Brennan Williams (Photo: Gino DePinto)

by Christy DeBoe Hicks

Music producer and creative Brennan Williams, founder and CEO of Coloan Brands, is a millennial with a strong affinity for today’s hip-hop and rap, great admiration and affection for old-school R&B, and an appreciation of jazz and world music. As a music programmer, he has a penchant for mixing those elements to create a textured sound that is brand new and defies categorization.

Those spirits of innovation and creative energy flow through his company, which he founded in 2008 and named in honor of his father, Will Colon. Since its inception, Coloan Brands, LLC has evolved…


Sydney Margetson (Photo Credit: Ray Tamarra)

by Christy DeBoe Hicks

“People who make it to the top — whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos — are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who would be doing what they love, even if they weren’t being paid.” Quincy Jones

Sydney Margetson loves what he does. Moreover, he loves where he does it. In an industry known for staff mobility among various record companies, he has risen to his position as senior vice president of publicity for Atlantic Records by sticking with the label that first hired him more than two decades ago…


by Christy DeBoe Hicks

Maurice Scott (Photo Courtesy of The Maurice Scott Collection)

Maurice Scott has the kind of voice that makes you want to buy something, learn something, do something, or follow his instructions wherever they lead. His Barry White-style low register and dulcet tones assure listeners that the products he promotes and the information he provides are trustworthy and good. Scott had such a natural gift that people he encountered through his job made unsolicited requests for him to be the voice behind their projects.

Scott considered the prospect of becoming a voice artist, and after learning a little more about the voiceover industry, decided this would…


by Gwendolyn Quinn

Thembisa S. Mshaka (Photo Courtesy of The Thembisa S. Mshaka Collection)

Voice Actor. Creative Director. Author. Journalist. Entrepreneur. Filmmaker. Activist. Entertainment Branding Consultant. With a career spanning three decades, Thembisa S. Mshaka is a modern-day renaissance woman.

In June 1998, Thembisa S. Mshaka packed up her belongings and drove nearly 3,000 miles across the country from California to New York City to start a new job. Twenty-seven years old and newly married, she had spent three-quarters of her life in Southern and Northern California and was ready for something big and new. …


Michael Winslow (Photo Courtesy of Michael Winslow)

by Christy DeBoe Hicks

Is it a bird? A plane? Machine gunfire? A police siren? No. It’s Michael Winslow, doing what he has been doing since he was a child — imitating sounds and voices to perfection.

A man of 10,000 side effects (Video Courtesy of The Michael Winslow Collection)

Known as the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects,” Winslow is best known for his role as Cadette/Sargent Larvelle Jones in all seven movies in the Police Academy franchise. Others know him from stand-up comedy routines, which he has performed at venues that range from small clubs to big television specials…


by Gwendolyn Quinn

Rodd Houston working in his home studio (Photo Courtesy of The Rodd Houston Collection)

The “Browning of America” is not coming, it’s here. Over the past two decades, much has changed for African Americans in the voice arts industry. Black actors have not only used their voices to promote products and build brands globally, but their voices have also raised the consciousness of humanity about the scope of Black talent and social issues.

While many successful voiceover artists are on-camera actors as well, most voiceover talents moonlight and have other employment options to make ends meet while they pursue their passion as a voice actor. The voice arts is not a…


The “Browning of America” is not coming, it’s here. Over the past two decades, much has changed for African Americans in the voice arts industry. Black actors have not only used their voices to promote products and build brands globally, but their voices have also raised the consciousness of humanity about the scope of Black talent and social issues.

While many successful voiceover artists are on-camera actors as well, most voiceover talents moonlight and have other employment options to make ends meet while they pursue their passion as a voice actor. The voice arts is not a career for the…


by Christy DeBoe Hicks

Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins (Photo Courtesy of SOVAS)

Emmy Award-winning producer and director Rudy Gaskins, and voice actor, producer, and top-selling author Joan Baker have been partners in life and work for 26 years. They are cofounders of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS), where Gaskins is president and CEO, and Baker is vice president. In this two-part story, Part I: How to Succeed in Business and Marriage by Really Trying reveals how Gaskins and Baker had a chance encounter that led to a life-long partnership.


by Christy DeBoe Hicks

Power Couple Rudy Gaskins and Joan Baker (Photo Courtesy of SOVAS)

This is a love story in two parts. It is a story about a California girl who goes to the Big Apple to advance her show business career. She discovers her talent for voice acting, which leads her to meet and fall in love with a guy from Chocolate City, who hired her for a job. They make a connection and a commitment to each other and to support other voice actors while increasing the public recognition and appreciation of their beloved industry that brought them together.

Rudy Gaskins, an Emmy Award-winning producer and director, and…


by Christy DeBoe Hicks

Joe Madison (Photo Courtesy of The Joe Madison Collection)

Known as “The Black Eagle,” Joe Madison is a legendary voice in radio and a dedicated human and civil rights activist. The host of The Joe Madison Show on SiriusXM Urban View, he has been named by Talkers magazine (known as the “Bible of Talk Radio”) as one of the 100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts nine times, often in the top 10. Madison has been presented with numerous national and regional awards and honors, including an NAACP Image Award in 1996. In 2000, he received both a Southern Christian Leadership Award for Journalism and a…

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