The Business of Hip Hop Spotlight: Octavia Bostick3 min read
Company: Ballyhoo Public Relations
Location: United States
Octavia Bostick began her career in music as an intern at the world-famous Capitol Records tower in the early 90’s, where she cut her teeth in the promotions department working projects including: MC Hammer, Tracie Spencer, Freddie Jackson, Portrait, BeBe & CeCe, DRS and more. Learning under the leadership of one of the few Black female executives in the industry, Jean Riggins who was the President of Black Music, Octavia knew that she too wanted to be a power player in a male dominated industry.
After three years of working at the label, she decided to return to school to foster her love for writing and began working for her college newspaper. She used her college credentials to get into Hollywood concerts and began doing reviews and celebrity interviews, thus creating an impressive clip book for herself. Her ingenuity paid off when a friend told her about an opportunity to write an article for the popular Hip-hop publication Rap Pages, officially solidifying her career as a professional journalist. It was seemingly serendipitous that an assignment covering the top PR professionals in the industry at the time would be the inspiration that would lead to her life’s work as a Public Relations professional.
Thanks to another friend’s referral, she landed a gig working for Mo’ Thugs records owned Layzie Bone, (Bone, Thugs and Harmony) which set the stage for her life as a media professional. Adding another client to her roster, rapper Chino XL she learned hands on, by trial and error, while simultaneously juggling her career in journalism and Public Relations Quickly becoming a go to person for West coast talent, she would go on to consult for several indie labels before becoming the production manager for a fresh new magazine called Rime, where some of her cover stories including the likes of Snoop Dogg and Xzibit helped increase the magazines visibility by 40% during her tenure.
In 2002, she began writing for the award-winning site AllHipHop.com where she focused on giving a voice to the largely under represented West coast music scene. The following year Octavia jumped in head first taking her work in publicity from a part time gig, to a full service Public Relations firm, Ballyhoo Public Relations Inc. Ballyhoo has represented entertainers in sports, film/television, music and the nonprofit sector including: Rapper’s Glasses Malone, Ali Vegas, and Devin the Dude,; Singer songwriter Marvin Winans Jr, Producers: Teddy Riley, Daddy-O (Stetsasonic Soopafly (Dub Union) Mouse on the Track, and Mike City (Carl Thomas, Sunshine Anderson, Faith Evans) Comedians, Joe Clair (BET) and Spanky (Wild’ N Out), Actor Kel Mitchell (Keenan& Kel, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Dance 360) Glenn Toby (sports agent/author) Jonathan Bender (Indiana Pacers/AkRight Records), Rich Soil Records (Lamar Odom’s label) as well as numerous events hosted by the PR firm.
With well over 15 years of established and solid relationships in the industry, label’s, artists and brands look to Octavia’s creative fortitude to provide unique opportunities for exposure and brand awareness. In 2018 the PR veteran felt it was time for a change began to reevaluate, restructure and rebrand with result being a new consulting firm Bostick and Associates. The new company is geared more towards helping brands with DIY strategies for content creation and brand building, putting the power in their own hands to create a specific lane for success. “Public Relations will always be a passion of mine because I love to help people share their dreams and goals with their various publics, but now I want to spend more time teaching and serving so I can empower more future entrepreneurs” says the PR pro. These days Octavia consults new artists and sits on the board of a nonprofit based in Seattle called Arms Around You that helps formerly incarcerated inmates’ transition back into society while helping to reduce recidivism. She also stays relevant as a journalist for Urban Mag.