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Mr. Boomtown receives nomination for BET award

His music videos blared BET and MTV’s airwaves throughout the late ‘90s to 2009, with such videos as Mike Jones’ ‘Next to You’, and Slim Thug’s ‘I Run.” Now Port Arthur native, Nahala “Mr. Boomtown” Johnson reveals his story about what it took to make it to the top.

Nominated for a Director of the Year award, Johnson will strut down the run-way with a girlfriend on his arm Saturday evening hoping to take home the gold after the Black Entertainment Television award ceremony.

“This is overwhelming because I still look at myself as an up and coming director and I haven’t made it yet,” Johnson said. “It makes you feel good to know that people really appreciate you.”

After experiencing numerous low and high points in life, Johnson never imagined his days of dreaming about a successful life would become reality.

“Football was my first love, I had dreams of becoming a football player in the NFL and I even got a football scholarship to play at the University of Houston,” Johnson said. “But, that was not my destiny. What I’m doing now is my purpose.”

From playing football in the field to shooting music videos in a studio, Johnson said he was always on the right path to becoming a success, but had to take a few hits in the stomach before he could make it to primetime television.

Johnson was a morning editor at KBMT in Beaumont, where he gathered tapes, news feed and later graduated to being a photographer. In 1998, the Dallas Cowboys hired him as a photographer and producer, shooting footage of the Jerry Jones and Chan Gailey Show.

“I did stories like film and made them dramatic and added dramatic music to it,” Johnson said. “About a year later, I started Boomtown Productions. It was a leap of faith and I struggled for a while,” Johnson said.

After starting his production company, there was no turning back.

“I did my first video for $8,000 with the Rally Boys, Johnson said. “From 1999 to 2005 I shot a bunch of videos out of Dallas before I got my start on MTV.”

Johnson grew-up and worked with several other Port Arthur friends in the music business, such as Bun B and Pimp C. Shocked to hear of his friend’s passing, Johnson said Pimp C was one of his dearest friends.

“I was sitting in my hotel room in Atlanta when I heard the news, and I couldn’t believe it,” Johnson said. “I remember when he (Pimp C) always called, he talked about the days when we were young, and the old days when it wasn’t about the money.”

One of Johnson’s most memorable yet most tragic moments was when he found out his father died.

“I was shooting my second music video, it was a Tum Tum video called Caprice Musik,” Johnson said. “I started editing the video and that’s when my sister called and told me my father had just passed on my birthday.”

After news of his father’s passing, Johnson said he worked diligently to edit the video to send it to Universal and got word the Caprice video was the first video that did not need any changes in 10 years.

“You lose one, you gain one,” Johnson said. “I lost my dad and gained my career.”

Traveling on the path to success, one must endure several obstacles each time preparing individuals for the future. When Johnson attended Lincoln High Coach Williams, Johnson’s linebacker coach, taught him he would get hit plenty of times, but each time to get back up and keep pushing forward.

“I always thought I was going to get here, but I knew I would have to take stomach blocks along the way,” Johnson said. “But even now, I know I’m still not there.”

Johnson had a message for all big dreamers who have plans to be successful.

“You have to love what you do, have a passion for it, and be patient,” Johnson said. “You must develop your skills because that means more than getting your videos on MTV, and most importantly you have to believe in God.”

rbrown@panews.com