“Put Your Dreams First ( Handle Your Entertainment Business)”


Written by NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc

I recall early 1998 I got a call from an industry colleague and friend of mine who worked at SONY Music, while I was on a shoot for Black Enterprise Magazine who was featuring me for their entertainment issue. Well, this call was not the usual call to book me for another music makeup gig but, a call about a book being put together and authored by my friend Thembisa Mshaka who then worked in the publicity department at SONY Music.

I asked “What kind of book are you doing? What’s it going to be about?”, “An entertainment business guidebook for women? Me give advise to women who want to get into it? Sure I’m down!” I was so happy to hear about a guidebook and wondered why we never had one coming up in the biz? HEY?!?!?

But then I realized that what was happening was A FIRST, and all the women contributing to this book were FIRSTS on this level of the music side of the entertainment business! We all were pioneers so there weren’t people before to give us a guidebook, OUR LIVES IN THE INDUSTRY WAS THE GUIDEBOOK!! We were “THE GAME CHANGERS”!

The way we all HANDLED OUR BUSINESS while working in the music business was indeed “THE GAME CHANGER”. We were forever changing the game and how women would be received, move and be viewed in the music business.

20140605-122249.jpgPhoto by Michael Benabib for Black Enterprise Magazine

At that time I was about 26-27years old. I was constantly on tour, an advisor to several beauty and music magazines, had 2 rotating makeup assistants to cover me on multiple shoots when I had multiple bookings in the same day or was out of town, was the contributing beauty editor of the internationally known urban music bible VIBE Magazine, I’d just inked a deal with Wilhemina Models Celebrity Division to work with all the clients they book, and later would ink a deal with MAC Cosmetics and world renowned Photographer David LaChappelle for their second ever Celebrity Beauty Ads for Viva Glam featuring two of my then clients Lil Kim & Mary J Blige.

Whew!!! I was a busy lady!! And this was all before people started talking about self promotion, branding, marketing, social media blasts etc., etc..

We all were on our global grind! Every woman I knew back then was on their grind working!! Not trying to be cute, or someone’s arm candy, or taking Selfie’s to promotes our talentless selves or YouTube faking expertise! These women were hands on doing the work and not compromising any level of integrity or their chastity!!

Put Your Dreams First
Handle Your Entertainment Business
Written by Thembisa M’shaka

After my initial conversation with Thembisa we attempted to schedule a sit down conversation or perhaps a phoner. Well, that never happened!!! It took close to 3 years for us just to link up. I had just finished working on 2 films and working at the TV show the Sopranos and then I was made to slow down. My Mum had passed away. I was on pause now and mostly in shock but somehow Thembisa’s project seemed at that moment of the utmost importance to me.

This was an opportunity to share.

I wanted to share all I knew at that time, perhaps to spare someone what I had just experienced in the throws of workload and life experience. What a perfect title…”Put Your Dreams First…Handle Your entertainment Business”…yeah…that’s what I’d always done for sure! And I was glad and honoured to be in the company of so many influential women in the industry. Women whom I’d worked with and who’s work ethic I admired. To know I was so well thought of was humbling to me.

About this item
Product Description
There is a great mystique about the entertainment industry and a fervent desire in many to be part of it. But what many women don’t realize is that most entertainment career guides are written from the point of view of the male executive, or are filled with industry and legal jargon-making them difficult to read and understand.

Now, in PUT YOUR DREAMS FIRST, Thembisa Mshaka uses her 15 years of experience in the music industry to expose the hidden truths that women need to know as they aspire toward entertainment careers, such as how to avoid compromising one’s self-respect and the little-known fact that women run a large part of the business. This highly informative guide is for every woman wanting to know how to navigate the entertainment superhighway and find that job of a lifetime.

