About Thembisa S. Mshaka
Thembisa S. Mshaka is a 5-time Telly Award winner and Promax/BDA Gold Award-winning writer who has served in the entertainment industry for over 18 years, spanning the areas of touring, management, magazine publishing, recorded music and technology, advertising, music supervision for film, voice over, and television. As Senior Copywriter at Sony Music, and 2-time NARM Award winner, her campaigns contributed to the sale of more than 150 million albums for artists including Lauryn Hill, Will Smith, Beyonce, Wyclef Jean, NaS, Maxwell, George Michael, Wu-Tang Clan, Bow Wow, Jill Scott and Babyface. The former GAVIN rap editor has also written for Honey, essence.com, LAUNCH.com, and served as contributing editor for The Hotness.com and BLAZE Magazine. She contributed to anthology Sometimes Rhythm: Sometimes Blues edited by Taigi Smith and 25 Hip-Hop Icons, an academic reference volume published by Greenwood Press. Thembisa is currently the Copy Director for BET Networks
Award Winning Advertising Copywriter:
I am the first Copy Director in BET Networks’ 28-year history. I bring consistency, continuity, and vitality to the network voice across all platforms: television, online, broadband, print, off-channel and pro-social. The year I arrived, BET Networks won 49 2005 Telly Awards, the majority of which were campaigns that I created. I also served as producer on promo shoots for Rip The Runway starring LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union and the 25 Heroes AIDS Awareness campaign starring India.Arie, Kelly Rowland, Lyfe Jennings and others. I served as lead writer for top-rated BET original series campaigns including College Hill, Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is and American Gangster. I also produce radio campaigns for all BET properties, including Black Girls Rock! and record-breaking series The Game. Finally, I oversee all corporate communications materials, from salute ads to our annual upfront sales kit and the fabulous BET Awards souvenir program book.
With clever, cutting edge flair, I effectively conceived, developed and delivered advertising campaigns for Sony Music labels and recording artists. Duties include writing scripts, executing treatments and selecting voice-over talent, while micromanaging projects across several departments under tight deadlines. In just 5 years, the campaigns I’ve created total over 170 million albums sold, for these artists and many others: Lauryn Hill • Destiny’s Child • Shirley Caesar • Maxwell • NAS • Macy Gray • B2K • Jagged Edge. I am responsible for Beyonce’s Dangerously In Love solo debut album campaign, Sony Music’s best-selling album in the United States for calendar 2003 and fiscal 2004.
My artist-as-brand approach to advertising tipped well ahead of the multi-media lifestyle trend that has overtaken the advertising industry. Several artists with whom I’ve worked directly have become endorsement powerhouses for beverages, beauty, and apparel or bonafide multi-media icons based upon the success they achieved in music: Will Smith (Oscar-nominated actor) • Beyonce’ (Pepsi, Loreal)• 50 Cent (G-Unit/Vitamin Water/RBK) • Wyclef Jean (LGIC)
2010 Promax/BDA Gold Award: BET Awards ’09
2006 Telly Awards: Queen’s Memories (Queen Latifah MLK Spot), Exposure (Bow Wow), Rap It Up
2005 Telly Awards: Cousin Jeff Chronicles ‘The ‘N’ Word’
2002 Telly Award: Lil’ Bow Wow Television campaign
1999 NARM Advertising Award: Best Consumer Ad, NAS I Am Campaign
1998 NARM Advertising Award: Best Trade Ad, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Campaign
Proven Authroity on Urban, Popand Hip Hop Culture:
Leveraging my vast knowledge and deep love of music into my editor post, I brought stability to a revolving door position forged strong relationships I still rely on. I conceived and edited quarterly special issues relevant to the rap music radio format, giving Common, D’Angelo, and Timbaland their first national music trade covers or exclusive features. I also documented the pulse of the radio industry with Like That!, a weekly music column for music programmers and tastemakers nationwide, 3500 of whom gathered annually for a seminar agenda I produced.
Published Author, Commentator and Voiceover Actor:
I stay connected to consumers by provoking thought and dialogue through my commentaries and features. I am published in Jewel, Honey, freesworld.com, TheIndustry Cosign, NewsOne, Launch.com, essence.com, among others. My women’s mentorship and career guide Handle Your [entertainment] Business is hailed by Chuck D as “the new entertainment industry bible” and was listed by AOL among its Top 15 Hip-Hop Lit titles for female and male readers alike.
I’ve provided creative direction and copy for hp, BlackPlanet.com, Johnnie Walker (Keep Walking and Latin Target campaigns), Alize’, and launched Jay-Z’s multi-million dollar apparel venture, RocaWear Clothing. I have taken my writing skills live as a voice over talent for The Home Depot, McDonald’s, Discovery, Soft Sheen-Carson, and HBO.