Phillip LaVell Harris (a.k.a"VellyVel–"Big Belly-n-All) was born April 1, 1972. Originally a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, his family would eventually relocate to Bristow. It was there, in this small town of approx. 6500 (pop.), that the aspiring entertainer would spend his formal years inspired by the likes of Richard Pryor, Bernie Mac and Cedric the Entertainer.
Early on it was apparent that LaVell was born to entertain. As a kid he was full of pranks and often utilized the school cafeteria as a stage to challenge his friends to rap battles and playing the "dozens." At age 13, he and several friends would take 1st place at a school talent show for their rendition of a popular Fat Boys’ song. It was during this time that young LaVell’s comedic genius and ability to make light of sensitive subjects, like racism, begin to flourish. He formed a hip hop group-the "OREO". In time, his humor and husky figure earned him his nickname.
By 1989 the 17 year-old Velly Vel "Big Belly-n-All" was ready to up the ante. He took a chance and entered a statewide jingle contest for the ‘Don’t Lay That Trash on Oklahoma" campaign. Vel’s song was a hit! In a landslide victory, "Clean Up the Streets" won the contest. Over the course of the next year he began to emerge as a young entertainer. He took to acting like a fish to water and earned a position in yet another statewide competition. Undoubtedly, Velly Vel was on his way to becoming a professional entertainer. Yet, there were detours.
In 1993 Velly Vel found himself succumbing to the lure of the drug game. This would eventually land him a 2 ½ year prison sentence. It was then, while incarcerated, that he told himself that the street life was not for him. Upon release, Velly Vel began mentoring at-risk youth in an effort to deter them from making the same mistake. He took up coaching little league football to further these efforts. To date, he has coached over 600 kids.
Throughout it all, the one thing that has been clear to Velly Vel is his passion for comedy.
In 2012, after all the turmoil and indecisiveness, he started focusing his energy into fully developing his talent as a comedian. He began to perform and host standup comedy events. Success would soon find him as he and a partner began hosting a monthly comedy event in Tulsa, Oklahoma called ‘Chocolate City."
Thereafter, he found himself sharing the stage with A-list entertainers such as Katt Williams, Mike Epps, Craig Gass, Bruce Bruce, Tyler Craig, Hope Flood and many other big names. In just this relatively short period of time, the gigs have been nonstop. He’s shown his support for American troops by assisting to coordinate and perform at military bases around the nation.
In addition, he has been involved in numerous organizations that aim to reduce gang violence, drug abuse and teen pregnancy. He currently holds the position as the Director of Fundraising Projects for the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation-a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the social and economic life of urban communities.
In 2015 he founded the organization, Save Our Youth Foundation (SOY) –a nonprofit organization aimed at preventing and educating about the signs and effects of child sexual abuse. Needless to say, working with the organization has allowed him to not only support a good cause, but also progress as an entertainer, given the sure likeliness of an awkward moment in working with the Youth.
Velly Vel, unquestionably, is outgoing, fun and full of energy. His charisma is unique, and his characteristics bring a certain type of energy to the stage that leaves audiences gripping at their stomach in an attempt to control their laughter.