NEW YORK, October 25, 2021 – Today, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced that its annual ASCAP Women Behind the Music event will take place virtually on Wednesday, October 27 at 3:00 PM ET/12:00 PM PT as part of the 2021 ASCAP Experience. The event is part of a week of ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Homecoming SZN virtual events aligned with homecoming festivities taking place at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) this fall. This year’s Women Behind the Music honorees all attended HBCUs and include EVP and Head of Urban Music at Columbia Records Phylicia Fant, Motown Records VP of Marketing and Co-Founder of #TheShowMustBePaused Jamila Thomas, and Law Offices of Robert A. Celestin Associate Alicia Ferriabough Taylor, Esq.
On October 27, ASCAP Experience presents “Women Behind the Music: Homecoming Edition,” a conversation between the three women whose talent, drive and passion have powered some of today’s most popular music, moderated by ASCAP SVP of Membership Nicole George-Middleton. The honorees will speak candidly about how they rose to the top of their class in a male-dominated business and the decisions they made to get them where they are today. During this homecoming month, they will also reflect on how attending an HBCU shaped them as people and professionals. More information on each honoree is below and a link to RSVP for the session can be found at: https://www.ascapexperience.com/rsvp.
ASCAP Homecoming SZN
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul will host several other Homecoming SZN virtual events throughout the week of October 25:
October 25-29 (ongoing) – “Who’s on the Yard”
Where: @ASCAPUrban Instagram
ASCAP “Who’s on The Yard” will recognize notable HBCU alumni in the entertainment industry on @ASCAPUrban Instagram, including 2 Chainz, Erykah Badu, Killer Mike, Lionel Richie, Roberta Flack, Sean Combs and more.
October 25 at 4:00 PM ET / 1PM PT – “Creating Your Own Lane”
Where: RSVP to attend
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul invites students enrolled in HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to this live virtual session which will illustrate how independent artists without major label backing can be successful. Speakers include artist manager Andre Rodriguez; CD Baby Vice President of Business Development and Licensing Jon Bahr; YouTube Music Artist Relations Manager Rachel Jackson; Big Noise Music Group SVP Sync Strategy Jess Furman; artist Logan Mize and moderator Bob Celestin, Esq., Owner of Law Offices of Robert A. Celestin.
October 29 at 3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM PT– “Meet the Graduates”
Where: @ASCAPUrban Instagram
Music executives who graduated from HBCUs will share their path to success from student to executive, as well as their favorite HBCU memories and the most popular songs and dances during their college careers. Speakers include Kobie Brown, Vice President, Licensing & Business Affairs Administration, Sony Music Entertainment and Morehouse College alum; John Rose, Associate Attorney, Fox Rothschild and Hampton University alum; and Samantha “Baby Sam” Selolwane, Head of Promotion at RCA Records and Morgan State University alum. C. DeVone, an alum of Howard University, moderates the panel.
ASCAP Women Behind the Music Honoree background
Phylicia Fant, Executive Vice President, Head of Urban Music, Columbia Records
Spelman College Alum
Over the course of a career spanning nearly two decades, Phylicia Fant has established herself as one of the preeminent public relations executives in the music industry through her work with Prince, Andra Day, Kid Cudi, Bebe Rexha, Luis Fonsi, Daniel Caesar and more. In 2018, she assumed the role of Co-Head of Urban Music at Columbia Records where she oversees a robust roster of talent, including Lil Nas X, Raphael Saadiq, Pharrell, Chloe x Halle, Polo G, Lil Tjay and many more. Fant has been honored as a BET Awards Culture Creators Innovator and is a recipient of an Urban Music Executive Award and HBCU Power Award. She was featured in the 2019 Billboard Music’s New Power Generation: 25 Top Innovators List, the Billboard 2019 R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players List, and the Billboard 2019 Women in Music Top Executives List. In 2020 she was recognized at the Bounce Trumpet Awards as Corporate Executive of the Year.
Jamila Thomas, VP Marketing, Motown Records/Co-Founder, #TheShowMustBePaused
Clark Atlanta University Alum
From the start of her career, Jamila Thomas has broken through glass ceilings. She made a name for herself while at Clark Atlanta University, interning for Def Jam at the house that Ludacris built, Disturbing tha Peace. After graduation, she returned to Def Jam and was instrumental in marketing campaigns for Jhené Aiko’s Sailing Soul(s) and Pusha T’s My Name Is My Name, among others. Thomas moved over to Cash Money Records, helping to break acts like Jacquees and working with legacy artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj. Her understanding of running an “indie within a major label” led to her position as Asylum Records’ Head of Marketing. Shortly after, Thomas transitioned to Atlantic Records as Senior Director, Marketing, working on campaigns for Pardison Fontaine, PnB Rock, DRAM, Don Q and more. She is currently the Vice President of Marketing at Motown Records and co-founder of #TheShowMustBePaused initiative. In 2020, Thomas was named Billboard’s Executive of the Year.
Alicia Ferriabough Taylor, Esq., Law Offices of Robert A. Celestin
Spelman College Alum
For over 10 years, Ferriabough Taylor has advised recording artists, producers and songwriters in entertainment-related matters including music distribution, licensing, management and media. Prior to practicing entertainment law, Ferriabough Taylor worked at one of Boston’s premier law firms, Testa, Hurwitz and Thibeault, LLP, where she represented emerging technologies companies in the areas of venture capital fund formation and financing, and publicly traded companies in the areas of mergers and acquisitions. A musician at heart, Alicia played snare drums in the Morehouse College Marching Band and trap set in the Spelman College Jazz Ensemble. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Spelman College where she majored in political science.
Presented annually by the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul department, Women Behind the Music recognizes and encourages women in the music community, honoring songwriters, artists and female executives across the industry including managers, attorneys, label executives and music publishers. Previous honorees include Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriters Kandi Burruss and Kelly Rowland, Roc Nation Co-President Shari Bryant, Co-Head of A&R Interscope Geffen A&M Nicole Wyskoarko, hip-hop legends Salt-N-Pepa, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriters Jazmine Sullivan and Victoria Monét, legendary musician-singer Sheila E, Capitol Records Vice President of Artist Relations Britney Davis and Grammy Award-winning production and songwriting duo Nova Wav.