President, iONE Digital and One Solution
New York, N.Y.
As president of iONE Digital and One Solution, divisions of the Urban One brand founded by radio veteran Catherine Hughes, Detavio Samuels helps Hughes and her son, Alfred C. Liggins III, drive their biggest growth opportunities in digital media, cross platform sales and branded entertainment. “On any given day, I could be dealing with strategy for the digital division, and trying to figure out how to navigate the very complex world of digital media,” he says. “I could be going out on sales pitches, helping our team open doors and close big checks, and reviewing the thousands of pieces of creative content we generate every month.”
The preservation and proliferation of Black culture are at the heart of Samuels’ career and his plans to launch a foundation. “My purpose is to give emerging Black culture a platform to pop,” he states. “There are a bunch of dope emerging artists that will be the next Jay-Z and Beyonce in fashion, music and art that I want to try to support. There are a lot of Black and brown content creators who don’t get an audience with Netflix, Hulu, Facebook. I want to reach into those communities.”
Samuels graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, African-American studies and markets and management, and earned a master’s degree and an MBA from Stanford University. When it comes to advertising and marketing, Samuels sees Black culture as mainstream culture. “The people who create Black culture need to own it and benefit from the commerce and the economics that come out of it. It’s my mission to convince people of this while also driving people to our platform, which is the number-one platform for Black culture,” he says.
Self description: Servant leader
Fraternity: Kappa Alpha Psi Inc.
Roots: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Chicago’s Southside