Billboard rolled out their annual Most Powerful women list for 2015 and honored a bunch of women music executives. Of the 50 women 3 of the most powerful highlighted were black women. The list is based on business impact, audience, market share and chart and/or tour performance of their artists within the past year and of course includes many familiar faces.
Black Enterprise profiled these awesome women.
Debra Lee, Chairman/CEO BET Networks: Despite a 1.4 million viewer dip in 2015 and a rough year that’s been marked by layoffs and restructuring from BET parent company Viacom, Lee makes it clear that these issues “[haven’t] slowed us down.” The BET Awards still ranks as cables No.1 awards telecast, and their recently added BET Experience festival has proven to be a success. Now in its third year, the BET Experience festival has had a 36% increase in attendance this year and has been renewed through 2018.
Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records; President of Urban Music/Co-head of Creative, Universal Music Publishing Group: At just 14 years old, Habtemariam got her start in music as an intern for LaFace Records. Now, at 36, she has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the business, having re-upped global publishing deals for J. Cole, Big Sean, Childish Gambino, and Nicki Minaj.
Sylvia Rhone, President of Epic Records: Known as a music industry veteran, Rhone first joined the Epic Records family in 2013 with the joint venture, Vested in Culture (VIC). Then, in 2014 she was named president of the record label. In her executive leadership role, she has spearheaded the careers of many top 10 Billboard 200 artists, including Future, Fifth Harmony, Travis Scott, Sara Bareilles, and Meghan Trainor. Rhone was also behind the innovative marketing of Scott’s debut album Rodeo, which had a $150 action figure that also appeared on the cover.
“No one in hip-hop has ever had a debut album released along with creative, interactive merchandise,” Rhone tellsBillboard.
Earlier this year, Epic Records also launched a joint venture with Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records and saw a huge hit with Nigerian-American artist Jidenna’s song, Classic Man.