Diversify the Stage
Diversify the Stage is working to build a culture of accountability to establish more inclusive hiring practices and greater access to equitable opportunities in live music, events, and touring industries.Website
Diversify The Stage and Music Forward partnered to create a next-gen educational framework to help foster more diverse representation in the live entertainment industry through a masterclass series, one-on-one mentorships, and paid internship opportunities.
The inaugural Diversify the Stage x Music Forward masterclass series featured a specially selected cohort of young women of color interested in live music career pathways. During the masterclass series, the cohort connected directly with industry professionals from our partners She Is The Music, Women In Music, and SoundGirls. The series is followed by mentorship and internship opportunities with industry partners to provide access and opportunity to the next generation of diverse leaders and innovators.
I hope to create meaningful connections with other women and develop skills needed to achieve my passions. Ultimately, I want to contribute to relevant discussions about music and find ways to support other women as I have been supported by other strong, empowering women in my career endeavors.
I hope to gain additional knowledge of how live events are coordinated and managed. I also want to learn about all the resources available for women in the industry.
At the Diversify The Stage masterclass I want to meet more people in the live entertainment industry that have similar identities to me. I want to learn more about the life of working in live entertainment, such as getting your foot in the door, managing different size venues, managing different size tours, and taking care of yourself in this side of the industry.
I have worked both on stage and behind the scenes and I would really love to expand my knowledge. The music industry is so vast but it is definitely my home and I hope to get the best information I can to be the best I can possibly be in it!
While learning about the ins and outs of touring and live production, I hope to gain a network that I can develop. I would also like to become familiar with the roles of touring and live production and challenge myself to pursue opportunities that will prepare me for a role in the live industry.
My goals are to gain knowledge about the live entertainment world. I hope to be able to connect to my passion further and follow my dreams as a creative person.
I hope to learn what is like to work on a tour firsthand and understand the steps to get there. I’m excited to learn how to mix live sound and hope to better understand the many opportunities in the live music, events, and touring industry.
I hope to learn how to professionally navigate the live music industry, as a production manager or touring staff, as well as better understand how I can apply my technical strengths. I’m excited to meet inspiring professionals and begin building a support network of other young womxn of color who share my love for live music.
I’ve gained experience with live performance on some amazing stages in Las Vegas, so with this program, I hope to expand my knowledge and community with others who are pursuing careers in the music industry as well. I’m looking forward to developing my voice as a female artist, engaging in different avenues that will allow longevity throughout my career, and understanding ways to help empower female representation and cultural representation across stages.
I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge on the behind the scenes aspects of live shows such as touring operations and production. I’m excited to meet and learn from the experiences of the featured industry professionals with a focus on the ongoing conversation of what it means to be a woman in the industry as well as the ongoing fight for equity and justice.
My goal for attending Diversify the Stage is to gain insight into the various fields of the live entertainment industry and its community of womxn professionals in this ever-growing industry.
During this semester, I hope to gain more experience in audio engineering and live entertainment. I also would love to gain more experience in performance and network with those who are already successful in the music industry.
I look forward to connecting with other like-minded women and establishing a community that will grow beyond the masterclasses. I am excited to be immersed in all things live entertainment and learn the best practices to leverage and advocate for myself in the industry as a woman of color.
With a lack of representation of Indigenous people in the music industry, I would love to create opportunities for this group and learn how to navigate towards that goal.
I would like to expand my knowledge of touring and live music and gain insights from industry professionals who look like me and participate in meaningful conversations that we need to have. As upcoming industry professionals, we can implement changes for creating an inclusive, diverse, and equitable music industry for everyone.
My goals for attending Diversify the Stage masterclasses are to connect and create a network of strong females who will challenge and support me while pursuing my career of live touring. I am eager to learn what it takes to have a career in this industry, the day to day life, and overall responsibilities as a tour manager.
By attending these classes I would hope to achieve a greater knowledge of how to seek out a job in the live entertainment atmosphere. I feel confident attending these classes knowing it is being taught by individuals who know what they are really talking about, and I think some of the best advice you can get is from someone who knows the ropes as a professional.
By attending Diversify the Stage masterclasses, I hope to gain more knowledge in how to plan and coordinate live shows and tours so I can build connections between the live entertainment side and the artists’ career.
My goals for attending Diversify The Stage masterclasses are to gain more knowledge and opportunities within the live entertainment industry. I hope to connect with genuine leaders who can mentor me alongside my career path and help me enhance my current skills while also gaining other skills.
I hope to gain insight on the industry from individuals who are BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+. I also want to learn how to find opportunities and to be able help others like me in the future.
I look forward to acquiring the necessary tools and guidance on ways to tap into my full potential as an all around creator. I’m hoping to obtain lifelong partners through networking with these young women who share my passion for the arts.
I am looking forward to meeting and learning from inspiring women professionals in the live music industry. I hope to gain a greater understanding on how to pursue a career in the industry.
