Breon Robinson loves reshaping narratives. As a publicist and brand marketing specialist, Robinson has a front row seat to some of the most successful artists and executives in hip-hop -- and there’s nothing more frustrating to her than feeling like her clients aren’t able to share their stories.
This year, her company, BluePrintIncc, has worked on numerous campaigns for members of the hip-hop community, including Shy Glizzy, Guapdad 4000, Moneybagg Yo, producers Christo and TB Hits, labels Dreamville and Since the 80s, and music executive Brooklyn Johnny. After previously working for Alamo Records and Republic Records, Robinson founded the PR firm earlier this year after moving to Atlanta.
She tells Billboard that the company was created out of the grief she experienced after having a miscarriage during her second trimester in January. “I was like, I gotta live for something. Starting this company stopped me from losing my mind,” she says.
Shortly thereafter, she found herself at Dreamville’s rap camp for their compilation Revenge of the Dreamers III. Watching the narrative surrounding the 10-day sessions unfold, Robinson knew she wanted to be a part of documenting what she was witnessing. Since the album’s release and debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart, she’s worked to get the Dreamville team coverage in Forbes, Essence and other publications. Mwango Kasote, Dreamville’s director of operations, says Robinson is currently helping the label on an as-needed basis, as the team works to be more public-facing moving forward.
Since meeting Robinson in January, Kasote says she’s been struck by how close Robinson is with the artists she works with. “Artists tend to be super private and have their own group of people, but she’s really one who knows how to tap in and deal with artists on a personal and professional level,” she says.
Robinson says an upcoming article will focus on the women who work behind-the-scenes at the label, an idea that stemmed from critiques about the lack of women in media at the camp earlier this year, as well as the public perception that Dreamville is another male-dominated label. “We’ve been in talks in doing a women empowerment event on behalf of Dreamville," she explains, "because we have had a few women who have stood behind J. Cole and the Dreamville family for many years [who] may not always get their flowers publicly.”
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Robinson has long envisioned herself as a future influencer within the entertainment industry. Raised by a teen mom with limited resources, Robinson says her goals have always been to have a business that allowed her to fulfill her professional goals while also taking care of her family. It was with these goals in mind that she bought a one-way ticket to New York and relocated at the age of 19. At the time, she’d been living in Dallas and working at the W Hotel.
Robinson admits that her early days in New York weren’t at all what she’d imagined. “I moved to New York and went broke in like two weeks,” she says. “I ended up having to stay at the Covenant Shelter on 41st, which happened to be 10 blocks away from [where] they shot 106 & Park. I walked there almost every other day.” Eventually, she connected with the audience coordinators and was hired as a production assistant, working on BET programs such as Black Girls Rocks and Don’t Sleep. For 106 & Park, she worked double duty, helping with audience coordination and doing on-air interviews for BET’s online platform.
After two-and-a-half years working with BET and racking up contacts within the industry, Robinson was looking to try her hand at something new when she met Wayno, Vice President of Asylum Records. At the time, Wayno was managing new rapper Dave East, and needed some help with PR for East’s debut project under Def Jam and Mass Appeal. This would end up being Robinson’s first major project as a publicist. “I just never looked back after that,” she says.
From there, Robinson worked on projects for artists such as A Boogie wit da Hoodie before joining the team at Alamo Records, where she helped drum up publicity for a roster of about 40 artists, including artists signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 Records. Most recently, she worked at Republic Records before relocating to Atlanta in January.
“It’s something about being able to get a message to the masses that I love,” Robinson says of her job. Still, she’s honest about the fact that working with artists isn’t always easy. “A lot of times the artists feel like they’re self-made. No, you’re in Billboard because someone is able to go into a room and make [someone] believe in you.”
With a small team of two, Robinson says her current roster of clients at BluePrintIncc are more like family. In addition to connecting with the Dreamville team during the Revenge of the Dreamers III sessions earlier this year, she also got engaged during the camp. She and Zekiel Nicholson, co-owner of her the label and management Since the 80s, are expecting a boy in January.
Moving forward, Robinson said she’ll continue to work with artists and conceptualize more brand partnerships, but she says working with music companies executives will continue to be a big part of her brand, too. “Executives are the new artists,” she says. “They build the artists from the ground up and I feel like a lot of times they don’t get the recognition they deserve.”