[Part 1] Beauty & Brains: Rick Ross’ Sister Talks Talent for Music Business
How Tawanda Roberts navigates 'bawse' entertainment empire behind-the-scenes
by Richard Spiropoulos, Black Enterprise Magazine
Rick Ross has been a limelight fixture in the hip-hop and entertainment industry since he burst onto the scene in 2006. The self-proclaimed “Bawse-of-all-Bosses” took the music world by storm after his first single and hasn’t looked back. Since then it’s been a whirlwind ride of hit after hit, tour after tour and win after win.
So what happens to all the money the “bawse” has banked from record sales, endorsements, and touring since he embarked on the road to super stardom?
Ross has been investing, utilizing an entrepreneurial streak he has nursed since he was a teenager. A relatively untold story in the Ross saga has to be the part where his elder sister is the unsung hero in the construction of his empire.
He tells BlackEnterprise.com, “I feel what makes a great ‘bawse’ is someone that can put a great team together. And that’s what I’ve been blessed with; you know, from my sister and my mom, I keep my family involved in everything I do.”
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Ross’ sister, Tawanda Roberts, where she talks the journey to business success and working with family in the entertainment business.
BlackEnterprise.com: What’s your background professionally and how did you get involved in your brother’s career?
Tawanda Roberts: I have an undergrad in business administration from Mississippi Valley State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State University. I’m also a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, my sorority has been a wonderful support structure and system.
How have you been involved in Rick Ross’ business ventures?
I actually work behind the scenes in every facet of what my brother is involved in. And to be straight up there is no company, there’s just me and my brother and my mother. I have a team for when I’m working on marketing, and an in-house accountant for our franchises, but as far as the day to day operations, I run all the day to day operations of everything my brother is involved in.
What’s a typical Monday Like for Tawanda Roberts?
Monday is extremely fun. It’s the busiest day of the week, when I get the most calls. It may be calls from his entertainment attorney or someone trying to book him for a show. Or it may be Nakia, his publicist, trying to schedule him for an interview, or Wingstop managers wanting to update me on what happened over the weekend. That’s when I schedule my bi-weekly conference call with the Wingstop managers for all our stores. Basically, it’s just anything and everything to do with Ross. Maybe talking through the points of a new deal with his attorney or talking to Live Nation about a concert tour. There’s just so many moving parts and things going on.
Most people say keep your family and your business separate. How are you making this work?
Because we communicate. I can tell you that communication with teamwork really makes the dream work. We are so hands-on with everything we do. Even Ross. He’s very involved in everything he’s a part of and that makes it better, because we always aim to be on the same page, I know what he wants and I always try to execute it to the best of my ability. We have a great team and our mother is there to support with her wisdom and so we put our minds together and bounce ideas off of each other and execute them.
When did you become fully immersed in your brother’s business?
After I quit my job in 2010. My brother’s been signed to Def Jam since 2006. He was basically doing it with the help of his attorney and his team. I may have been a little involved then, but when you say fully immersed for me that was 2010. Now I can’t imagine my life being any different from what it is today.