Features

Shari Bryant: From Intern To Co-President Of Roc Nation 

BY Abena Dzaka January 30, 2024 8:04 AM EDT
Photo Source: Facebook/Shari Bryant

At Roc Nation, Shari Bryant serves as co-president of the Roc Nation Label however, Shari Bryant rose from an intern to the apex position spending 20 years in the music business.

Shari Bryant was bound to be successful in the music industry. Born and raised in 1199, the East Harlem, New York apartment building where Cam’ron and Damon Dash also resided, Bryant got her chance to work as an intern at Roc-A-Fella Records in 1999, according to Fortune.

The 16-year-old Harlem native was brought to the studio’s headquarters by Damon Dash after she landed the chance of a lifetime.

Warner Bros. Records and Atlantic Records are two of the major labels in the industry that Shari has collaborated with. Shari is renowned for her diligence and commitment to work, and these attributes have influenced the paths taken by several artists. Shari’s knowledge and expertise are unmatched, making her a valuable asset to the music industry.

Shari Bryant graduated from the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in Political Science and Government.

No one was expecting me, and no one even knew I was there. They asked, ‘Who are you?'”Bryant reminisced to Fortune about her first day as Damon Dash’s intern at Roc-A-Fella Records.

“After a long wait of about an hour, he finally arrives and says, “Oh, yes, this is Shari.” Since she lives in my building, make sure she is aware of everything that is happening.”

Nearly thirty years later, Bryant went from studying under Damon Dash to being the first Black woman to run Roc Nation and work her way up to the C-suite in the music industry.

“When I walked into that company in 1999, I never looked back because I was able to see women that look like me and it made me feel a sense of belonging,” Bryant said. “I saw my mother, I saw my aunt. Not literally, but that’s what the representations stood for me at that time.”

Although Shari Bryant went on to work at Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Records, and Alamo Records, she found her way back to Roc Nation.

Omar Grant, who has been Bryant’s co-president since 2019, works with her at the entertainment company. The New York native has previously worked as an intern for Yvette Noel-Schure, Beyoncé’s longtime publicist. He met Beyoncé’s father and former manager, Mathew Knowles, during the internship, and as a result, he was hired as an assistant tour manager for Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” tour.

“I treated that internship like it was a real job because I fell in love with just everything about it,” Grant said. “I fell in love with the artistes coming through, the way people move, the way they wrote.”

According to the publication, Grant then transitioned from serving as Destiny’s Child’s tour manager to landing A&R positions at other record labels. Furthermore, he met Jay-Z, Ty Ty Smith, the co-founder of Roc Nation, and vice chairman Jay Brown, who all ended up becoming his mentors. 

Grant stated, “They were searching for A&Rs and building their team when they first started Roc Nation, probably in the first year. I always stayed in touch with them, I saw them around, and it just kind of came full circle, so they remembered me.”

Both Shari Bryant and Grant have reached a full circle when they lead at Roc Nation. The pair of music industry executives use their expertise in marketing and A&R, respectively, to help musicians and cultivate the next wave of “legacy artistes”.