My goal for attending the Diversify The Stage is to gain new insightful information on methods and systems within the industry. I also intend to learn about the personal experiences and overall sentiment from professionals in the field who have built their career in music.
I am looking forward to connecting with other like-minded young women that look like me in this industry. Leaving this experience with a mentor and more valuable information about the industry is definitely a plus, but I am most excited to put names with the faces of my peers through this program.
I hope to gain experience in the industry that can take me a long way with my career and in life. I want to be able to get a lot of mentorship from everyone that will be a part of Diversify the Stage and more opportunities for the future.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Nikisha has been a music industry professional in NYC for nine years. With a background in Audio Engineering, she has worked at Sony Studios, Def Jam Recordings, Atlantic Records and is currently the head of A&R Admin + Operations for Artist Partner Group (APG). She is essential in executing all producer agreements, clearances and handles the overall logistics of the recording process. Playing a pivotal role between A&R, Marketing, Business Affairs, Nikisha ensures that the artist and label can release products without liability and within budget. Her current roster includes Kevin Gates, Kehlani, Charlie Puth, Youngboy Never Broke Again, Ava Max. Nikisha loves connecting people, places and things in a modern, meaningful manner.
After getting her first pair of turntables in 1998, DJ RASHIDA has gone on to play her signature fusion of hip-hop, funk, soul, dancehall and house around the globe at music festivals ,concerts, private events & on television.
In 2004 after playing what would be the first of many parties for The Artist, Prince approached her about collaborating. Soon after, (and for the next 10 years) she would tour the world with the superstar, spinning as an opener for his shows, as well as at his private parties, and performing live for televised events.
Rashida has also crossed the globe touring with Grammy winning & nominated artists Kelis, Cee-Lo Green and Pharrell Williams. Today she continues to tour and play for artists & clients around the world , most recently as the opener for Bruno Mars 24k magic World tour (US , Europe & Africa.)
Acclaimed not only for her deejay skills, but also as an cultural influencer, and fashionista, Rashida has been featured in Vogue Italia, Essence, Vibe, The Source, Flaunt, Remix, Dazed & Confused & Refinery 29 to name a few . Rashida has also made cameos as herself in music videos like Prince’s Black Sweat and most recently Finesse by Bruno Mars . She is frequently called upon to spin for a bevy of corporate, non profit & inner-city youth programs, museums of art, and celebrity clients worldwide.
Sanni Youboty aka Val Fleury is a Liberian-born DJ and music industry professional. She has earned kudos from AfroPunk to Noisey to NYLON on her strong DJ sets and growing musical catalog of co-writes, official remixes, and originals. Val has played on line-ups with the likes of Miami Horror, Green Velvet, Cut Copy, and more. Regularly performing around LA and abroad, Val has cultivated a cool perspective, unique ear, and passion for championing classic, underground, and contemporary goodies that especially feature under-represented and international talent. She also has 10 years of experience executing digital, design and events at music companies that include Capitol Records, 2101 Records, MIDEM, and Bill Graham Presents. www.iamvalfleury.com
Nova Han is one of the nation’s lead visionaries and producers in the immersive experience market. Nova is the Artistic Director for Madison House’s world-class Electric Forest Festival as well as for performances by Deadmau5 and The String Cheese Incident. Her works have been featured at the Official Grammy’s Celebration, the Emmy’s and festivals worldwide. Nova has also been recognized globally by XLIVE for Best Production Design in 2017 and 2018 for her works at Electric Forest.
Started out on the Record side at Sony Music, helped to develop and worked on album projects for; Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson and B2K. She later branched into publishing and is currently VP, Creative at Spirit Music Group where her first signing is Grammy winning producer Tricky Stewart (“Umbrella”, “Single Ladies”, “Baby” for Bieber).
Creative executive, author, producer, filmmaker, voice actor, activist, and entertainment branding specialist Thembisa S. Mshaka has been in love with words, music and media for as long as she can remember. She founded Mshaka Media to house all her creative endeavors. As Senior Advertising Copywriter for Sony Music, Thembisa created the award-winning global ad campaign for Lauryn Hill’s solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill along with multiple campaigns for Will Smith, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce’, Wyclef Jean, NAS, Jill Scott, Wu-Tang Clan, Maxwell and others.
Prior to joining Sony Music, Thembisa was the first Black person and first woman to hold the position of Rap Editor at GAVIN magazine. Her campaign work led her to voiceover, where the 5-time Voice Arts Award nominee has acted in commercials for Ford, Xfinity, Publix, SunTrust Bank, and the voice of Aussie Shampoo. Honored to be appointed the first copy director in Creative Services for BET Networks in 2005, Thembisa contributed to the 2008 Emmy-winning Rap-It-Up HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and conceived campaigns for top rated shows including The BET Awards. She has worked with a broad array of greats, from the late Don LaFontaine to Janelle Monae, and Academy Award® winners Mo’Nique and Jamie Foxx.
