As part of lecture series about women and their jobs organized by the independent publishing company Faces Cachées Éditions, we had the opportunity to have a talk with 3 persons from the rap industry: Pauline Duarte, Daphné Weil and Netta Marguiles.
Universal Music, 3:30 pm.
For this first talk with my team from Faces Cachées, we were warmly welcomed by Pauline Duarte inside the office space of Def Jam record label. “That’s the occasion to express ourselves generally about women and especially about women in the rap field. The role of women in rap music is very pejorative. For some people, it boils down to booties in music videos, but there is a full of person whom working in the shadow and some mastermind behind the rappers. Yes, there is for sure women who are showing their booties but this is a part of the “game”. I really enjoy to seek after the finest girls, they are responsible and assume and they make money like that. That’s not degrading at all, women’s body is not !”
We take a place in her office where you can admire numerous golden disks on her wall: SCH, Alonzo, Kaaris, Lacrim, Kalash Criminel, Koba la D... Pauline is in front of the most important shelter of the French rap industry. She oversees the label, she plans some strategies and the projects releases, she watches over so well the artistic direction that the marketing.
By being Stomy Bugsy’s little sister, member of Ministère A.M.E.R (a famous old school french rap band), Pauline lives in rap since her gentle childhood. “ I’ve began because of passion. Thanks of my brother’s musical career, I was faced to the professional side of the French rap scene and I realized of all the work behind it. Thinking about strategy, how to produce music videos, how to manage a spending limit... it’s a real job!” Real trigger. “I was 15 years old and I knew that I wanted to do marketing in the music industry, so I tried hard and took all the chances, I worked like crazy but it was a choice” With the help of her brother she gets into it. “When I announced to by brother that I wanted to work in the music world, he boosted me and since then he always supports me. I started at the bottom, I had an internship in Columbia thanks to him. On the first day of my internship I stuck 1000 tags on Yannick Noah CDs”.
Slowly, after a training at the Music Job’s Institute and despite the intern hazing, Pauline found her place at Sony Music “When I began at Sony, I was surrounded by women, there is only women at the management. This gave me the hope to one day head a music label.” Then she spends some time at Because Music [a music label] before ending up at Def Jam in 2014 and being named manager last year. “I tried hard to success, I knew that I had the capacity since a long time and that I could do it. One day, a co-worker told me “Pauline you know, if you ask nothing, you’ll have nothing”. It was a turning point for me and I knew I had capacities, energy and faith and a good vision, I had to do it. I was sure that I was sure I had the capacities and the balls to do it. I knew that I could do things even better.”
On a daily basis, Pauline guides and oversees her team: “I only manage men, when you’re a woman in the rap industry, you have to have your personality, liking rap music is not enough and you have to stay strong even if I find that rap and hip hop culture in general is respectful.” She works also a lot on the development of her artists, that’s a permanent and honest coaching “I say to them that I’ll be on their side, that we will progress together. But it’s hard, you can have your position today and being overtake tomorrow. But we will fight, and me I will fight by your side. I speak from my heart, without tiptoeing and I have the feeling that it is a skill restricted to women. I know what am I talking about, I was born with rap music. I know where am I going, and music is about feelings, there is no magic recipe. The main thing is to have the artists trusting you. It’s a behavior issue: women are more humble, we take care more about what we’re saying, we don’t want to offense anyone.”
Since last year, Pauline added another string to the bow : she became a mother. “Being a mom completely changed my life, my vision and my priorities. The benefit is that now no one call me after 8PM. It’s a lot of organization but that’s achievable and not that difficult, plus my husband also assume his role by my side, a baby is not a constraint at all.”
A vraie meuf [slang for “real girl” in French] is a girl who has a vision, who knows where she is going and who has balls.