…because black millennial men need the spotlight, too.
by Arika Linton, Contributing Writer
In life, our main assignment should be to use our influence to impact. Today’s millennial man is creative, confident, and innovative enough to curate the life he deserves. Today’s millennial man incorporates sauce and savvy into his personal and professional endeavors. He believes that mentorship and business aid his personality. Walter Thomas talks with The Chicago Defender about being a father to Zoe, serving as a music executive and entrepreneur.
Walter, how does your influence impact the world?
I have the ability to reach people who also can reach the world. My influence by giving wisdom and advice to a generation of people who are also world changes reaches the world and I’m thankful to be trusted enough to do something of this magnitude.
Walter, you’re a businessman. You’ve always worked in some capacity as a manager. How did your former managerial experience at Best Buy ultimately prepare you to start your own management company and manage the biggest gospel acts in millennial culture?
The environments I’ve worked in have always helped me be able to manage people and business. As a manager in both roles, I’ve learned how to treat employees, hearing multiple boardroom conversations and being able to discuss business trends with top-level executives, I believe, equipped me for my start as a manager for Agency 22 Entertainment, now known as Undivided Entertainment. The foundational skills I gained from Best Buy really prepared me to be able to do this job effectively.
What is the biggest misconception about being a manager?
One of the biggest misconceptions about managers are that they make all the decisions, make all the shots, and “run” the life of an artist. What I’ve learned from management is that my job is more of a partnership with artists more than business transactions. One of the misconceptions is that managers only tell artists what they need to do. Our roles as managers are solely focused on advice, providing wisdom, and being support for artists in accomplishing their dreams – not our dreams for them.
What advice would you give a performer looking for a management deal or seeking to be signed?
Know when you’re ready. Everyone has different levels and expectations of where they are and where they want to be. Management deals aren’t for everyone from Day 1 of their career. I don’t recommend getting into a management deal without having realistic expectations of where you are, what you need, and how much work you’re willing to put in. Management deals are relationships between a manager and a performer.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t rush your future. All the right things will happen at the right time. You’re not behind, everything happens because it’s supposed to. If you’re not in the same room as others, you’re not supposed to be there yet.
Shifting gears, Father’s Day is approaching. What does fatherhood mean to you and how has it changed your scope of the world?
Fatherhood means everything to me. I think it’s my job to make sure that Zoe sees everything the world has to offer her with no limits to what she can have. Fatherhood makes me look at things from a different perspective because I’m not just looking at things for myself, I’m looking for her too. She’s my world and I’m not sure what I would be without her.
As a father, what do you feel is the hardest part about millennial parenting?
The hardest part about millennial parenting is having to teach my daughter things that weren’t around when I was growing up. The way the world is changing, I’m constantly on alert as her protector. I wish there were days Zoe could just be a kid without me, as a parent, having to worry if she’ll be okay.
With such a busy schedule how does Walter incorporate self-care in between touring and label runs?
It’s hard to do. I have to schedule time for myself at least once a week or on the weekends, but if I’m being honest, even though I’m doing better – it’s not always my priority for self-care.
Lastly, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it is important for readers to know…
You have the ability to change the world. Use everything you have and make it make a difference.
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