Thembisa Mshaka is the Founder and CEO of Mshaka Media, a creative production company that delivers world class creative and content. In our conversation she made sure to establish that professionally speaking, she was first and foremost a creative.
“Writing is my core competency. I am the author of the definitive entertainment industry guide centering women, entitled Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [Entertainment] Business. I became a voice actor in 2001 and have voiced for the WNBA, Publix, The 2021 Olympics and many brands and networks over the course of that part of my career. During my time as Senior Advertising Copywriter for Sony Music, I have been fortunate to experience great success as a campaign writer for some of the greats of my generation, including Beyonce’, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Wu-Tang Clan, Wyclef Jean, Will Smith, George Michael, Michael Jackson, and Prince. I’ve been behind the scenes in entertainment for 28 years. When you work in any field this long, you have to reinvent and pivot.”
Running campaigns and broadening her reach is something Thembisa has been successful at for years. When asked what someone should consider when starting their own, her response would arrive after a short pause to think.
“This is a very loaded question. It really depends on what kind of campaign is being undertaken. If it is an activist campaign, that depends on its goal, its intended audiences and its timeline. If it is a creative campaign, typically a creative brief is created and ratified between client and the company executing. When Mshaka Media undertakes a project, we align on the campaign objectives before we ideate on execution. We then present ideas, and once approved, craft messaging and design imagery to support those objectives across print, outdoor, digital and the screen.
What struck me most was the wealth of advice she bestowed. From reminding progressive activists to study others from around the world and the movements that were able to truly impact change to reinforcing to our younger generation the importance of following through and doing the work. “There are no shortcuts to greatness, no matter what the endeavor.” Yet still, Thembisa is filled with dreams ocean wide. When asked what was something she wanted to learn, I instantly felt her smile when she replied simply, “I would like to learn how to pilot a small plane. I love to fly and aviation intimidates me. I don’t like to feel intimidated, so it’s probably time for me to learn. Knowledge is the enemy of fear.” I couldn’t help but think that if we all approached life with that sentiment our realities would transcend our dreams. In 2021, Thembisa plans to create a long form romantic comedy around Islamic Speed dating. She closed our conversation with “We have so much to say, and my mic and camera are here to capture as much as possible”.
We can’t wait to watch.