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Black Music Executives Who Changed the Industry 💿

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

Written by: Abbie Alonzo

Entertainment has come a long way just in the last 30 years. It is important to note that while the artists we look up to are incredibly successful, they would not all be where they are without the amazing men and women behind the scenes helping to shape the industry. This week, we are going to celebrate some of the Black masterminds whose hard work and influence shaped the entertainment industry! 🌟

Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes is an entrepreneur who founded Urban One. Formerly known as Radio One, Urban One is the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company in the nation. Hughes got her start in radio broadcasting at Howard University, where she worked as the university’s station’s sales manager. In her first year, she managed to increase revenue by over 1000%! She purchased her own radio station in Washington D.C. and hosted “24-Hour Talk from a Black Perspective,” with the theme, “Information is Power” for 11 years. Later, she would become the first Black woman chair of a publicly traded company, growing Urban One into a multimedia outlet. Today, Urban One has 55 music and entertainment stations including TV One, the largest African-American owned cable television network in the country. 👑

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy is the founder of the enigmatic Motown Records. Gordy oversaw the development and production of iconic artists like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. There is a distinct “Motown sound” that can only be attributed to Berry Gordy and his artists. Motown Records was the highest-earning African-American business for many years, and the music he produced played a large part in bringing black and white audiences together. By fostering the sound and careers of these artists we still adore today, Gordy is responsible for laying the groundwork of what would become one of the most famous genres of music, and setting quite a precedent for all future music executives to follow. 🎤

Mona Scott-Young

From being the CEO of multi-media company Monami Productions to co-founder of Violator Management, Mona Scott-Young has quite an impressive history. On the forefront, Ms. Young is best known for producing the popular VH1 reality show Love and Hip-Hop (where Cardi B was introduced to the public!). Through Violator Management, Young oversaw artists like Missy Elliot and LL Cool J! These artists had a big hand in crafting the sound and the vibe of 90’s and 2000’s rap and R&B. Today, Monami Entertainment houses Monami Productions, Monami Books, and other companies! Without Mona Scott-Young, the entertainment industry would not be nearly what it is today. 💗

Smokey Robinson

A prodigy of Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson was the frontman of Motown band The Miracles for about ten years before pursuing a solo career. “The King of Motown” is credited with having a hand in writing 4,000 songs! With 37 of those being top 40 tunes, American culture from the 60s and beyond was shaped by the hands of this talented man. He continued to grow the legacy of