Kwamé Hall Becomes Irving's go-to Emcee of Events
Written By Kenneth Perkins
Irving—It is not often an impromptu dance party breaks out following a grueling 26-mile marathon in 70-degree heat, but when Kwamé Hall is involved, it’s better to go with the flow. As staffers worked to determine the winners of the Irving Marathon on March 27, Hall, lured a group of runners onto the Texas Lottery Plaza stage and, suddenly everyone seemed in full party mode with the crowd up and dancing.
Hall is an emcee, a professional host of events whose job is to keep things moving and do it in the most regaling way. Emcees are part talk show host and part comedian, but Hall is a bit more than that. Put a microphone in his hand, he’s also an encourager, psychoanalyst, massager of egos, and keeper of the peace. In all, he’s an A-list entertainer who moves a crowd even when it does not know it is being moved.
“That’s the kind of thing you want to see in a host,” said Murlin Graham, who hired Hall for the Las Colinas Field Day. As a staffer in event and promotions for the Toyota Music Factory, Graham is no stranger to emcees.
“He’s funny, super quick, and knows how to keep everything under control,” Graham said. “When I saw him at the marathon it was clear he knew what he was doing. He wasn’t one of those guys just saying whatever to keep things moving. It’s almost as though he had it all scripted out.”
Hall has become the go-to guy for Irving events. At 35, this Houston native often shows the exuberance of an eight-year-old.
“Kids show a lot of energy because everything is brand new,” Hall said. “What is this? That? I have a genuine interest in what people have to say, where they come from, what they are about. That’s the kind of fascination I have with life. Doing it in front of people feels comfortable to me.”
Hall has been in front of crowds since elementary school when he won oratory honors reciting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speeches. In high school, he was so good at spicing up morning announcements teachers complained about “losing control” of their classrooms whenever he spoke, and at Texas Southern University, where he was a sports announcer with a sort of hip-hop vibe. On-air radio work followed graduation.
Hall stands out because he’s able to fire off witty remarks in rapid fire succession. He had plenty of practice growing up with two older brothers who were quite good at “roasting” one another, of telling someone off with quick-witted, non-scripted verbal assaults in a comedic way. His brothers were masters at it, and by the time Hall reached high school, he was a master at it, too. In fact, when he moved to suburban Houston, it was something of a cultural shock for him, and his fellow students, some of whom thought his verbal jousting meant he was mean. Now in DFW, he has found a more receptive audience.
“When my family moved to Katy, one of the first things a girl said to me when I was joking with her, was ‘you’re so mean.’ I was, like, what?”
That type of verbal swagger is what gives Hall a leg up as an emcee who now travels the country, the world, actually, if you count his hosting duties at events like Night Nation Run, a run/music festival, in Japan. That is what sold Irving Marathon CEO and Race Director Lazaro Alvarez on Hall to host his running series.
“Just endless energy,” Alvarez said of Hall. “He’s perfect for what we do because people aren’t there just to run a race. They are there to have an experience. He gives them that experience.”
Asked whether he knows how he will handle an eating contest, Hall’s answer is, well, not necessarily.
“If I go in with a predetermined mindset, like I am going to say this and at the very right moment, it doesn’t work,” he said. “It’s like trying to talk to a female. You say let me script what I am going to say. What if the thing you are thinking of doesn’t go according to plan? Now you’re stuck. And that’s all you planned. Instead, it’s important to be open and free and absorbing what’s around you. Be in the moment. Just react.”
UNLEASHES THE INAUGURAL PAWS COLINAS 5K-9
The inaugural race, which featured a 5K and 1-mile fun run, debuted on Saturday, October 9th at the Paws Colinas dog park with nearly 300 runners and eager pups. One unique feature of Paws Colinas is its convenient access to the scenic and generously shaded Campion Trail. The expansive trail offered a pup-friendly racecourse for the 5K and fun run while the dog park provided a pup-approved spot for the post-race party.
The post-race party and awards ceremony featured a customized, picture-perfect podium and plenty of perks to keep pups and parents entertained. YogaSix hosted pre-race stretches and post-race yoga, Kitchen 101 fueled runners with breakfast tacos while Three Dog Bakerytreated pups to customized biscuits. Participants were able to cool down with bubbles and brew while exploring the on-site expo featuring Erickson Dental, Jefferson Lumen, Air One, race beneficiary, Irving Schools Foundation, and the official Paws Colinas veterinary partner, CityVet Las Colinas. CityVet hosted participant packet pick-up and offered helpful tips and wellness checks to make sure all dogs were race day ready.
Custom medals for parents and pooches were provided to all runners once they hit the finish line. First, second and third place trophies were awarded to top male and female large dog runners as well as top male and female small dog runners. Mantle-worthy trophies were awarded to the fastest overall runners and the best dressed pup and parent duo. Professional hype man, Kwame Hall, kept spirits high with non-stop race updates while DJ Leo J didn’t miss a beat with his tail-wagging set list.