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Conversations with Bianca Hammonds

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bianca Hammonds.

Hi Bianca, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I always wanted to be famous. I had landed three nationally syndicated commercials before I was six years old, so being in front of cameras, having attention on me, and being in a production environment felt natural to me. Though I enjoyed acting and doing commercials, I wanted to be in school more than doing the commercials when given a choice. I equally enjoyed being in the learning environment and considered being a teacher for some years. I grew up watching tv and movies, wanting to be a part of the shows. I didn’t have a specific dream when it came to my “fame” or my exact job in the entertainment industry; I just always knew I’d be involved.

I kept my passion alive. Though I was no longer doing commercials, I still kept myself involved in performing arts. I was accepted into a Gifted and Talented program in 4th grade under their performance arts umbrella. I joined the choir when I was in the 4th grade and in 7th grade and 8th grade, I got to perform in regional and national choir competitions. When I got to high school, I joined my school’s drama club and led roles in musicals like “The Wiz” playing Dorothy. I also joined my school’s Forensic Club. Forensics is a competitive speech team–think track and field, but for speech and drama activities. Forensics students choose from various speech and drama events to prepare and take to competitions at both regional and national levels. While on my Forensics team, I placed 4th in the state and performed at the national competition at Harvard University. When I got to Hampton University, I finally participated in internship programs at companies like “Live with Regis and Kelly!” and “TV-Land.” Looking back, I see that staying close to and open about what I enjoyed allowed me to manifest my current career.

After graduating from Hampton University, I moved back home to Elizabeth, NJ, and hit the job search hard. I landed my first Television Network job nearly a year after graduating. I eventually started working at Katie Couric’s Daytime Talkshow, On The Case with Paula Zahn, and was super excited to land a job working in Development at Vh1. Shortly after joining the Vh1 team, I experienced my first layoff. I was devastated and thought I’d never find a job again. After a few months of being unemployed, I landed a job working at Complex under their marketing department right before they reached 1 million subscribers on YouTube. After that, the company was in high demand, and I was blessed to expand my experience to cover producing music videos, photoshoots, documentaries, concerts, and I even executed a block party in Atlanta. It was after launching the first two ComplexCon’s that I decided to shift focus back to original content and started working at companies like Fuse and NTWRK, managing their content initiatives that covered original, festival, concert, branded, and live content.

I relocated to Los Angeles when I was at Fuse and started to see just how white-male dominated the media space was and realized that I reached a point in my career where working with a diverse group of people and making an impact with content that I’m passionate about was vital for me. So I started looking at companies that aligned with my goals and found myself at Spotify, where I lead a team and music vertical for live-audio content.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
“It’s okay if everyone doesn’t like you. If you try your hardest while having the right intentions, the right people will notice and remember you.” I often find myself as the only black woman in a department or company. It wasn’t until I started working in my career that I noticed and experienced racial bias. In the beginning, I was naive about what was going on and really internalized some of what was happening to me, like being overlooked and not included. That led me to become anxious and even having an anxiety attack. I questioned myself every step of the way on things that I was usually confident about and began to believe I must have deserved the treatment I was receiving. But as I grew in life and my career, I learned how to take my power back and keep it.

The media industry is white male-dominated, so as a way to give back and stop the cycle, I’ve had the privilege to hire a lot of staff and give opportunities to people who wouldn’t usually get the experiences over white males. I’ve had honest conversations and have shown people real examples of how to be who you are, aware of who you are, and how always to find ways to get the job done. Many of the staff I’ve hired have told me that I was their first woman, black woman, boss, and how valuable their experience was with me. Opportunities and moments like those bring me joy. Not only am I fulfilling my childhood dream of being a teacher, but to be able to share my experiences – both testimonial and actual work opportunities – while expanding other people’s lives feels fulfilling.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a creative leader. My strengths are in ideating a concept and bringing that idea to life. My skills of being organized, punctual, positive, firm, and taking the initiative have been transferable to every job and have allowed me to adapt to the industry as it changes. Being resourceful and the connector of dots, bringing together the right people into the mix to get the job done, is what sets me apart from others.

I’m known for bringing big ideas to life, such as ComplexCon and launching major music programs with Spotify.

I am most proud of executing a block party in Atlanta. Not being from there and learning the local government, community stakeholders, and the city, in general, was a fantastic experience. With my partner, we identified and locked in local businesses to patron the event, got the buses rerouted, and literally shut down an entire block. With my team, we locked in musicians from the neighborhood and built a stage to perform in the middle of the block. Over 10,000 people showed up and had a great time. It was a lot of hard work, tears, and lack of sleep behind the project but so fulfilling once it was over.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
I love using Grammarly Pro to help me with my online communication. It’s a tool that proofreads my grammar and tone, and it’s such a lifesaver, especially in this world of post-Covid-19 hitting.

I work out daily and often meditate to prioritize having an empty and clear mind so that I’m in tune with my body and the reality that I’m a human being first before a human doing.

I’m big on therapy and self-help books. I enjoy evolving in any way that I can.

Lastly, I make sure I remember in order to pour into something, you have to make sure you’ve poured into yourself. It’s fantastic to have a great career, but your identity isn’t around your profession. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself first. Find and do things that bring you joy so that you stay grounded. Take the time to speak life into who you are and what it is that you want.

Contact Info:

  • Email: busybianca.llc@gmail.com
  • Instagram: busy_bianca

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