In the game of life and business, there are players and then there is the game. So to call yourself a "game changer" takes more than just being the best player, but someone that sees the game from every perspective. Today we got a chance to speak to Mr. Leroy, Chairman/CEO of SPADES BRAND Gaming and how his company is changing the playing card industry.
Mr. Leroy, thank you for taking time to speak with us It's my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time out for me!
To start, please share your story with us. What made you start a black-owned playing card company?
Well it started as an idea in 2016 after reading an article about the cultural significance of Spades to African Americans. To me, the writer had a condescending tone in the article that didn't sit well with me, so I started to do some research. I discovered there was never a card deck promoting Spades in the major markets. So after more research and talking to a lot of players, i said lets do this.
Is that why you named the company Spades Brand?
Well, yes. Being from Harlem, NYC, whether at a family function, at school or at a friends' house, we're playing cards. and most of the time, we were playing Spades. I also remembered a documentary on a 70's gang in the Bronx called the Black Spades. Since HIP-HOP was originated in the boogie-down, this was my of paying homage.
So Hip-Hop was a big influence on you?
No question. As a young man, I loved being a rapper. The energy, wordplay and production of hip-hop is unique and complex. Most MCs know you don't just spit words and expect them to land. Your cadence, rhythm, flow is all a strategy from the first to the last verse. Kind of like Spades.
Is it safe to say you're a good Spades player?
Hahaha. In Spades, a player is only as good as his partner.
Speaking of partners, is it true your wife inspired your new box design?
My wife is a fashion model and aspiring actress. One of the most talented and passionate people you'd ever meet. Last year, there was an incident at a church play production and her co-lead actor had made unwanted advances to her that made her really uncomfortable. After she asked him to stop, he continued. After his last advance, I suggested she speak to the executive producers of the show. They completely turned a blind eye to her concerns, then they ultimately fired her (and her only,) literally moments after she discussed her issues.
The experience was deflating. It hurt her for weeks. When you face a problem like that, the least you could ask for is for the right people to listen and only hope they would do the right thing. So the emotional (and legal) battle with a situation like that, can be exhausting. But we kept fighting. I told her no matter what... I will stand for you. And that was the inspiration to our new Crown box.
Wow! Can you give some more details about the situation.
At this time, the case is still being reviewed legally, so I wont be able to discuss much more of the details.
I understand and appreciate your stance.
Thank you. If i don't stand up in situations like this...who will?
This is true.
What else can we expect to see from the Spades Brand?
Oh we have a lot on the horizon. We're working to be THE destination for all games for game night. We have our line of playing cards out right now, with our classic and designer styles and we're launching a few more of your favorite classic games with a new-age twists that combines mobile with live games. But for right now, our Crown Box premium playing cards are available for sale now on our website and will be in retail stores very soon.
Thank you again for taking time out to chat with us. Any last words?
Most definitely. Just keep playing!