Will Strickland’s career as a trailblazer is extensive and ever-expanding. From hosting radio shows at college, community and commercial stations and his own local music video show to starting his marketing/promotions/consulting firm in a dorm room at Rice University as an undergrad there in 1992, Will’s growth as an impresario in entertainment and business has only just begun.
Starting in 1986, this true hip hop culture enthusiast launched his career as one of the youngest deejays and on-air personalities in the country at a small station in Texas while still in high school. That foray into music was parleyed into his own college radio show when Will matriculated to Rice University in Houston in 1988 on an academic and athletic scholarship. His desire, determination and focus to be the best was exemplified in his work ethic. He triple majored in Managerial Studies, Economics and Political Science, was a four-year letterman on the Mens' Varsity Basketball Team, coordinator of Volunteers for Youth, an at-risk youth outreach organization, focal member of the Forensics Team, President of the Black Student Union and Vice President of the Student Council. Will added to his collegiate laurels by launching UrbanArt Marketing and Promotions, a marketing, promotions and consulting firm, initially offering business solutions to the entertainment and urban fashion industries, dealing with such corporate giants as Nike, HBO, Coca-Cola and more!
With these experiences at hand, Will moved on from his company and into corporate, as he worked directly for several of the record labels he once promoted for, such as Uptown, Badboy, RCA and Epic/Sony Music. Somehow, he managed to sandwich a brief professional basketball career in San Antonio, Toronto, Caracas, Venezuela and Sao Paulo, Brazil during this period and earned his Masters Degree, mostly via correspondence courses, as well.
Will Strickland’s passion for music is highlighted by the work he has done in aiding to guide the careers and efforts of artists such as:
Heavy D Mary J. Blige Scarface
The Geto Boys The Notorious B.I.G. Craig Mack
Prince SWV Shaquille O’Neal
KRS-One R. Kelly Public Enemy
Naughty By Nature Faith Evans GangStarr
Black Moon Smif-N-Wessun WuTang Clan Ghostface Killah Ginuwine Sade
Michael Jackson Luther Vandross Erykah Badu
Babyface Jamiroquai Dr. Dre
During Will’s stint at Epic, he brought one of his most daring visions to life by conceptualizing, implementing and executing the first ever online concert in black music history with Ghostface Killah, featuring Raekwon and Cappadonna, at 88hiphop.com, an internet radio show, in February 1997.
He continued his quest as a renaissance man in urban lifestyle by creating and teaching the world’s first university accredited course on hip hop culture at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1998. His reasoning?
“I was tired of hearing others tell me what my culture and history was and is. So, instead of being REACTIVE and whining about it, I was PROACTIVE and did something about it by getting and actually seeing through this opportunity at UMass. I am trying to establish the educational foundation for the study of hip hop culture, not just the study of the music within an industry spawned by this culture! This is only the beginning…”
In 1999, Will moved on to work as the music editor for Rap Pages Magazine out of Los Angeles. His immense talents were requested by Queen Latifah, as he also took on the role of aiding the turnover of the Queen’s Flavor Unit Management into a full-fledged record label. He briefly presided as the Senior National Director of Promotions at Flavor Unit before crossing the border into the Great White North to exercise new options in a new country as a Management Consultant at an ad agency in Toronto.
Will began to map his plan in becoming an impresario in Canada as well, as he is currently the creator, host & executive producer of several television properties in development for major North American networks such as ESPN2, BET, VH1, MTV & Much Music, as well as serving as co-host of an NBA-sanctioned national sports show, Court Surfing on Canada's The Score Sports Network. He also serves as Co-Principal of Keikwalk Consulting, an entertainment marketing, promotions & consulting firm in Toronto, overseeing the development & execution of multiple entertainment & social programs, as well as providing his extensive industry acumen to various companies. In addition, Will is the Co-Executive Director of Project Logic, an arts and education based collective focused on providing an overall environment that will serve as an incubator for creative urban music talent development. He is also working as a freelance writer for several publications and a highly sought-after public speaker.
Will serves as the President of UMAC, The Urban Music Association of Canada, & last, but certainly not least, Will Strickland is a true champion for the cause and preservation of hip hop culture.