Andre “Debonaire” McNeal is a man of many faces. CEO of Bachelor Boy Entertainment, McNeal should be called a “bad” boy — bad meaning good. He is a 46-year-old entrepreneur, family guy, human service worker, entrepreneur, father of six and friend to many.
Entrepreneurship runs deep in McNeal’s blood. His aunt owned a club that was also a restaurant. He remembers “being in the back while my mom and aunt worked. I learned a lot.”
McNeal has always preferred to be his own business owner. At an early age he found one of his major callings in life when as a teen he DJ’d his first party, and “When I saw how much money I made, I knew what I was going to do.” McNeal says that was the beginning of his lifelong vocation of party planning and promoting.
He promotes The Afterwork Jumpoff, First Friday’s Club AO, and the Quarter Club, all in an effort to make other people happy.
When he reflects on the community, McNeal looks forward to people working together and forgiving each other for mistakes. “When a business person of color messed up in business, they are never forgiven. If someone likes me cancels [a] concert, we will be talked about, and dogged out, and will receive decreased support.
“However, someone who may have more money or promote different shows or who may move in other crowds, if they mess up and cancel a concert, people will still support [them],” he continues. “People will share their events, and tell friends to make sure they are [at the event]. I just want us to be supportive — even when we mess up. I want to be forgiven and supported.”
Along with providing entertaining events in the Twin Cities, McNeal is a social activist, providing quality experiences for young African American males. He currently operates a nonprofit organization, Den brothers/Doorstep Foundation, which provides education and opportunities to young men and the families and community that support them.
Supporting others is something he likes to do, from helping to organize community walks, adult kick-ball functions, and even helping get a young man and his date to a prom. In one of his Facebook posts, McNeal states, “Before I die I am going to send one kid to prom every year.”
Along with taking care of others, McNeal is also learning to take care of himself. Having been diagnosed with diabetes and almost losing his eyesight a couple years ago, McNeal did what was recommended by his doctor and is now in better health than he has been in years. After finding out he had diabetes, he changed his eating and fitness habits. He is now an advocate for men’s health and getting regular check-ups.
“Don’t ignore the signs,” he says. On his social media pages he is open about describing his health and fitness journey. While he has been working with Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) as an education and finance support specialist, he also promotes men’s health.
Though McNeal stays busy helping others and focusing on his health, he says that being a father is what he finds most rewarding. Having six children — five boys (Darius, Robert, Jachai, Isaiah, and Andrew) and one girl, Anaja — he says being a father is his most important job.
“I am excited about being a new grandfather and seeing my children go through college,” McNeal says.
“I am excited about seeing First Friday’s grow into an event where people come each month to network,” he says of his business life. “I want to hear more stories of people who met at my events and began working and doing business together. I want my events to change people’s lives.”
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Brandi Phillips is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.