2023 Impact 50: Shawn Gee
Live Nation Urban
One mark of a great leader is celebrating others’ success. Shawn Gee says that seeing the growth in his Live Nation Urban team “has been the biggest achievement for me personally. Tours and festivals come and go, but giving young people an opportunity, specifically Black and Brown folks, giving them access to the industry and watching them fly once they have a foot in the door. That is the purpose.”
When Gee founded Live Nation Urban in 2017, a joint venture with Live Nation, it was built upon the principle of addressing inclusivity in the industry, while giving opportunities to emerging artists in hip-hop, R&B and gospel music.
“We still have a very long way to go, but I definitely see some improvements. Some new Black and Brown entrepreneurs are entering the space, I see some board of director appointments that wouldn’t have been made five years ago,” Gee says. “I would definitely still like to see more diversity at the very top of the live music industry, in C-Suite positions and also would love to see more investment/venture capital flowing into ideas generated by diverse founders in the space. We need to make sure that the changes and improvements that we see aren’t performative in nature, they need to be woven into the fabric or DNA of the industry so that the next generation of live music senior-level executives and entrepreneurs have a lot more Black, Brown and female participants than this generation does.”
Looking ahead, Live Nation Urban is producing the second annual “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom” event that will be broadcast on CNN on June 19. Gee says, “We love that we were able to build a tentpole music special, a global brand that will be tied to this important holiday. We have also grown The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia to three days this year, moved Broccoli City festival in Washington D.C., to the summer and have scaled One Music Fest with our partners and moved it to Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Growth of our core brands is important as we continue to build Live Nation Urban.”