HAWKINS — Fifteen performers got the opportunity to compete and receive feedback from entertainment industry professionals at Jarvis Christian College during its first East Texas Got Talent on Saturday night.

Talent show participants heard from celebrity judges Dr. Mathew Knowles, DJ Michael “5,000” Watts, independent artist Tia P. and celebrity publicist Skyy Daniels.

Knowles is the CEO of Music World Entertainment and father of world-famous singers Beyonce and Solange. He also managed his daughters and the music group Destiny’s Child.

While judging, Knowles gave contestants important advice on being entertainers.

“There’s a big difference between singing and entertaining,” he said during the contest. “Entertaining means connecting with people. It has to have meaning.”

He also emphasized the importance of work ethic.

“It’s a hard work business,” Knowles said. “It takes practice, practice, practice.”

Knowles also gave a lecture Friday on how to be successful and his book titled, “The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals.”

Watts, who is CEO and founder of the Swishahouse record label, said he looks for work ethic and originality in an artist. He added that some people just have an entertainment factor about them. He called being at Jarvis an honor.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping people out and discovering people. They normally start on the stage right here,” Watts said. “I like people that have good music. It’s something that I can feel.”

Blackk Egyptt, an artist from Dallas, came in first and received a $1,000 cash prize. R&B singer Keke Wyatt closed out the contest with her performance.

Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Development Dr. Kenoye K. Eke Sr. said the show helps up-and-coming entertainers and spotlights the college.

“We think it’s a good opportunity to show talents of young men and women of East Texas as well as drawing people to Jarvis and have fun at the same time,” Eke said.

As an educator, he likes to see young people be able to hear from entertainment industry professionals such as Knowles and the other judges to become better artists in general.

“Nothing will compare to the advice they’ll get from this exercise,” Eke said.

The show is a part of the annual eight-day Jarvis Fest to reach the college’s yearly fundraising goal of $90,000, benefiting the United Negro College Fund.

The fund goes toward scholarships for black students and general scholarships for the 37 private historically black colleges and universities in America.

Eke said the college receives a large return on investment with $6 coming back for every $1 raised by the college.

Jarvis Christian College President Dr. Lester Newman noted the benefits of UNCF and encouraged the show participants.

“Take heed to what you heard and continue to grow and develop your talent,” Newman said.