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Dancing with the South Florida Stars’ producers Bobby Blair and Brian Neal. They were LGBT media pioneers who owned Buzz and ½ of Jump On Marks List and Mark Magazine, Guy Magazine locally. They owned Multimedia Platforms which they then took public and bought Fun Maps, Next Magazine, and Frontiers magazine to create the largest Print media company in the United States. LGBTQ 100 – there was a financial product which gave people a road map where they could invest in their principles and core values with companies that care about them. Congressman Barney Frank, and Athletes Billy Bean and Martina Navratilova joined me in showcasing that these companies were really supporting our communities and we proved that those companies were outperforming the market by 3+%. With that benchmark we launched the first ever exchange traded fund, and for the first time on the Nasdaq the symbol was LGBT.

How did the idea of Dancing with the South Florida Star’s come about?

We were thinking how we could bring community leaders, entrepreneurs, and the political world all together in one night and celebrate with local entertainers. So, we came up with the idea that business owners could partner with an entertainer and dance with them for charity. Originally it was a great benefit for our charity, The Brian Neal Fitness and Health Foundation, and Dancing with the Stars South Florida was born.

Was it everything you expected it to be?

Yes, it really became an epic event here in south Florida, and it was so fun and exciting to bring leaders and entertainers together in one night. It also brought local people out to volunteer or watch the show. It really was a big community event. The foundation benefited many people who then would come out and support the cause in future years.

How did it change over the years?

It changed because people started taking the competition very seriously. From the first year to year 3, people were getting very serious about winning. We sold out every year, it was standing room only.

Why did it end?

We moved to LA when we purchased Frontiers Magazine, and we were too far away to run the event. In addition, Brian was so hands on with the recipients and he couldn’t do that in California.

What made you move back to South Florida 10 years later?

My great friend and business partner Robert DeBenedictis, who had been incredibly supportive of us for 20 years passed away, and he left an incredible estate to his partner Khan, and Khan reached out to me on Christmas this past year and wanted us to come help. Now our job is to run and manage all the businesses in Florida and New York to keep Bobs Legacy alive.

Brians has wanted to move back here for awhile as this is home to them, as a matter-of-fact Bobby was born in Fort Lauderdale. Brian has moved forward in his commercial real estate career and thought South Florida would be amazing for him. In addition, he wanted to restart his foundation again.

Are you excited to be bringing Dancing with the South Florida Stars back?

It is the most exciting thing that we have been apart of since I came up with the idea that we would own LGBTQ publications. It’s special to us because we can now network with Hotspots, Happening Out, OUTsfl and the welcome home has been so incredible. We really appreciate the support of the local media. 

Why did you decide to have Stonewall Street Festival and Parade be the beneficiaries this year?

Because of our tremendous respect for the Wilton Manors Entertainment Group and Jeff Sterling who is the CEO. We have had a very special relationship for almost 2 decades and I am thrilled that he does such a fantastic job. Stonewall was our number one choice, and we want to support this tremendous event. Pride gives the community hope especially in this political climate we are experiencing here in Florida. It gets the community to come together and to be proud of who they are. To support such a tremendous event by donating 100% of the proceeds is exactly what we are excited about.

What does the future hold for the 2 of you?

In November we are celebrating 23 years together and we are planning on doing more events to bring additional positive impact to this community that we serve and love.