A Los Angeles native, Thembisa holds a degree in International Relations and Ethnic Studies from Mills College in Oakland, California. A graduate of the film producing program at New York Film Academy, Thembisa is a multiple festival selected writer-director and producer of three short films. See where she’s coming from at www.thembisamshaka.com. Connect with Thembisa on Twitter @putyrdreams1st and on Instagram @officiallipgame.
Claire Murphy has worked for bands such as Vance Joy, Tegan & Sara, Elle King, Lord Huron, The Raveonettes and many many others, playing in venues from bars to arenas, and 80,000 capacity stadiums. She has Tour Managed in the UK, Europe and the USA and is currently guitar teching her way around the world. She has worked with bands at festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, ACL, SXSW and Glastonbury, and played iconic venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Red Rocks and Wembley Stadium. She has owned a successful van rental company in the UK and continues to provide storage for the music industry. She mentors women trying to break into the live music industry via the organisation SoundGirls and often welcomes them to shadow her for a day on tour.
Sooner Rae Routhier is an award-winning Designer, Producer, Director, and one of today’s leading creative minds in the world of experiential entertainment. She has developed and produced some of entertainment’s most recognizable performance moments for some of today’s biggest headlining artists including, Coldplay, The Weeknd, KISS, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Rhianna, Pentatonix, Jay-Z, Halsey, Motley Crue, G-Eazy, and Depeche Mode.
Jasmine Solano is known for bridging the gap between culture, corporate and community. She is the Co-Founder and Host of social impact initiative and livestream platform, Club House Global. She’s also the Founder of the intersectional, global photography series, Unity in Color.
Following a 10-year stint in radio as a music and digital director and on air talent, Nada took a bet on herself and started two companies, including GoodCopBadCop — a creative services and artist development company. In 2020, she made her way back to radio as a daily live host on Apple Music.
Kasey Truman is a Music Supervisor in Los Angeles. She spent over 13 years working at Chop Shop Music Supervision, specializing in Television and Film. Select projects include Veronica Mars (Hulu Series), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), iZombie (CW), Splitting Up Together (ABC), Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (Netflix), Veronica Mars (Film), The Twilight Saga (Films), Hart of Dixie (CW), Scandal (ABC), Mad Men (AMC), Unforgettable (WB), The Bachelors (Film), The Adderall Diaries (Film), The Catch (ABC), Gossip Girl (CW), Private Practice (ABC), Chuck (NBC), Suburgatory (ABC), Selfie (ABC), Perks of Being A Wallflower (Film), Warm Bodies (Film), Water For Elephants (Film), and Remember Me (Film).
Madonna Wade-Reed is a Music Supervisor and Owner of Whoopsie Daisy and current Vice President of The Guild of Music Supervisors. She currently supervises the CW series’ “All American”, “Batwoman” and “Kung Fu.” Her past credits for television include work on such shows as “American Crime” and “Reign.”
Strategic and creative marketing are acquired skills, of which Carolyn Williams has mastered through technical training and hands-on execution.
As Executive Vice President, Marketing, at RCA Records, Williams oversees the label’s Marketing group, which includes Urban, Pop, Rock, Alternative and Dance Marketing, Brand Marketing, Touring and Events. She also serves as the project management lead for Grammy Award-winning artists including H.E.R., Childish Gambino, Chris Brown, Miguel, D’Angelo and Alicia Keys, as well as Grammy-nominated SZA and Jazmine Sullivan, A$AP Rocky, WizKid, and the first two soundtracks for HBO’s Insecure. Her Marketing team’s roster boasts the likes of Khalid, P!nk, Justin Timberlake, G Eazy, The Foo Fighters, A$AP Ferg and newcomers Doja Cat, Flo Milli, Tate McRae and Mulatto to name a few. More recently, she is playing a pivotal role in helping RCA and Sony Music Entertainment in the areas of Diversity & Inclusion and Social Impact. She is co-chair of the RCA internal organization, BMAC (Black Music Action Committee) and one of the founders of “The Spark”, a quarterly lecture series for employees to spark ideas and create a forum to keep them bonded and learning together. She has played a major role in the creative development and marketing campaign for Sony Music Entertainment’s 2020 voting initiative, “Your Voice, Your Power, Your Vote.”
A multifaceted marketing professional with a 12-year career rooted in entertainment and entrepreneurship. As founder of IMG Agency, a music marketing company home to all-female label IMG Records, my work is reflective of my core mission to push creativity forward, elevate my clients’ talents, and champion women and people of color.
Sasha Yabraian has spent the last 22 years working in the global music and television industry involved in many aspects of the business’ including: creative producing and directing, tour management, production/event management, as well as talent management with such entertainers as: Ricky Martin, Tears For Fears, Romeo Santos & Il Volo. Sasha, who is fluent in Spanish and English began her career at MTV Latin America where she was part of producing multiple live and live to record events such as the VMA-LA’s, Unplugged’s and numerous artist interviews and promotional events. Currently, Sasha is the Co-Founder of We Are Live, a full service production company which focuses on Global Touring, Event & TV Production and Music Video Production.