Last Monday, as a part of NYC Advertising Week the Universal Music Group & Brands and Mass Appeal presented a panel in Times Square called “Is your Brand Prepared for a Hip Hop Future?” The panel focused on the growing influence of hip hop culture in advertising, and included some major names in the music industry to share their thoughts during the panel.
Moderated by Andre Torres, the VP of Urban Music at Universal Enterprises, the panel hosted Ethiopia Habtemariam (President of Motown Records), Sacha Jenkins (Chief Creative Officer at Mass Appeal), Tuma Basa (Global Head of Hip Hop at Spotify), and Shana Barry (Experimental Manager of Music & Entertainment at Anheuser-Busch). The conversation focused a lot on the influence certain hip hop artists have over many trends today. “There’s an education process thats happening” said Habtemariam. “I’ve seen certain hip hop artists that wouldn’t get clothes from high end fashion designers were like, ‘You know what, I’m going to buy all these clothes and you’re going to see all my paparazzi shots and my fashion shoots, and you’ll eventually see why I’m worthy of pulling from your fashion houses.’ For Cardi B specifically, she had to teach them. She had to buy the cloths for a long period of time to get them to understand her value. Look at where she is now.”
“The success of hip hop, it’s undeniable,” said Sasha Jenkins, “You don’t want a rapper wearing your stuff? They’re going to buy it anyway. They’re going to make it cool anyway […] The success of hip hop proves to me that whether you want us or not, we are going to take what you have and appreciate it artistically and aesthetically. Many brands are savvy enough to understand ‘wow these folks have a lot of power because they have influence in ways other genres certainly don’t have.’”