Fort Worth

New Campaign Showcases a Modern, Diverse Fort Worth

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Visit Fort Worth, the official marketing organization for Fort Worth, debuted a new campaign in the ongoing mission to lure more conventions and tourism.

“Our new ad campaign is really promoting Fort Worth as the ‘Modern West,’” said Mitch Whitten,  Executive Vice President for Marketing & Strategy at Visit Fort Worth. “You can come here and explore the past but you can also explore the future. You have the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, but we also have people up in North Fort Worth building flying taxis for the future. So how do you package that up but to say, the ‘Modern West’,”

The centerpiece of the new theme for 2020 is a new hip hop tourism video called ‘Take Me Home’.  

Local hip hop artist Lou CharLe$ wrote lyrics such as:

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“Take-take-take me home

Back to the 817 where I belong From the Eastside to the Southside where I roam Up to the Northside where my kinfolk show love”

Songwriter Grady Spencer joined him with a catchy chorus:

“Take Me Home

Back to the place where it started

Where my home and my blood and my heart is Where my memories are”

Whitten says the song is the end result of a conversation a couple of years ago with local musicians. Visit Fort Worth wanted to know what would make Fort Worth a better music city.

“This young man raised his hand and said, ‘What are you doing for hip hop?’ We said, ‘absolutely nothing’ but we knew that was an opportunity, and we said 'Would you help us?’" Whitten recalled. “So Lou CharLe$ stepped in and we said, ”Let’s do a song together. Let’s do a video together.’”

Take Me Home, Whitten says, is a ”big learning experience. While we promote Fort Worth to visitors, it really starts here at home. And when locals feel the love that for the city, that’s a magnet for visitors.”

Visit Fort Worth is giving locals a bigger voice, as seen in a new web page on the Visit Fort Worth site. ‘Discover Diverse Fort Worth' highlights events, restaurants and attractions that showcase the city’s cultural diversity. Whitten calls it a “collaboration with the community.”

Videos on the page feature Hispanic heritage and legends in the African American community.

“Visit Fort Worth partnered with the community to tell this bigger story. We engaged five filmmakers from all different backgrounds and said, ‘Go out in the city and help us tell the story,'” Whitten said.

The story of African American businesses and trailblazers is featured in the Soul of DFW: Food and Black History Bus Tour.  

The women who started the company two years in Dallas launched their inaugural tour of Fort Worth during Black History Month. 

“Essentially, we’re curating an experience that combines food and history, so that we can elevate the black culture,” said co-founder Deah Berry Mitchell. 

With a $55 ticket, tour guests sampled food from black-owned restaurants Dough Boy Donuts, Drew’s Place and Smoke-A-Holics and visited with the owners who turned dreams into successful businesses. 

“It’s very important to have a tour like this and to patronize black-owned businesses just to know that it can be done and see that it can be done,” Dalila Thomas, Soul of DFW co-founder said.

One of the first to do it was William McDonald, the first black millionaire in the state of Texas. The tour includes a stop at a building that bears his name and a lesson on what the son of enslaved parents did to achieve such remarkable success 

“In one lifetime, he was a principal. He was a politician. He was an educator, and he was a philanthropist as well as an entrepreneur,” said Simeon Henderson, director for the William McDonald YMCA. “We make sure everyone who comes in knows his story.”

Visit Fort Worth sponsored the inaugural Fort Worth edition of the bus tour.

“We think it’s important to show all parts of the city. And to have a tour called the Soul of DFW in Fort Worth was a special opportunity to take people to parts of the city that they may not have visited,” Whitten said.

More than nine million people visit Fort Worth each year. With the tourism and conventions comes a $2.4 billion annual impact that supports more than 25,000 jobs.

Visit Fort Worth will take its new Modern West theme to Los Angeles soon in an effort to attract more of those tourism dollars. 

It will skip South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin this year, but it was at the 2019 festival that the marketing group first used the theme, “Y’all means all: Everyone’s welcome in Fort Worth, Texas.” A T-shirt campaign communicated that inclusive and welcoming message to the thousands who attended the event.

Visit Fort Worth continues to sell T-shirts with that catchy phrase at its Visitor Center in Sundance Square and still embraces the message as way to attract business.

“We’re in the tourism business, and we want to promote a welcoming city,” Whitten said. “Marketing doesn’t change policy and it doesn’t right wrongs but marketing can shine a light on good people doing good things, and we want to promote all sorts of reasons to visit Fort Worth.”

Below are the lyrics to "Take Me Home"

Take Me Home
Written & Performed by Lou CharLe$ & Grady Spencer
Produced by J.Rhodes
Mixed & Mastered by Jose “Chico” Santiago

[Intro: Lou CharLe$]
"Find me in the Funk
Find me in the Funk
Back where it all started
Find me in the Funk
Find me in the Funk
Back where it all started
[Chorus: Grady Spencer] Take Me Home
Back to the city where I live in
There ain’t many things I been missing
As long as my people with me
Take Me Home
Back to the place where it started
Where my home and my blood and my heart is
Where my memories are fondest
[Verse One: Lou CharLe$] Take-take-take me home
Back to the eight one seven where I belong
From the Eastside to the Southside where I roam
Up to the Northside where my kinfolk show love
I’ma Funktowner pretty much a player
Gas the kid up and I might run for mayor
Been around the world, but got adopted here
Swooped down like Clark Kent did Metropolis
I love the steez, the talk, the simplistic charm
The Southern Hospitality; making me feel at home
Resonated with me, I’m repping it till I’m gone
The city made the kid coming from where I’m from
So I show love to those who showed it first
Who saw the best in me, when I was at my worst

Who knew that I could make it, when I ain’t see it myself
Fast forward now, we flying up off the shelf
[Chorus: Grady Spencer] Take Me Home
Back to the city where I live in
There ain’t many things I been missing
As long as my people with me
Take Me Home
Back to the place where it started
Where my home and my blood and my heart is
Where my memories are fondest
[Verse Two: Lou CharLe$] Take-take-take me home
Deep in the Heart of Texas bred & born
Pushed the envelope never accepted the norm
Now catch me coming down clean wood, leather, and chrome
Already see it ain’t the End of the Road
Went from Boyz II Men in our area code
Bounced back and reload after various lows
So you can’t take my gold I ain’t Marion Jones
I love the vibe, the bounce, the effortless glide
The allure of the city more than meets the eye
See the beauty in every color creed and kind
And when the times got rough we stood side by side
So when life gets me down, my spirit needs recharging
Find me in the Funk back where it all started
Cruising down Berry basking in nostalgia
Back then you couldn’t of told me this be the outcome
[Chorus: Grady Spencer] Take Me Home
Back to the city where I live in
There ain’t many things I been missing
As long as my people with me
Take Me Home
Back to the place where it started
Where my home and my blood and my heart is
Where my memories are fondest"

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