During Black Music Month, ESSENCE is highlighting Black women who are kicking ass behind-the-scenes in the music industry. From executives to producers to songwriters, these are the women who make our favorite musicians shine, and our favorite bops come to life.
Young artists were salivating at the chance to perform at Outlihers’ #FriendsOnly party during Grammy Awards weekend in Los Angeles. One-half of the team behind the event, which also served as a showcase for one of the artists she manages, ESSENCE Fest performer Lucky Daye, is Paris Hines.
The D.C. born and raised creative is a manager and stylist, who lends her eye and energy to artists that we love, including Ari Lennox. Hines manages the Dreamville/Interscope recording artist with Justin Lamotte. She even styled the “Shea Butter Baby” singer in her latest music video, “Up Late,” directed by Lacey Duke.
Before managing artists, however, Hines was managing the front door at some of D.C.’s hottest spots. She went from working the front to managing a New Orleans-style bar called Big Chief in the Nation’s Capital. From there, she spearheaded the opening of three more restaurants in D.C. before pivoting to tackle music. It was a natural turn of events for the young woman, who was already booking deejays and talents for local venues.
With a goal to inspire other young Black women to take over the entertainment industry, she co-founded Outlihers Management in 2017. Their roster includes artists, songwriters and producers, including Daye, Tone Stith, Audio Push and Camper, among others.
ESSENCE asked Hines to name drop her favorite song right now (of course it’s a Lennox record) along with sharing how being a Black woman has given her an advantage in an industry that’s not really checking for us.
ESSENCE: What’s the last song you added to your playlist?
Paris Hines: BMO by Ari Lennox
What’s the craziest or most memorable thing that’s ever happened in your career as a Black woman in music?
One time I met Estelle at this Secret Genius event in Los Angeles, and we had such a beautiful conversation about bridging London and U.S. artists and music. Long story short: we ended up DMing each other and meeting for brunch. I remember being nervous, like ‘Wow, I don’t really know her that well, but she wants to meet with me,’ and I was so excited. After sharing with her my new move to LA, starting a management company, and just spilling out my insecurities and happenings, she said to me, ‘Oh, you’re building an empire. You’re going to be a mogul.’ It was like she saw me and that gave me so much inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t know if she knows how much that meant to me.
You have a seat at the table shaping culture. How do you show up in that room?
I’m honored to have a seat at the table because not everyone gets to be in the room. I show up by smelling good and being confident in knowing that I’m meant to be there. Sometimes these rooms are a bit intimidating, but I remind myself that my voice matters. Most importantly, I speak up and make sure I make an impactful first impression. And no matter what I stay present in the moment.
How has being a Black woman uniquely qualified you for your position?
In the music industry, we are the minority when it comes to management and artist development, so that gives us leverage to really be seen and heard. However, but most importantly, we are the target audience. Black woman are the influencers, the culture shifters, and the ones who intuitively knows what works and what doesn’t. Being a Black woman in music is such a beautiful thing right now.