March 31, 2021

Women Behind The Music – Powerful Ladies In The Industry

Women Behind The Music – Powerful Ladies In The Industry

As women’s history month wraps up, we couldn’t let it go by without recognizing some powerful ladies in the industry.

Our very own TT Torrez is a veteran in the game for 20 + years as a multimedia personality and music executive. The Bronx, NY native began her radio career in Norfolk, Virginia. She found her way back to the No. 1 urban station on the market, Hot 97, and in 2014, and became the music director. 

With TT’s position, she’s responsible for the music that goes on the airwaves. She also manages label relations and on-air staff. TT is also on-air Friday nights with DJ Bobby Trends from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. ET. You can also see her chat with the hottest celebrities on Artist Quarantine. 

 


Debra Lee is a former CEO of BET Networks. From 2005-2018, she held the position and under her leadership, original content like The GameBeing Mary Jane, and The New Edition Story was produced. She also focused on live events like the Hip Hop Awards, Black Girls Rock, and more. She’s been a powerhouse in the industry for over three decades and still is. 

She currently serves as a director at WarnerMedia parent AT&T, Burberry, Marriott, and Procter & Gamble. Debra and her partner Rabia de Lande Long, an executive coach and management consultant to Fortune 500 companies, recently launched a new program to help build more diverse companies. They will help corporate America “discover, develop, and promote exceptional Black and women executives.” Last year, Debra interviewed on NBC and spoke on what companies can do to diversify their company. 


 

Sylvia Rhone isn’t a stranger to running music labels. In 1994 (age 42), she was chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group’s Elektra. At the time, she was recognized as the “first woman” and “only African American” to hold such a title. Ten years later, she became held a chief executive position at Universal Motown (Akon, India. Arie, Erykah Badu). She joined Epic Records in 2013 and in 2019, became chairwoman of Epic Records. Throughout Rhone’s career, she helped develop and sign artists like Erykah Badu and played an important role in partnering with the Cash Money label, home to Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj.

When talking about her new role, Rhone said, “It’s profoundly more significant now because of the culture change taking place. Black culture and women around the globe are finding their voices like never before. It’s a watershed moment.” Rhone also led social justice movements last year. 

 


Danielle Lee is Spotify’s global head of partner solutions. She leads the marketing strategy and commercialization of all music, podcasts, and content on Spotify. Her career started in 2000 in digital after launching AOL and AIM client software. She went on to do marketing for Showtime, AT&T, VEVO, and now her current position. 

During an interview, she said she emerged in every position because she learned the business. “The playing field is not level, especially for black women in business, so I had to 1) make sure that my impact was undeniable, 2) articulate my ambition with clarity, and 3) connect it back to the needs of the business and my superpowers. Doing this consistently takes focus and preparation.”

 


Connie Orlando is BET’s executive vice president/head of programming and has been with the company since 2007. She leads original programming, BET News, music programming, and specials. Orlando also brought social issues to life on the network, like the BET Truth Series featuring documentaries like Katrina 10 Years Later, Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ, and Stay Woke

Before her executive position, Orlando was Senior Vice President of Specials, Music Programming and News, and VP of Original Programming. In the early stages of Orlando’s career, she a full-service production company, called CMO Productions, Inc. She inked a partnership with Jay-Z to produce The Streets Is Watching, movie soundtrack. Orlando also is a 6x recipient of the NAACP Awards. She gained a reputation as one of the top media executives in the business. 

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