Back in May, REVOLT made the announcement that Detavio Samuels was named the new COO of the company. A couple of months into his position and he became a co-head following Roma Khanna’s departure as REVOLT’s CEO.
In his new role, Samuels is ready to take REVOLT to new heights and he recently spoke to Black Enterprise about what it’s like to lead a brand that supports Black creatives.
Calling Khanna’s exit “unexpected and sad on a lot of different levels,” he believes that his new role as co-head is all part of God’s plan.
“God moves chess pieces,” he told Black Enterprise. “And so, right now, I just feel like I’m sitting squarely in my time and squarely in my mission. And I’m excited about the opportunity to lead this brand.”
For the last few months, REVOLT has been focused on issues surrounding the pandemic and social justice. Most of the company’s online content has been centered around the Black Lives Matter movement following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and more. Samuels says the shift lets the company live up to its name.
“The first piece is just really anchoring the brand in the movement [and] really anchoring this brand in the revolution,” he said. “With a brand called ‘REVOLT,’ you can’t do anything but lead a revolution.”
“Clearly, we’re about Black excellence, clearly we are about Black culture. So, jumping into this BLM movement, and staying there and wanting to be here for the foreseeable future just makes a ton of sense,” the Duke and Stanford grad added. “We’re seeing the audience respond in ways we’ve never seen before. June was our biggest month for our dot.com…we saw double-digit growth across all of our social media platforms. And so this pivot to social justice is (A.) not temporary – it’s here forever and here to stay; (B.) we believe it’s meaningful and impactful to the culture; and (C.) the culture is showing up and appreciating it.”
Samuels also spoke about REVOLT Chairman Sean “Diddy” Combs inviting Nick Cannon to join the company following the controversy surrounding his alleged anti-Semitic comments, which made ViacomCBS cut ties with the star. “But, what was really surprising to me was the fact that Viacom doesn’t appear — you know, again, I’m not inside — but it does not appear that there was a lot of conversation,” Samuels says. “It doesn’t appear that there was a lot of chance for forgiveness or evolution. And that’s where I see the problem is.”
“That’s where I see the opportunity for REVOLT,” he continued. “We are going to be this home for Black creatives to be free. When they make mistakes or when we have disagreements about things, we want to have grown-up business conversations with our people. We’re cheering for everybody Black. So, we’re never going to cancel somebody without having real conversations, regardless of whether we agree with what they did or not.”