About the Author
A cornerstone of integrity and stability in a highly competitive business, Thembisa has worked for over 17 years in service to the entertainment industry, spanning the areas of touring and management, magazine publishing, recorded music and technology, advertising, music supervision for film, voice over and most recently, television in her role as the Telly Award-winning Copy Director for BET Networks. The former GAVIN rap editor has also written for Honey, essence.com, LAUNCH, and served as contributing editor for The Hotness.com and BLAZE. A native of Los Angeles, Thembisa is an alumna of Mills College in Oakland, California. She now resides in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn with her husband and son.

In addition to Thembisa and foreword contributor Vanessa Williams, you’ll be supporting the work and accomplishments of the women featured:
Brenda Russell * Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and composer, The Color Purple on Broadway

Meshell Nedegeocello * bassist, composer, singer songwriter

Mo’Nique * comedienne, reality personality and film/TV producer

Nayo Wallace * actor (Speed Racer, The Brothers)

Vanessa Williams * actor and singer (foreword)

Alexis Levi * music industry exec turned first Af-Am female owner of men’s team (The Las Vegas Stars)

April Silver * activist, consultant and pr rep, founder, AKILA Worksongs

Cathy Hughes * Founder of Radio One and TV One

Jackie Rhinehart * PR and marketing veteran (Universal, Island and Arista Records)

Echo Allen * architect/actor turned real estate investor

Fiona Bloom * Pianist, radio personality, and branding specialist CEO of The Bloom Effect

Kimberly N. Cooper * writer, founder of inaugural NABFEME NY Chapter, and owner, BG Unlimited

Tomica Wright * CEO, Ruthless Records and widow of Eazy-E

NZINGHA * Celebrity and Film makeup artist, CEO of Zfaceinc.

Aliesh D. Pierce * A-List makeup artist and esthetician (India.Arie, Golden Brooks, Yolanda Adams)

*Ashaka Givens * Fashion Designer (Erykah Badu, Common)

Dawn Haynes * stylist (Jamie Foxx and others) Dawn II Dusk

Kimberly Kimble * film and celebrity hair stylist/salon and product line owner

Pamela Watson * Celebrity stylist and children’s apparel designer

Dolly Turner * independent marketing consultant, ABFF

Erika Conner * producer, Idlewild

Lana Garland * screenwriter/director

Lisa Cortes * producer, Monster’s Ball and former record label president

Nayo Wallace * actor

Nefertiti Strong * emcee, film director/producer, Patriot Pictures

Ebonnie Rowe * founder, Phemphat Productions Toronto-Barbados based event producer and mentor

Celia Faussart * Les Nubians

*Helene Faussart * Les Nubians
Thami Ngubeni * actor, producer, former EIC, O The Oprah Magazine

Vivian Scott-Chew * Owner, Time Zone International and former A&R executive (George Clinton, Patra, Shabba Ranks)

Wendy ‘Motion’ Brathwaite * Award-wining Canadian poet and radio personality

Dyanna Williams * founder of Int’l Association of African American Music (IAAAM) and PR veteran (Usher, Bow Wow, Ne-Yo, Lil Kim, etc)

Gwendolyn Quinn * Renown publicist and Founder, African American PR Collective (AAPRC)

Jasmine Vega * 20 year music PR vet (Ice Cube, D’Angelo, Janet, Lenny Kravitz) turned esthetician

Kasema Kalifah * former assistant to Nzingha Stewart

Mimi Valdes Ryan * Editor-In-Chief, Latina

Stephanie Abdullah * Army reservist/media liaison, personal publicist to Bobby Brown

Nzingha Stewart * Video Director and Young Women’s Advocate

Yvette Noel-Schure * SVP Media, Columbia Records

Alexa Pagonas * Michael Black Management (Jody Foster, Tommy Lee Jones)

Angie Aguirre * Manager, Chase Entertainment, former manager of Outkast, Pharoahe Monch

Jennifer Coles * Television host/judge talent agent

Kim Ward * Entertainment attorney

Louise West * CEO and Attorney, West Entertainment (Missy Elliott, Timbaland)

