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Music mogul Jennifer Drake reflects on success, failure and inspiration

Jennifer Drake (Photo credit: Jackson Manning III of Jaxon Photo Group)

Jennifer Drake is an Oakland, California-bred music mogul whose success is a testament to her diligence and focus. After graduating from Clark Atlanta University, her passion and skill for discovering artists grew, leading her to sign talent like Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar and mega-producer Mike WiLL Made-It.

In 2016, she moved to Sony/ATV Music Publishing as the senior director of A&R, where she recently signed some of the hottest artists, including Cardi B, Ella Mai and DJ Mustard. 

Rolling out spoke with Drake about being a successful woman in a male-dominated industry.

What two responsibilities do you have when it comes to being true to who you are?  

Honesty and having a voice are two responsibilities that make me who I am in this business. The music business is male-dominated, and oftentimes women’s voices are toned down or even muted. I recognize my worth and value, and my voice deserves to be heard at the table that I am sitting at with the men. My voice is changing the narrative.

Fashion has changed with every decade throughout history. Who is your favorite iconic fashionista of all time? Why?

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” [said] the famous Coco Chanel. I admire everything she stood for as a businesswoman as well as her bravery to liberate women and build a legacy that’s still relevant.

What two things have you learned from failure? 

My view on failure is that you can’t have success without experiencing it. I have been able to learn, grow and move forward from each failure and realized there was something I needed to learn in that moment. Failure provides an opportunity to try again, and my faith doesn’t allow me to give up.

As a woman of color, I have not always been invited to the table, and that’s uncomfortable, however, I am not here to make people comfortable. I am here to fulfill my purpose. Sitting in the seat reminds me I am my ancestors’ wildest dream.

Name three inspiring women you’d like to thank for their contributions to society.

Three women I would like to thank for their contributions to society are Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Afeni Shakur.

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