Debra Antney – CEO
Mogul, mentor, mother and philanthropist Debra Antney is truly every woman or at least what most women aspire to be. As CEO of Atlanta-based Mizay Entertainment, a talent management firm launched in 2007, Antney could be described as a ‘pit bull in a skirt’ being that she has positioned herself as a major power player in a male-dominated industry with equal parts force and femininity. Somewhat of a pioneer in Hip-Hop, Antney has taken off her heels and used them to break the proverbial glass ceiling to become one of the few female managers to create not only bankable artists, but also superstars.
Growing up in Jamaica Queens, New York, her difficult yet family-oriented upbringing has certainly helped to shape her into the successful entrepreneur she is today. Even as a youngster on the block, Antney was business savvy but also filled with compassion. She started several enterprises including a lemonade stand, a makeshift animal hospital, a babysitting and cleaning establishment, amongst others. No stranger to hard work, the single mother of four worked a string of jobs to support her family but realized that her dedication to mundane activities would be better served through helping others. In her true risk-taking style, she moved South and landed a position with the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services where she coordinated community activities. It was there that she met up and coming rappers Ludacris and David Banner who addressed Antney as “Ms. A” (Miz-A), hence the company name. She also bonded with a local underground artist named Gucci Mane where she pushed him to live his potential. With unwavering vision and persistence, Antney left her 9 to 5 to oversee the career of the popular MC full-time and Mizay Entertainment was born.
In addition to Gucci, the former social services worker has established the careers of some of the hottest names in Rap/Hip-Hop and Pop music including OJ Da Juiceman, Nicki Minaj and Waka Flocka, all of whom have had hit records, sold out performances and their likeness splashed across every form of popular media while under her tutelage. In fact, Antney created the tag line “Changing the game one artist at a time” to describe her company mission and she and her talented team continue to do just that.
Take a look at her lengthy list of accomplishments and you will see a snapshot on perseverance, intensity, inspiration and confidence. Minaj, who notably shouted out Antney at the 2010 BET Awards when she snagged the Best New Artist honor, has received critical acclaim from both urban and mainstream press, as well as Kanye West going on record saying, “I think she has the most potential out of everyone to be the #2 rapper of all time.” It has been Antney at the helm of all the major movements of her clients’ careers and that includes being supportive during their triumphs as well as tragedies. She is known to push past obstacles and exercise the tough love credo, which is why you can hear the passion in her voice when she speaks about her artists or livelihood.
Antney has become somewhat of an Internet and tabloid sensation. She is known for her arbitrary no-nonsense YouTube videos where she talks candidly about whatever is asked of her, an audacious yet refreshingly rare move in the business of entertainment. She has the personality that loves hard, as well as fights hard and that is why she has gained the respect of her clients, the industry and her peers.
A self-made woman, Antney is living the American dream. She has garnered editorial acclaim in various publications and can be found on www.xxlmag.com as a weekly guest blogger where she continues to dole advice and offer her unedited opinion. With the goal of building the next southern music empire, if Antney’s track record is any indication of her potential, Mizay Entertainment has already revolutionized and redefined the fate of an entire generation.