As part of Black Music Month, Billboard’s Gail Mitchell was honored by Live Nation for her lofty contributions and accomplishments in the journalism industry. Serving as the company’s executive director for the R&B/Hip-Hop division, Mitchell spearheaded a bevy of Billboard covers, most notably last year’s R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players issue, which featured Kehlani, Teyana Taylor, Summer Walker, and Jhene Aiko.
“People should pay attention. That’s a lot of us out here who know a lot about the history of Black Music, [and] have a lot to share,” she says in the honorary video.
An avid reader at a very early age, Mitchell jump-started her career after attending Loyola Marymount University. During her time in college, she worked inside the president’s office. There, Mitchell served as the assistant to the executive secretary to the president. Then, two days out of the week, she worked alongside RKO Radio’s national music coordinator and learned about trade publications, including Billboard.
“I saw that maybe I could marry my writing to the music so that it could all become full circle,” she relays.
Mitchell began her Billboard career in 1999 and was responsible for breaking out a young and rising Jill Scott. Throughout her career, Mitchell has interviewed countless music superstars, but the one she holds dear to her heart is her chat with icon Stevie Wonder. What began as a 30-minute interview became four hours, as Mitchell’s gift of gab caught Wonder’s attention and caused him to extend the conversation.
As a significant anchor and component in the music journalism field, Mitchell credits her longevity as a reason for her success, especially as a Black woman in a male-dominated industry. “I’d like my legacy to be that I fought that good fight,” she shares. “We should have a say so in the creative process, the promotion process, the marketing process ’cause we know the culture.”
Get to know Gail Mitchell for Live Nation’s My Rhythm and My Blues below.