like the loss of my friend and partner, Jayman, the dynamic of our wave surely changed and I’ve progressed on with new visions and aspirations. I went from drinking and clubbing every week, to restaurants and movie night with my family. My focus has been readjusted and while I’m grateful for my entire journey, there’s so much work to do which requires planning, going at an appropriate pace, and establishing relationships that are beneficial to the overall goal and purpose. Now, my time is predominantly spent running Juggalot Security and securing contracts across the nation, as well as working on my book and documentary film.
With all those that have recently reached out to me, I feel it’s important to share my story, offer support to other aspiring entrepreneurs, and to strive each day to be better than I was the day before. It’s about giving back! It is our responsibility to uplift others and to contribute to causes that matter to us. Such as, I’m proud to be a Brand Ambassador for the “Forgotten Baby” children’s book series (www.forgottenbaby.shop) that focuses on a young girl, Mytaé, who grows up in foster care without her biological parents. These colorfully illustrated books are fun and inspirational, great for children and families exposed to the foster care system or any at-risk conditions, and just all around a beautiful story that I believe more need to learn about.
My balance consists of always keeping Juggalot at the forefront so I’m able to continue establishing successes and helping others, quality time with my family, and ending each night with a moment with God.
Juggalot has become a way a life, and I’m just getting started!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
First and foremost, I would not be where I am without God. He has brought me thru so much and it is He who guides and orders my steps. He has instilled in me a great responsibility to make moves that will enable me to in turn uplift my community. Next, it wouldn’t be right not acknowledging my family and team. My wife, Dream North, who also supports me in the capacities of representation, accountant, editor, and coordinator. My mother, children, mother-in-law, and siblings, who love me unconditionally. And my friends and community/followers who constantly reassure me of my path and how I’m making an impact in their lives. Without these rocks, I’d be nothing.
Also, I will have to say the success behind my brand has been because of myself. My obstacles and failures have taught me the lessons I needed and gave me the armor to prepare for the next battle. Many times I’ve wanted to give up on my dreams and purpose, but there’s something within me that just won’t extinguish the light burning strong and true. For many years I didn’t treat myself right. I didn’t protect or love myself adequately. But I can say that now, at the age of 34, I am awake and see so clearly. I know who I am, what I want, and what my job is. I understand the assignment now, and I am so proud of my brand, how far I’ve come, and what is yet to come.
I’m inspired by the creative, almost ingenious, talents and attributes my people exude. In spite of the hardships and lack of equal opportunities I’ve faced, I’m proud to be a Black man from Los Angeles, aspiring each day to fulfill my dreams, not just for myself and my family/wife/children, but for my community that follows me and believes in me. I take responsibility in being a leader and making choices that order my steps in a more positive and growth-oriented way with each day I’m blessed to keep grinding. I’m inspired by my community and OUR voice! The color of our skin. Our passions, motivators and desires. Our grievances, heartaches and outrage. I love all people, but it’s important for me to inspire self-love first and foremost. I’m inspired by a will and determination to unite and create dope experiences that promote non-violence, creativity, and entrepreneurial advancement. I’m a true Gemini, and there’s not just a single word or phrase or moment that could sum up what inspires me. I come from the streets of Inglewood and East Side Los Angeles. And as a former active gang member, I’m not only driven by my own inspirations, but that of my people!
Juggalot Company is an independent music label, security services and brand development agency; it is the product of circumstance, inspired by the people. Being exposed to the urban areas of Los Angeles, I was encouraged to combine my passions of music, fashion and marketing, with the opportunity to establish positive outlets for at-risk individuals, most importantly, the youth. Juggalot is proud to possess a platform to motivate others to create visionary arts and be apart of something bigger than violence and illegal activities.
Juggalot represents the people of the urban inner cities, and has proven that through hard work and dedication, expansion, greater opportunities and success are possible. Our accomplishments have brought Juggalot Company to an important milestone, allowing us to expand from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in February 2021. We have demonstrated to collaborators and potential clients that we are not only serious about our commitments, but we are capable of delivering on our returns. Juggalot Security believes that our product quality, excellent customer care, and diverse product selection will make us successful in accomplishing our domestic expansion goals. There is surely a demand for our licensed guards and professional entertainment security services. And with the celebrity clientele base we possess, marketing will not be an issue whatsoever in further strengthening our efforts to expand.
Because of my experiences, both good and bad, I’ve come to believe in passing our present and generational successes on to our family, team, partners, clients, and community, and building relationships that will increase all of our profits in more way than one, including in spirit and mind.
That’s what it’s all about. The grind. The struggle…. It’s up to us to leave behind a legacy we can all be proud of!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Yes, it’s always cool to meet up for a nice bite to eat. If you know me, you know me and my girl restaurant hop. From upscale delights of Crustacean and Lawry’s to hood gems like Ramona’s and Taco Mama. The old me might have also said get a bottle and pull up on all my people, cruising down Manchester Blvd in one of my exotic loaners, like the Lambo or Ghost Phantom.
But the most important and nostalgic place to me is my old house, on 84th and McKinley in Los Angeles. The neighborhood holds so many dear memories for me. At one time I didn’t think I’d make it out… but God!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this article to all the kids growing up in the ghetto, dreaming for a way out. My word to you, “Never stop believing in yourself. I am you. I made it out. So can you!”
I believe being a risk-taker is important, especially as an artist or entrepreneur. You have to be willing to bet on yourself, and others, if you aspire to stand out beyond all others who are seeking the same successes. The entertainment industry is competitive, and quite dangerous, and you must be willing to step outside of the box and make some daring moves in order to be recognized or respected. I went from being apart of various rappers’ entourages to finally choosing myself. Now I’m sitting at tables with some highly successful individuals. But risk is not always as glamorous as we entertainers make it out to be. Risk is defined as a situation exposing one to danger. Risk can get you in grave trouble. You can incur major crippling losses. You can lose out on invaluable relationships. Risk can also jeopardize your life and that of others. Recently, I secured a new contract and was on the way to close the deal. I was unfortunately caught in the middle of a feud that had nothing to do with me and I was shot in my stomach, lung and liver. I took a risk of attending a venue in a certain area at a certain hour, and in hindsight, evidently is was the wrong place and time, and I’ve been forced to reassess my business moves. But after two major surgeries and facing this life-and-death situation, I’m still here. And I’m stronger and even more empowered than before. While such risks are never anything I’d encourage others to partake in, I believe God allows us to take risks to experience important life lessons tailor made for our perspective journey.
I’m now in position where I can continue motivating others who aspire to change their lives as well, and I’ve been granted a platform where I can more clearly identify and assess healthy and unhealthy risk. You can be too!
I’m urging my young Kings and Queens to choose life. Choose unity. Choose growth. Choose family. Stay ten toes down. And never stop pushing until you get where you deserve to be! You TOO can inspire many.
1. Kennie at exotic car rental (Partner) venue
2. Kennie + “Ghost” of Juggalot Kennels (Male Tri-Merle English Bulldog)
3. Men’s Land (Fox Hills Mall) – Kennie + Nate (Consignment Rep for Jugg Wear)
4. Kennie at Ironwood State Prison (2014)
5. Los Angeles City Hall Award Ceremony for Star Athletes – Kennie + Son, Kennie Jr
6. Kennie + Activist Rizza Islam
7. Inglewood Forum – Kennie + Sean the Ox (MMA Athlete & Former Client of Juggalot Company)
8. Juggalot Security Lil Boosie Event – Kennie + Rahkeim (Security Guard)
9. Inglewood High School (2003) – Kennie + Long Time Friend, JP