The Grammys’ LL Cool J and Ultra Cool Things Backstage

LL Cool J, photo by Margie Barron

The 55th Grammy Awards just reinforced what everyone has always known– LL Cool J is ultra cool.

Cool J didn’t hit a sour note hosting music’s biggest night, and kept things real and moving along as real artists such as Mumford & Sons, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Black Keys, Frank Ocean, Fun., and Gotye, featuring Kimbra, got their trophies and the respect of the industry.

Cool J also deserves credit for not hogging the spotlight with stupid comedy bits. Instead he let it shine on the performers starting off with sassy Taylor Swift, tragic Rihanna, electrifying Carrie Underwood, Elton John making sure young Ed Sheeran gets noticed, and the ring-a-ding-ding guy with the “Suit & Tie” Justin Timberlake who was joined by Jay-Z. It was saturated with the cool-factor.

Benefitting from having a couple of Grammys under his belt, Cool J also helped produced the Recording Academy’s awards show. And every week Cool J showcases his intense dramatic talent on the top-rated NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS. “It’s an honor to be hosting the Grammys. I have a great relationship with CBS, and we do wonderful things together as part of this family. I have NCIS: Los Angeles (on the network) but I had a few Grammys before I got that dream gig,” 45-year-old Cool J said.

One of the key ingredients to his success as a host is the social media activity that gives Cool J immediate feedback via Twitter and Facebook, which helps grow the viewership during the live broadcast. “The instantaneous feedback is one of the most wonderful things of social media, or the most annoying things about social media.”

“If people like the performance, or the joke, or whatever is happening on stage, you know it. That is a useful tool, because you get to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and maybe why. Social media has taken everyone out of the vacuum.”

Cool J was a big presence behind the scenes prior to the show, but it wasn’t all work and no play. He was seen enjoying the official Grammy gift lounge hosted by Distinctive Assets, the LA-based entertainment marketing company and credited with beginning the marketing craze of celebrity swag nearly 15 years ago.

“To be part of music’s biggest night on any level is as thrilling today as it was when we created the first Grammy Gift Bag more than a decade ago,” reported Distinctive Assets’ founder Lash Fary. “It is particularly gratifying that this specific event is viewed by the industry as the crown jewel of celebrity gift lounges.”

The Grammy Gift Lounge presented by MTG had the hottest presenters and performers breezing through during the three days of rehearsals for the show. The fabulous tented retreat was infused with an enchanted zen opulence decorated by Seyie Design.

Headlining this year’s gift bonanza was the GLALENT Platinum Ion Mist device from MTG, a Japanese firm that offers amazing beauty products using advanced technology so everyone can look like a star. As if he needs to look any more sensational, rock icon Sting was seen trying a few of their devices.

Looking like a star was also the goal of the Jäger iOsonic Toothbrush and Teeth Whitening System, to give everyone a million dollar smile. And then the stars checked out the hottest designer sunglasses from Solstice Sunglasses, which previewed their Polaroid Plus. A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) was still recognized hiding behind those trendy shades.

Okay, LL Cool J was in the lounge showing his love for all the generous sponsors, but one really caught his eye, the Simone I. Smith jewelry collection, designed by his inspiring wife. Simone is a cancer survivor who donates part of her profits to the American Cancer Society. Go to SimoneISmith.com.

Soul icon Chaka Khan was there, along with the Chakalates chocolates and Khana Sutra aromatic candles she created. New Era was on hand to provide their signature sports caps. Other lounge gifts included the attention-grabbing Carlitos Brand hand-illustrated tennis shoes, Diet Pepsi, Luden’s Soothing Throat Drops (and cashmere scarves), sexy D’Milikah Swimwear, Devicewear iPad and iPhone cases, , M London made-in-the-USA handbags courtesy of KeepAmerica.com, LGGK (Locally Grown. Globally Known.) apparel, and Bonita Platinum Tequila. Gibson Guitars were represented too, for all the rockers and rockstar wannabes.


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.

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