Avian Drummonds: The Unusual Suspect by Delayne Whiteside
This article is aptly named after an incident that happened at XO Nightlife in Columbus Ohio January of 2016. The BEATS Group was all present and accounted for that night to network with Monie Love (former radio host of The Ed Lover Morning Show) and the staff of Polar Ent (J Rawls). The agenda for the evening was to introduce The BEATS Group to the public and push the relaunching of the artist website StateOfHip-Hop.com. As our group began to network with the who’s who of Columbus’s music scene, people were talking about how wonderful a platform the website was. As people rant and raved about the sites ideology, we continually referred back to the brainchild of the site. Thereafter, we began to introduce the CEO to different people, but to the careful eye…the reaction was the same….to their amazement the dude runnin this shit has cerebral palsy. And just like Kaiser Soze’ in the movie The Usual Suspects…The one you least expect is the brains of the operation.
That reaction is not new to the native of Cincinnati Ohio who has 2 Bachelors degrees, one from The Ohio State University, the other from Devry and also has his Masters degree from Keller Graduate School of Management. For those that know Avian, he has been defying the odds all his life. You see, cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder caused by non-progressive brain injury or malfunction at birth. The disorder commonly affects motor skills and muscle coordination in the body. Although the condition can be defined, it should never define the person that has it….especially Avian Drummonds. “He will cuss you out in a minute and say what’s on his mind without a second thought.” says a close friend. But to know him is to love him because he genuinely wants to see everybody win.
But as with most fans of Hip-Hop culture, most heads have that one unique story of the first time they fell in love with Hip-Hop. As Drummonds puts it “It was a late summer weekend in 1988. That Friday my aunt took me to a high school football game at Taft. That was the weekend that changed it all. After the game her and her boyfriend was bumping NWA in the car. That was the coolest sound I heard at the time. NWA kicked ass and took names. Mind you I just turned ten.” he goes on to say “That weekend was memorable, because I also saw Die Hard in the theatre. Which is my favorite movie till this day.” …. “Considering that our website is getting ready to celebrate the monumental Hip Hop year of 1988 for the entire 2018, it gonna be more personal for those that really lived in the excitement of that year”
The goal of SOHH was to end 2017 and usher in 2018 with a big thank you and to share the thoughts & plans of the CEO. “I can’t rap or produce, so this website is my contribution to Hip Hop.” Drummonds started SOHH to provide a different look at Hip Hop than the force fed images that were being portrayed. At the time the website was created, Drummonds was disgusted that the premier representation of Hip Hop was only through World Star. The controversial website that primarily promoted violence, misogyny and drug use. The site seemed to care less about the content it was releasing on America’s youth. The more shocking the content, the more hits to the website. But what he noticed was an increase to the amount of REAL shocking videos popping up all over social media from World Star. Anytime there was a random act of violence in a video submitted to the site, the perpetrator would scream “World Star!!!” as an expectation and anticipation that the video would go viral. And true to “If It Bleeds It Leads”…the WS formula did just that…go viral. To Drummonds, all he saw was people of color being exploited in the most negative ways possible…so he decided to come up with a website that told more than one story. But don’t get it twisted… the CEO knows what he has to do to compete in this tough market…” If the two things selling right now is music and ass shakin, let’s at least put some class and style in the mother fucker.” he says. Drummonds is not crass…he’s just doesn’t believe in beating around the bush or sugar coating shit. His motto is say what you gotta say…do what you gotta do.
In the second quarter of 2017, Drummonds created Music State of Mind which is his answer to Soundcloud. On this site, artists have a more hands on approach to promoting their music while building a closer relationship with a smaller concentrated cyber community. Drummonds says “This approach creates a more hands on relationship between artist and fan” Drummonds also zeroed in on the continual success Instagram models are receiving and started the photo page All Glowed Up!. His approach is always to zone in on the taste of the culture and become a one-stop-shop to the industry.
In 2015 Avian did what he’s knows best…he caught a trend. He noticed his longtime friend Delayne Whiteside aka DJ Layne Luv was building momentum with his blog Uptown Weekly, however the blog was being ran through WordPress in it’s most basic form. So with his “depot” thinking process…Drummonds asked Whiteside to let SOHH become the exclusive website to feature the buzzing weekly article. In late 2017, Drummonds asked Whiteside to become his Editor-In-Chief and also take on the role of recruiting more bloggers and popular podcast. Primarily the two were working from their homes and communicating via laptops…but because of their intense focus, their work ethic was interfering with family life. Drummonds communicated to Whiteside “Man it’s hard for my family to see my presence but I’m not really there..I need office space” Two weeks later Whiteside introduced Drummonds to George Quinn CEO of WTMH Radio on the northside of Columbus and a week later Drummonds and Whiteside signed the contract to run the business from the WTMH Headquarters (French Quarter/The Continent). SOHH is also in negotiations with Nite Lyfe Studio an operation ran by Raven Kapone to help out with the marketing of the two new ventures.
“My wife and children mean everything to me, they come first, but they also understand the sacrifices I’m making to create a legacy for them. The move to WTMH Studio gives me the room to separate the two worlds and try my best to give each part of my life the attention it deserves.”
Drummonds has high exceptions for the year 2018. When asked what his biggest obstacle is he stated “The biggest challenge is to get Ohio artists to see what great promotional resources our website has. Our website is like having a river of clean water in the middle of a desert but nobody wants to drink it.” Over the past few weeks Drummonds discovered that because cell phones have become an extension of peoples bodies…there is becoming little need for television…people are getting entertainment from their cell phones. With that epiphany, he immediately began to work on a weekly video countdown on the site. The concept came from taking the success of 106 & Park by having regular visitors of the site vote for their favorite artist on a weekly basis. From the very first week of the video rollout, State Of Hip Hop increased it’s traffic by 80% with an average of about 5000 views. “That’s not bad, but I know we can tweek this and make it better” says Drummonds.
The Avian Drummonds story is one of sheer will and determination. He has been featured in a number of television news stories and newspaper articles based on his continual will to have people recognize him for his skill and not his disability. Does he still face discrimination?…Hell Yes! However this is why he follows the mantra, less talk more work. Drummonds and Whiteside are continual students of the 48 Laws of Power and they know that more battles are won through action than argument. These two are determined to take it up a notch with their new partners of WTMH Studios. When asked about the Ohio Hip Hop Awards snubs over the past two years for “Best media outlet” he ended the interview by saying this “I’m not in the business of forcing people to recognize how dope we are…I’m so focused on building this brand that in 3 years..State Of Hip Hop will have their own awards show. If they don’t let you on the boat, build a raft and watch their amazement when you arrive to your destination anyway…Happy New Year!