“We are warriors, we come from roots and ancestors who fight and protect”
eXpozedTV Studios recently pulled out all the stops for their fifth anniversary bash, dubbed the Grind Jam Session. The event, tooled to link recording artists with music business pros for the purpose of educating performers, producers, and managers featured the participation of internationally known Mass native Clinton Sparks as well as Donny DizzyCleanFace, the latter an a&r who works with DJ Snake among other major acts.
Katiria Colón is the CEO and founder behind eXpozedTV, a one-stop multimedia shop overlapping the video, music, and podcast spaces. Initially driven to produce such events because of her own experience dealing with what she describes as a lack of opportunities, she now says that “seeing people grow and knowing that I was a part of that … is the biggest reward that I have in my heart. I get to help people.”
We asked the entrepreneur and show host about her company, ambitions, and upbringing that served as inspiration in her current business and mission.
Tell me about yourself …
I was born and raised in Cambridge, but I lived in Boston for about 10 years and went to Brookline schools. My mom is Puerto Rican, and my dad Is Afro-Cuban, so they call me a Cuban Rican. I went and got my bachelor’s degree from UMass Boston in theater, art, and communication. From there, I just started my journey on becoming an entrepreneur. I started working in the medical field because my mom had cancer, but my calling was to be a TV host.
How did eXpozedTV start?
I started expozedTV after my mom died. I spoke with my neighbor one day and he was like, You love to speak, you love to talk, you have a lot of stories, you should create your own show and put it out on CCTV [local broadcasting channel in Cambridge]. I was like, I’m gonna do this TV show and it’s going to be pretty much me exposing artists and telling their stories. Asking them questions so the audience can figure out who they are and for them to build a fanbase.
I’m curious, why is the X on eXpozedTV the only capital letter and red?
It all has to do with my mom, she was so bold, and her favorite color was red, and I wanted to do something that represented her. Before she died, she would come to me and say: Katiria, let’s go to this place, interview this person. We were not even booking interviews; we were just popping up to places, and that’s how I ended up getting my first interview with Mario and Big Papi. We were literally going to these events and my mom was like, My daughter is here and she wants to interview you. You guys have a moment?
Did you envision yourself having your own media outlet?
You know what? I thought I was just gonna be hunting for a TV job at MTV, Telemundo, Univision. Even though I was born in Cambridge, growing up I was like, I’m from Puerto Rico, I’m Puerto Rican. I love my culture and my mom embraced it in me so much. I just thought I was going to be working in a station that involved my culture. I really thought that I was just going to be searching for that job, but I wanted to help people, that’s why I created my own platform to help people in my own terms, my own ways. The way that my mom taught me.
Why is it so important to you to give exposure to new artists that are struggling with the lack of connections in the entertainment community? Is it because of your own experience?
When I was in school going for theater and communications and minoring in dance, I thought that I was going to be Chris Brown’s or JLO’s backup dancer. The reality is this shit is so hard, you go into auditions, you don’t get any of them because thousands of people are going for the same role. When I was thinking about eXpozed, I thought there needs to be a better way of exposing artists. There needs to be a person in place that helps them push them, that it’s going to know how to connect the dots, how to build the puzzle together, so I put myself in that position.
How do you manage all of the departments your company offers: modeling, photography, studio time, television, podcasts?
I could not do this if it wasn’t for my team. My fiancé Matte Thomas is the director of visuals, he has been one of the main persons for me creating these brands and the marketing. Of course, I had a lot of interns, people that came by eXpozedTV and I had the opportunity to work with them to build certain structures and events that I’m really grateful for. I’ve been working with a lovely lady, Christina Sookhoo from New York … who’s been working with me on the business side. … I wanna give a shout-out to Berklee College of Music, because a lot of our interns come from there.
You started with acting and dancing, are you planning to go back to that?
I want to go back to acting. Being a content creator and storyteller makes me think of so many movies. The way that I’ll go back is if I have a movie in mind, I would definitely play a role in that movie and put it out there as an independent film. Hopefully, someone who is an amazing director will see it and be: Hey, I need you to be in this movie.
A year ago, you said that your goal is to hit national television with eXpozed TV, are you any closer to achieving that goal?
Right now, eXpozed TV is going to come out as a TV network on Roku and Amazon Prime. One of the shows that is going to be under the eXpozedTV network is CWTFB radio, run by Charlie MaSheen.
Being a CEO who is a woman of color and a Latina, three communities that sadly are oppressed in society, has it affected the upbringing or development of eXpozedTV?
I’ve struggled with being taken seriously. Starting off with eXpozedTV I would tell a lot of people the idea and they were like, Oh, ok, let’s see where that goes. As a strong Latina woman, we are warriors, we come from roots and ancestors who fight, conquer, and protect what needs to be protected. That being in my roots I didn’t think of why I couldn’t do it because of who I was. I knew that I was going to get to it, no matter how long it took.
How was the Grind Jam Session?
It was just amazing to have people come into a space that they felt safe. It was great seeing the panelists teaching creators about business and entertainment. Being an artist, for me, it’s the hardest job because you have to build it from the ground up. I was really happy to hear these people give them hope. When you’re doing dance, TV shows, music it’s all about knowing the business and implementing that.
It was also the Fifth anniversary of eXpozedTV, everyone was dancing, the performances were amazing. We had the participation of Miranda Rae, Shay Bands, E-los, Kei, and other artists. I’m still thinking about it these days and I’m thinking how we can make the next even bigger.
What advice do you give to people that are starting in the entertainment world?
Invest in yourself. If you’re not willing to invest in yourself you’re not going to get far.
Coralys is a Puerto Rican journalism graduate student. Currently, she studies at Boston University and interns at DigBoston. In the past, she collaborated with the online newspaper Pulso Estudiantil, the radio program Miss Mundo Contigo, and WIPR.