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Leota Blacknor  

Director of Urban Marketing for Virgin Records.

Leota Blacknor, the Director of Urban Marketing for Virgin Records, and the former General Manager of the highly successful Ruff Ryder Records, has launched a new and innovative program in the world of music business education called Biz-Muzic. Biz-Muzic is a seminar program which provides participants with an in-depth, tactical and hands-on/how-to look at the role of a record company in the music industry. The course takes participants beyond the success stories of the key industry players and provides an academic and tutorial platform for anyone who wants to be serious about working in the world of music entertainment. This is strategically done through panelist Q & A's, a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation and informative "handouts."

It is no surprise that the creator and visionary for Biz-Muzic would be the street-savvy and book smart Blacknor. These key skills have been instrumental in propelling her own aggressive and successful career. As General Manager of Ruff Ryders records since 1999, she is ultimately responsible for the marketplace success of multi-platinum and platinum recording artists such as DMX, Eve, Drag-On and the LOX. Her success can be directly tied to the grass roots programs she conceptualizes and implements that significantly enhance the brand identity of the hip-hop label.

Her efforts have included innovative partnerships that include unique and first time ever programs through channels such as MTV, Foot Action USA and Remy Martin. Blacknor proposed and fostered a partnership with MTV and Ruff Ryders to launch Eve's sophomore album, Scorpion. This marked the first time that the music channel partnered with a hip-hop label through advertisements, a televised album release party, co-op marketing and financial support of a rap album. The success of her efforts resulted in 1.4 million of the Scorpion album project.

Her 10-year track record began as an Executive Assistant at the House of Hitz, Inc., a production company owned by one of hip-hop's pioneer producers - Marley Marl. A brief stint at MCA Records in the A & R department enabled Blacknor to enhance her music business background, but also sparked the interest of working at a boutique label.

As Executive Assistant to Sean "P. Diddy" Combs in the early days of Bad Boy Entertainment, Blacknor was responsible for the day-to-day functions of the CEO's fast pace office. Her tenure included the multi-platinum record releases of the Notorious B.I.G., FAITH, TOTAL, and 112 albums. P. Diddy later promoted her to senior director of administration serving as chief liaison between Bad Boy and venture partner Arista Records. As senior director of administration to the music mogul, Blacknor assisted in the launching of his non-profit organization - Daddy's House Social Programs, Daddy House recording studio, and Justin's Restaurant.

At 26 years old, Blacknor landed a job as general manager of Untertainment Records. She was one of the youngest female GM's in the urban world of music. The gold album success of recording artists Cam'ron on the label continued to spark in maintaining her GM status at boutique record labels.

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Speech Topics


Bridging the Gap Between Womanhood, Music & Management

Marketing & Promotions: An Economic Perspective In Hip-Hop

Breaking Into The Industry

Women and Non-Traditional Record Label Positions

Challenges of An African-American Woman in the Music Industry

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