In 2019, over 1500 guests gathered at 787 Windsor in Atlanta, Georgia to kick off, arguably, one of the most impactful networking events for Black professionals in the music and entertainment industry.
The event in question was the REVOLT Summit x AT&T where legends shared their knowledge with those who were building their own empires much like what the mastermind behind it all has done over the years, Sean “Diddy” Combs.
“We, as a people, need a platform to discuss our issues and topics that interest us and our quality of life,” the mogul said at the time as he was surrounded by people who were hungry to soak up knowledge that would put all of their dreams into motion.
People like myself have realized that “Summit” is the perfect name for the event because its definition is “the highest point of a hill or mountain” — a place where many in the music/entertainment industry look to reach while on their journeys to success.
Within a month’s time, the event took place across both coasts with one goal in mind: To serve as a space for us to connect, learn, and grow.
During that time, five individuals left the three-day event very differently from how they arrived. Even a pandemic couldn’t put a hold on the growth and connections that came from the REVOLT Summit x AT&T for these young, Black professionals.
If you’re looking for what to expect at this year’s event in Atlanta on Nov. 11 – 13, check out what they have to say about the life-changing experience below!
“The REVOLT Summit changed my career and my life,” said Brian Hampton who is now an Amazon best-selling author and budding hip hop journalist. “Career-wise, I was able to garner mentors, business partners and friendships that remain to this day. I’m from the DMV and at the time I was new to Atlanta. I had several dreams and goals I wanted to accomplish in the entertainment industry, but it’s not easy to reach executives and other people within the industry to pitch ideas. The REVOLT Summit provided a great space to network and learn. Everyone was humble, receptive and unified.”
It was that same unity that left Vahnesa Jourdan in awe after attending the Atlanta event and inspired her to re-attend when the Summit hit Los Angeles just a few weeks later. For her, the collaboration between Black men and women to put on the experience was more than enough.
“What stuck out to me is that Black women were powerhouses that the REVOLT Summit stood on,” she expressed. “When Black men and women work together, it’s bound to be a magical outcome. That is the thought that ran through my mind during the entire Summit.”
She first attended with intentions of becoming a full-time event coordinator, but shortly after, shifted her focus creating a safe space for Black men though her platform, His Black Book, a home for their stories.
“The REVOLT Summit helped me to include meaningfulness in my career,” Jourdan explained. “Instead of choosing something that I’m good at or is just fun, I now include purpose. My background, coupled with my ongoing education in human services will aid me as I continue to build a platform to give a voice to Black men.”
Joe Lewis is a music producer from Virginia who still appreciates the fact that he made the trek to Los Angeles to attend the Summit.
“This was something that really changed my life and the trajectory of my career within the entertainment industry because right after that I was able to go on tour,” he recalled while adding that the affair helped clear up any initial doubts that he had about seeing himself in the field.
“The Summit really showed me a different way to approach the business side of things and the technical aspects of, not just the music, but the entertainment industry as a whole,” he continued. “It really opened my eyes and showed me different ways to approach my craft and turn my passion into a real business.”
Rajanie Bhudeo was a graduate student at Georgia State University during the time of the event where she was wrapping up a master’s of science in marketing with a concentration in brand and customer management.
She was a different attendee. Bhudeo didn’t go with the hope of landing a job in the music or entertainment industry, but she did leave with a greater appreciation and understanding of all of the moving parts that it comes with. The grad was searching for ways that she could intersect diversity with her passion, but she learned so much more.
“If it wasn’t for the REVOLT Summit, I don’t know if I would have ever realized the passion that I have for exploring the entertainment industry and figuring out ways to intersect diversity, equity and inclusion with tech and marketing,” she explained. “It allowed me to see all of the different career paths that exist and how those could actually intertwine and work to coexist with each other. Honestly, the REVOLT Summit just allowed me to dream.”
Bhudeo now works in film and marketing for BET Plus.
It All Comes Full Circle
Transformative, powerful and Black excellence are just a few words that Shynieka Taylor used to describe the REVOLT Summit.
“I did not leave the same woman as I entered,” she explained. “Just to see everyone vibing and on a higher frequency, you just had to be around that type of energy to understand what I mean.”
Taylor attended as a volunteer because it was all about serving others while soaking up as much from the event as she possibly could.
“When I left, I was like, ‘There’s nothing that you can’t do and that energy has been forever with me ever since,” said Taylor who has held positions as a television host for brands like TMZ and Snapchat. What was really a full-circle moment for the New Jersey native was when — just shy of the two-year anniversary of attending the Summit — she returned to REVOLT as a guest on the REVOLT BLACK NEWS segment “Social Media Shut Down And Black America.”
She also developed bonds that cannot be broken. “I walked away with a family,” Taylor continued. “The people I volunteered with, the people I worked with from publicists to those working in the marketing fields. As far as the bond goes, we encourage each other, we push each other, and we are each other’s shoulders to stand on. I didn’t expect to walk away with a new Black family, but that’s exactly what I got. We are unbreakable at this point.”