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From Intern to Editor: Kazeem Famuyide Discusses How Relationship Building Advanced His Career

Sometimes it’s really about who you know

Vital Stats:

Name: Kazeem Famuyide
Digital Content Editorial
Years in Industry: 10
Current Position:
Creative at Bleacher Report
Past Positions:

  • Writer, No Script with Marshawn Lynch
  • Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Stashed Magazine
  • Host of the Flagrant 2 Podcast
  • Host of Kaz In The Morning on Satori Radio
  • Senior Editor at Hip-Hop Wired
  • Online Editor, The Source

Education: SUNY- Purchase College
Social Media:

What was your first real job in media?

I got a job at The Source magazine fresh out of college.

I started out as an intern and was playing basketball for my college at the same time. On a daily basis, I would go from class to basketball practice to The Source, and I wasn’t getting paid.

My first real big break came from a story I did on Drake. I knew some famous people and had relationships with them before they really blew up, like Drake, because he performed at events that I helped put together for my college. After Drake’s second concert him [sic] and I got the chance to kick it. After we spoke I put a story together about him and brought it back to The Source’s editor. From then on they began asking me for content, and after a while I was like “Listen, I’m not giving you this [content] until you guys give me an actual job.”

A few months later I was hired as a staff writer.

You went from intern to editor at The Source magazine—a monthly hip-hop music, politics and culture magazine—in a little under two years and then moved on to create your own publication, The Stashed. How did The Stashed come about?

I was done with people telling me what was hot and what to cover. I believe if you give readers substance, they’ll take it.

So once I got an opportunity, I seized it. One of my good friends at Hip-Hop Wired called and asked me if I had ever met Steve Stoute, which I hadn’t. So she set up an introduction, and once we got to talking it turned out Stoute wanted to create a blog for his marketing agency, Translation. They had been trying to create a blog for a long time, but it didn’t really register to them that nobody wanted to read a blog about a marketing agency. I explained to Stoute, that you had to create a blog in the presence of the marketing agency, but still speak in the spirit of what you want that company to be, and it’ll work. And that’s how The Stashed was born. I had stepped into such a perfect situation there because you’ve got Steve Stoute, one of the most iconic and great minds of this industry, mentoring me, and on the back end I was kind of introducing him to the social media and digital content generation.

What kind of skills or mindset did you need to finally step out and start your own publication?

Self-confidence is key.

I was about three or four years into my career, and still working my way up. However, I was already starting to feel burnt out. I remember someone saying to me, “Man if you had the perfect situation, what would it be?” My response was: “I feel like I could run my own publication better than a lot of these people.”

Outside of your media career, you helped to create the HennyPalooza event series. How did the idea come about?

If it wasn’t for my connections in media, I’m not sure HennyPalooza would have lasted or blown up as much as it has.

HennyPalooza started three years ago as a house party amongst friends for a couple of years. As it got bigger and more people began to come so did our celebrity friends; our first celebrity guest was actor/ singer Mack Wilds, but I think our first big artist was the rapper, Pusha T.

I happened to be kicking it with my good friend, rapper Wale during Howard [University] Homecoming in Washington, D.C. and he mentioned that we should check out Pusha T’s concert. Once Pusha seen [sic] me, he remembered that I had interviewed him a few times and was like “Yo, whatchu doin’ out here?” I told him about Hennypalooza, and he responded “That’s tomorrow? It’s here?” Meanwhile, I’m psyched that he even knew about it and then actually showed up!

Now that you’re at Bleacher Report, and you have your own podcast what is your ultimate career goal?

One of my long-term goals is to be a media mogul.

I want to continue to be an industry playmaker creating controversial, boundary-pushing media. Because I’m not really motivated by money anymore. Pushing a genre or doing something nobody’s done before motivates me. After a while, all that stuff [like money] is going to come, but if you’re not reinventing the wheel every time or reinventing yourself, then you’re not really living up to your full potential.

I’m still young, I still have all this energy, and I feel like I have so much to give this industry. Between my work ethic, my connections and knack for bringing people together I figure, why not keep going?

Looking back on your career thus far is it fair to say relationship building helped you progress in your career? How important is relationship building?

Yes, for sure it did! I learned early on that relationship building was wildly valuable.

No one wants to work with somebody that is difficult, or they don’t get along with, but everyone would build someone who’s personable and genuine. Not saying that you need to kiss everyone’s butt or anything like that, but networking is extremely valuable in this industry and usually separates you from potential competition.

What advice can you give to an aspiring media professional in regards to interning and then demanding more from a company?

The best advice I received when I was younger was “work for free or work for the full price, never work for cheap.”

I built my name up to the point where people had to start paying me for my services.
I did my best to prove my worth because a lot of the time, a magazine like The Source did not have to pay you because they have a million other writers. Starting out I had no track record, and nothing to lay my hands on. As long as I was getting my byline in the magazine and people were seeing my work, that was good enough for me. It wasn’t until the point where I knew my worth—and I knew I could be something of value—that’s when I finally started making demands.

All of the success I attained in my career was from hard work, networking and just being outgoing. So above all else, just be yourself.

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