Advertising Week 2020: Kicked Off With LL Cool J + Bozoma Saint John

Hosted online, Advertising Week 2020 kicked off on October 5 starting with an interview between LL Cool J and Bozoma Saint John to discuss “Hip-Hop, the forgotten middle child of generations, authenticity, and more”.

LL Cool J, CEO and Founder of Rock The Bells was interviewed by Bozoma Saint John, CMO of Netflix, for a conversation about How Brands and Advertisers Can Authentically Connect With the Arbiters of Culture — The Hip Hop and Black Community. During the panel, they discussed hip hop and its relationship to mainstream culture, importance of authenticity, and why the Gen X audience is clutch for marketers.

LL and Bozoma Saint John also touched on how it’s important to stay connected to the streets, and hence connected to the community. Emphasizing the general tendency for marketers to focus on millennials, LL Cool J shared how his brand, Rock The Bells, is concentrating its efforts on Gen X, as this is often the forgotten middle child that should not be ignored. By focusing on Gen X, LL has found that his brand has been popular amongst Gen Z, since they’ve been raised by Gen X and therefore the influence carries down. Bozoma Saint John agreed with LL, sharing that it’s not only the right thing to do, but also that with $2.4 trillion of spending power, it is an intelligent business move for marketers to target Gen X’ers.

Lastly, LL talked about the importance of why he began Rock The Bells, sharing that unless hip hop artists are on the top of the billboard charts or coming out with new hit singles, they are often forgotten about. As a result, he began the brand so hip-hop legends can be treated with the love, reverence, and respect they deserve.

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“Hip hop comes from the street – It’s from the mud. You know, I think, when you have your ear to the ground, it has a lot to do with how you connect with the world, how you connect with the people. Being in the industry and never really getting too, too far removed, is, I think, just really important because, you know, the voices of the culture, you know, and a lot of those ramblings, a lot of those start in the street and we care about the whole street.” says LL.

LL Cool J said, “I felt like the artists were being marginalized and forgotten about, and I wanted to uplift and preserve the legacy of hip hop culture, and I’m doing that through this multimedia platform,”

“I cried at that moment…You carried it for the culture and we sincerely appreciate you” – Bozoma Saint John said, on hearing about LL Cool J being the first rapper to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.


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