When you’re working at Def Jam as a Senior Director of Marketing and your assignment is a backpacking-wearing, teddy bear loving “College Dropout” named Kanye West, you have no choice but to get that work! And that’s just what Shante Bacon did!
Shante has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, often gathering inspiration from her mother, who she watched handling business ever since she was a little girl. With her career rooted in music, specifically working with Hip-Hop artists like Jay-Z at Def Jam, Shante’s work ethic was molded by entertainment mogul, Kevin Liles. There was always something in Shante’s heart, tugging her away from Def Jam and towards her own entrepreneurial lane. As a risk-taker with “guts,” Shante knew that life was too short to not do what she wanted to do. So she resigned from Def Jam to work on 135th Street Agency full time.
Grabbing a former fellow intern, (who she remained friends with) Saptosa Foster, Shante put every egg she had in her business woman basket and started 135th Street Agency in 2002. What started as a side hustle ended up being the love of Shante’s life. She would do favors for friends, like write marketing plans and proposals and buy ads on the radio–all integral parts to the foundation of her empire.
The two friends were the yin to each other’s yang and used both of their strengths to not only tighten their bond, but created a full service agency that represents some of the brightest in film, tv and music.
Name: Shante Bacon
Title/Company: Founder & CEO of 135th Street Agency
Education: Hampton University, Bachelor of Science & Marketing
Previous Job Experience: Def Jam
HelloBeautiful: How did you expand your business from just music to all you do now?
Around 2009, we had a rockstar employee named Camila Crews and she is a master networker and had a friend who knew that Disney was looking for a African American agency. Once I got on the phone and apoke to the woman, she told me about this movie about a white girl with 70 feet of blonde hair, called “Tangled” and asked if this film would resonate with a Black audience. I told her if she had a great film, they will come. We started with screenings and we were able to secure coverage on BET, Essence and Sister 2 Sister–places they knew they weren’t going to get and we did.
After that, we got “Tron: Legacy,” Sony hired us for “Jumping The Broom,” We TV hired us for “Braxton Family Values,” “Bridezillas,” and David Tutera’s show and TNT brought us on for Jada’s show “Hawthorne.” One happened after the other and in 2012, we worked on five #1 films, “Underworld Awakening.” “Avengers,” “Think Like A Man,” “Madagascar 3” and “Hotel Transylvania.” Oprah Winfrey’s OWN was a new client last year and we worked with Iyanla Vanzant’s “Fix My Life.” Then there was “Love & Hip Hop” as well. We have Mona-Scott Young, who was a friend, who is now a client. She’s a total genius. No one can tell me that woman is not destined to be the next Oprah.