At a time when the future of media is as uncertain as it is exciting, Tricia Clarke-Stone is finding inventive ways for media to thrive.
She started her career running digital efforts at Emmis Communications; after eight years there, she joined Def Jam Records cofounder Russell Simmons at Global Grind in 2009, helping him convince brand advertisers that a hip-hop-focused media publishing platform was a worthwhile investment. In just two years, Clarke-Stone turned the company profitable, before it was sold to Interactive One (now iOne Digital).
She subsequently cofounded Narrative, a company that’s secured deals with everyone from Under Armour to Universal Pictures. Hollywood producer Will Packer (of Black blockbusters like Girls Trip and Straight Outta Compton) acquired it last year and changed the name to WP Narrative; Clarke-Stone joined Will Packer Media as chief executive officer of WP Narrative.
“A lot of people looked at us as a ‘multicultural’ agency because I was Black,” she remembers. “That was extremely hard because back then, multicultural budgets were really small. I had to circumvent being pigeonholed. But when people started seeing the type of campaigns that we were executing, they stopped talking about who I was and focused on the work.”
Using her personal knowledge of her community has enabled Clarke-Stone, now 41, to become a leader in her industry. She encourages other Black wunderkinds to be just as bold.
“If I have a seat at the table, I need to do my best to bring more women of colour to the table. The more we do that, the less you can dispute why we’re here.”
Black Is The New Black is Refinery29’s celebration of 20 Black women who kicked down doors in their fields this past year. Black women who are reminding the world that we are not a trend or “a moment.” We’re here — and we’ve been here. Check out the full list.