Mona Scott-Young * CEO, Monami Entertainment

Tina Davis * Manager, Chris Brown and former A&R Executive, Def Jam, Columbia

Vanessa Gilbert * CEO, TGMD and agent, George DelHoyo, Don
LaFontaine (King of Trailers)

*Abby Dobson * Independent soul artist

Brenda Russell * Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and composer, The Color Purple on Broadway

*DJ Kuttin’ Kandi * Champion Filipina turntablist and activist

DJ Princess Cut * Champion Chopped-n-Screwed DJ

DJ Reborn * DJ, instructor, and theater musical director

LaRonda Sutton * SVP, Foxx King Music

Lenora Zenzalai Helm * Jazz/opera singer, teaching artist

Leslie Ann Jones * Director of Scoring, Skywalker Sound

Marcella ‘Ms. Lago’ Araica * Engineer and mixer (Timbaland, Britney Spears)

Meshell Nedegeocello * Bassist, composer, singer songwriter

Mykah Montgomery * Singer-songwriter and granddaughter of renown jazz pianist Buddy Montgomery
Mystic * Grammy-nominated hip-hp artist

Quincy Jackson * VP Marketing, Columbia Records (Beyonce’, John Legend, Yolanda Adams)

Rachel Allgood * Audio mixer/engineer (Stephan Jenkins)

Shanti Das * EVP Marketing and Artist development, Universal Motown

Sharon Heyward * 35 year industry veteran and former President, Perspective Records

Tracii McGregor * GM, Gargamel Music

Tylibah * Emerging hip-hop artist and self-published poet, Streets In Poem Form

Alyce Emory * Web producer and Co-founder, H2O Int’l Film Festival

Camille Hackney * SVP of New Media, Atlantic Records

Eleanor Blattel * New Media Specialist
Emily ‘Ms. E’. Griffin * Programming Director, Zune

Kathy Baker * Director of Digital Marketing, Sony BMG

Lakiya Oliver * Marketing manager, Fox Mobile (Jamster)

Nana Brew-Hammond * former film acquisitions exec and currently Style editor, Bluefly.com

Rhonda Cowan * VP of Network Convergence, BET.com

Vanessa Turman * Former assistant to Cliviles & Cole (C&C Music Factory), currently Corporate Communications Director for Universal Music Group

Cathy Hughes* Founder of Radio One, TV One, Interactive One

Cristal Bubblin’ * Radio personality and founder, BUM Squad DJ Collective

Darnella Dunham * R&B/Rap Editor, R&R (Radio & Records) Magazine

DJ Mecca * Associate Program Director, Music Choice
Jennifer Norwood * Director of Crossover Promotion, Universal Motown

Monie Love * Veteran emcee and radio personality

Raqiyah Mays * Executive Editor, The Ave Magazine, Voice talent and radio personality, Hot 97-NY

Steph Lova * On-air personality, Power 105.1 New York, former MTV VJ

Abra Potkin * VP Development, Paramount Television

Joan Baker * Author, actor and voiceover coach

Keesha Rai Levy * Film & TV editor
Marjorie Clarke * Senior Producer,Uniworld Group

Mo’Nique * Comedienne, reality personality and film/tv producer

Nomi Roher * CEO, ON TV productions and Head of Production, NYTV

Robyn Lattaker-Johnson * VP Business Development, BET

Rose Caraet * VP Development, DePasse Entertainment

Christine Yasunaga * The Lion King principal dancer turned TV producer

Karine Plantadit * Principal dancer, Jamison Project, Alvin Ailey, Broadway; actor, Frida

Leslie ‘Big Lez’ Segar * Choreographer, physical trainer and media personality

Monique Martin * Theater marketing and production pioneer (Soul Erotica, Sarafina, Bring In Da’ Noise, Bring In Da’ Funk), and Operations Director, New York’s City Parks Foundation

Sasha Dees * Amsterdam-NY based event producer and business manager

Traci Bartlow * Photographer and choreographer


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