Naima Cochrane is a music industry veteran, journalist and leading voice in Black music and culture who specializes in putting Black culture in context. Naima spent more than 20 years in the entertainment industry, from culture-shifting labels Bad Boy and Arista Records, to legacy majors Columbia and Epic Records. She worked with mold-breaking acts including Beyoncé, John Legend and Tyler, the Creator as a marketing executive; and continued her work with EGOT Legend, then later Oscar-nominated, Emmy, Grammy and Tony award-winning actress and singer Cynthia Erivo, as management.
In 2017, Naima created #MusicSermon, a curated storytelling series on Twitter about pre-blog era Soul and Hip-Hop. The series was a viral hit, with Sunday “services” often drawing engagement from Ava Duvernay, Lin Manuel Miranda, Missy Elliot and a host of others. #MusicSermon transitioned Naima into journalism, and since 2018 she and/or her work have been featured in/on outlets including Billboard, Essence, and the NY Times Popcast. She’s also a contributing essayist for the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap (2021). Because of her unique experience as both an industry insider and journalist, she’s a sought out researcher known for deep dives and highlighting connections between past and present, and has worked with partners including Spotify, Sirius XM and LeBron James’ SpringHill Company on special and/or scripted projects. Naima keeps one foot on the business side of the entertainment industry through consulting, and was a lead for Empire’s highly anticipated re-release of the late singer Aaliyah’s catalog in 2021.
Naima is a founding board member of the Black Music Action Coalition, an advocacy organization of music managers and lawyers formed in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder in 2020 to address systemic racism within the music business and beyond. In 2021, she authored the org’s inaugural Music Industry Action Report Card, a first-of-its-kind public accounting which assigned music companies a grade for their work reinvesting in the executives, artists and communities who drive the most popular genre in the world.
Naima is based in NYC, where she watches too much TV, weaves riveting threads as a Twitter raconteur, and teaches herself how to DJ. You can often find her in the snack aisle of grocery stores dancing to old school R&B.
Get in Touch
Projects, panels, events, presentations… Have an idea or request? Let’s connect!
Please note, I do not accept story pitches. I’m a contributing writer for pubs, not an editor.