BY MITCHELL NORTHAM
MTV isn’t coming to Salisbury, but one of its biggest personalities is. Literally.
On April 18, Big Black will be in Salisbury to host a party at Brew River Restaurant and Bar. The celebrity famous for his appearances on hit MTV shows Rob and Big, Rob Dydrek’s Fantasy Factory, Guy Code and Ridiculousness will host a meet and greet with fans throughout the evening.
“I look for these things just to bring something new and fun to Salisbury,” Brew River owner Wes Hanna said. “Obviously a guy like Big Black is fun who has a brand that’s fun that matches ours. I saw this opportunity and I thought he would be a great option.”
Appearances like these are normal for Big Black, who has done over 100 of them since 2008.
“It’s enjoyable to get out and meet your fans that watch your shows and the only way some people are going to meet me is coming to their city,” Big Black told The Flyer in an interview.
The 43-year-old Wiggins, Mississippi native has been to Maryland a few times before––and mentioned that the late University of Maryland forward Len Bias was one of his favorite basketball players––but he has never ventured to Salisbury.
“I don’t know much about (Salisbury) University or Brew River,” he said. “That’s why I’m coming.”
Before the fame came on television, the urge to travel and curiosity led Big Black––formerly known as Christopher Boykin––down a different path as a youth. He served in the United States Navy for several years as a mess specialist––now known as a culinary specialist or chef––and is a veteran of the Gulf War.
“My experience in the Navy is by far––other than having my first born––my biggest accomplishment,” he said. “I joined because I needed to learn and see new things and I needed discipline and a structure of life that I could use outside of the Navy.
“I got out because I learned what I needed to and traveled everywhere I wanted to go. Plus, my enlistment expired and it was time to go to college with the G.I Bill.”
Since leaving the Navy, he has dabbled in music, television, fashion and security. After meeting skateboarder Rob Dydrek, the two formed a friendship and soon started appearing together in ads for DC Shoes. The first came in 2004.
In 2006, the two got their own reality television show on MTV showing off skateboarding, daily life and antics the two got into. Boykin set two Guiness World Records on the show for eating bananas and powdered donuts in ridiculously fast times.
The show ran until 2008 and “Rob and Big” became a cult favorite that propelled the two into the mainstream pop culture world.
“Fame is a man-given thing so I don’t allow myself to get caught up in that,” Big Black said. “But I’m blessed where God had taken me in my life and I’m blessed to work with Rob and the vision to do a successful show that has become a cult favorite.”
After the first show, the two split up into different ventures––Big Black focused on his clothing line, BB. But the two joined forces again on Dydrek’s Fantasy Factory show in 2011. Since then, Boykin has appeared on several other MTV shows as well and is active on social media––specifically Twitter.
But Boykin won’t be bringing Dydrek or any other MTV stars to Brew River in a few weeks.
“I’m a one man show, so I show up solo,” he said.
The party at Brew River that evening starts at 10 p.m. and will run until closing. The cover charge is $10 and pre-sold VIP passes are being sold for $50. Guests must be 21 years or older to enter the restaurant that night and the event is sponsored by Smirnoff, Coors Light, Miller Lite along with local shoe and apparel store––Deadstock SBY.
In addition to Big Black making an appearance, all three of Brew River’s bars will be open and they will feature music from DJ C-Dub and Paulie Knakk & Co.
As Hanna says, parties like this are just one of the many things that make Brew River one of the best spots in town. He believes that it sets them apart from other nightlife venues in Salisbury.
“I think it does,” he said. “We don’t do it every week, but I like doing bigger stuff like this for our image and brand that’s not your same old, typical parties.
“It does something bigger and more fun for our guests and for the college kids than our normal parties and college nights. This is going to be fun not just for us, but for our customers.”