Columbia's BITTA Records brings Fashion Show and Music Conference Extravaganza to Charleston 

Making It

click to enlarge One of the Extravaganza’s key selling points? Every event is free to attend

Courtesy Bitta Visual Media

One of the Extravaganza’s key selling points? Every event is free to attend

When Seraphim Benjamin of Columbia's BITTA Records produced a fashion show at downtown's Tabbuli two years ago, it was only a taste of his full vision. This weekend, that vision will come to life as the Fashion Show and Music Conference Extravaganza, a three-day series of fashion, music, and networking events from North Charleston to Folly Beach. As president of BITTA Records, Benjamin's natural inclination was to add music to the mix and turn the event into something bigger that could also benefit the states's up-and-coming musicians. And it's accessible to all local musicians, because every event is free to attend. The Extravaganza is billed as the first annual event because Benjamin has high hopes for its future. "This is a test run to see how it actually turns out and how the community receives it," he says. "But the intention is to do it annually, with the ultimate goal of turning it into a festival."

click to enlarge Benni Banks and Da Kashmere
  • Benni Banks and Da Kashmere


The multifaceted event begins with a bang on Fri. Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Green Room (11 Center St.) on Folly Beach with a fashion show featuring local models showcasing clothing lines by designers from Charleston to Canada. Following the show, Charleston's DJ MikeTech will turn things up a notch for the afterparty. 


As for the music conference, that portion happens all day Sat. Aug. 18 at King Street Grille, North Charleston. Hosted by Z93Jamz's Vaughn "VP" Postema as well as Benni Banxx, CEO of BITTA Records, panelists to be featured have varied roles within the music industry, including CEO of Digital Radio Tracker, Mike Matthews. The global broadcast monitoring company "tracks radio airplay of songs on more than 5,000-plus radio stations worldwide." From major acts to small indie artists, Matthews, according to Benjamin, helps track where their records are playing, where their best markets lie. Matthews works with multiple genres — from hip-hop to country to rock — and has some big names under his belt, with Matthews having worked with such artists as Ca$hout, Jay-Z, Lil Jon, and Ariana Grande. Matthews also managed Atlanta R&B group Silk, helping them go multiplatinum in the '90s, so his varied and successful background could provide very beneficial insight to local artists.

click to enlarge Gerald Smalls AKA DJ G Money
  • Gerald Smalls AKA DJ G Money

Also among the panelists is Charleston's DJ GMoney, who's also senior vice president of BITTA DJs and Fleet DJs, and part of USA All Star DJs and Hittmen DJs. Benjamin calls him a living legend. "He's worked with a lot of different people, including Fleet DJs, which is the No. 1 DJ coalition," Benjamin says. "He'll talk about how DJs are a key to breaking artists, what artists should be doing to build relationships with DJs, and different ways they can engage in order to get a record played on the radio."

Other panelists include Kermit Henderson of EMCD, DJ D Da God of 520 Radio, SPSP DJs, and BITTA DJs. The weekend wraps up Sun. Aug. 19 with a networking breakfast at IHOP (7361 Mazyck Road) in North Charleston at 7 a.m.

click to enlarge Donell Davis AKA DJ D Da God
  • Donell Davis AKA DJ D Da God


Benjamin feels that the main concern of most musicians is the ever elusive answer to: How do I break into the music industry? And that's a key topic panelists like Matthews plan to address. He says, "They'll discuss relationships, how to build them in the industry, how to sustain them, and how to keep them vibrant and successful."


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