Influential Women in HipHop: Karen “KD” Douglas
Happy Women’s History Month Hustle and Soul Magazine readers! As we celebrate Women’s History Month and 50 years of Hip Hop, we are honored to spotlight Karen Douglas, also known as “KD” who has over 10 years of experience in the music industry having worked with some of the best in the game. KD is most known for her role as the day-to-day manager of artist and radio/tv personality, Trina aka Diamond Princess. During KD’s appearances on Love & Hip Hop Miami, she is often referred to as one of the biggest managers in hip-hop.
She also serves as one of the road managers and A&R to Grammy award-winning singer, Mya to name a few.
Although she is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry, her impact expands beyond representing some of hip-hop’s most iconic talent. She is also passionate about women-focused topics within the music industry including the fact that not enough women in music management are recognized for their accomplishments, especially Black women. All in all, KD is known throughout the industry for being a hard-working, and respected socialite whose goal is to elevate and uplift others.
Hustle and Soul Magazine obtained an exclusive interview with KD.
Happy Women’s History Month! What does this time mean for you and how do you celebrate it?
Karen: I’ve always been pro-women first and foremost. I come from a long line of strong independent women! My grandmother moved to the states as an immigrant and made way for the rest of her family to have a better life. Me seeing her and my mother work so hard made me more passionate about just being aware and wanting to uplift other women. That being said, I try to involve myself as much as possible in anything that relates to the empowerment of women! March in particular I look to find any ways that I can help highlight, donate to causes, or just be more present in celebrations when it comes to those that have paved the way.
What have been some of your favorite moments managing Hip Hop’s most Iconic Artists?
Karen: Honestly, I have so many great moments but my most recent favorite I would have to say is Trina doing the Verzuz with Eve. I can recall a lot of controversy during the pandemic as to whether or not Trina even had enough of a discography to be a part of a Verzuz, something in my opinion that should have never even been a question. As we see it Verzuz was created to highlight artists that have contributed greatly pairing them with someone in the same category to celebrate their music in a friendly battle. They were the first two women to take part in Verzuz so just being called to me was a win in itself. And although Eve couldn’t physically be there due to travel issues and covid it was still just a dope moment being able to celebrate both of their catalogs in front of the world.
In what ways have you stayed true to your purpose in the music industry?
Karen: I’ve never been the type to just do “anything” for a check, if it doesn’t feel right or I don’t believe in it then I don’t touch it. Music as well as helping others is something that I’ve always had a love for. No matter what obstacles I’ve faced throughout the journey I’ve been committed to learning as much as possible, wanting and being the best that I can be for those that I have been blessed to work with.
What advice would you give to aspiring music artists in regard to how artist development has evolved over the years?
Karen: Many of us will agree that nowadays there’s a lack of artist development which really sucks because that is the one thing that will help contribute to longevity in the game. As much as social media is a great tool for exposure, which has led to a slew of artists achieving overnight success, it also gives others a poor mindset sometimes wanting instant gratification. I encourage aspiring music artists to build an organic fanbase. Give them a glimpse of the long studio sessions, the “no’s”, hitting up the small local shows, making contact with the DJs, promoters, etc. Put in the work and let them see your story! When your fans grow with you it draws them in even closer. It’s like watching a good series you love, that keeps you wanting more. If they get everything too fast I believe the fanbase will lose interest, but allowing them to watch you develop will keep them tuned in for years to come.
We would love to hear about the film A Taste of Betrayal directed by Ty Johnston. What can you share with us about that?
Karen: Ty is a very good friend of mine, we’ve watched each other grow over the years both near and far. I saw her work on some of her very first projects which have led to her extensive experience in television & film. Ty knows & understands my passion when it comes to entertainment, the arts, and creativity. By expressing to her my interest in expanding into the film arena she gave me the opportunity to come on board “A Taste of Betrayal” as a co-producer. Oshea Russell and London “Deelishis” Charles (whom I helped cast) play the lead roles along with Danielle Laroach and Njie Sabik. The movie is currently in post-production and scheduled to release sometime this summer. I can’t give too many other details but it’s a really interesting storyline, with great acting with a talented cast & crew. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and I have no doubt in my mind the people will enjoy this one!
What else are you currently working on?
Karen: The question is what am I NOT working on LOL! Well first and foremost Trina is family and we are now at a level where we are focused on building the brand even stronger, multiple partnerships, and business ventures outside of music. In addition to that I am preparing to release my first ebook. I felt it was important for me to share my knowledge based on my own personal experiences so that I can help others, possibly preventing them from making some of the same mistakes and just overall, a helpful guide which I plan to add to over time. Also preparing to merge with another company to fully launch our magazine SJM (@thesjmag), more details coming soon. And then there’s my merch brand Noire 9 which I’ve been very particular about and just taking my time because I wanted to fully feel comfortable with the direction. Noire 9 will be found in a permanent location in Atlanta GA before the end of the year with limited pieces and more surprises. I get bored easily, I’m never content. I have to constantly challenge myself so there’s always going to be something new going on with me. I’m blessed, and I just appreciate those that have followed and supported my journey! I hope to continue to inspire others along the way.
How can we keep up to date with you on social media?