Talent manager Keith Dorsey on his journey to create one of the first all-Black content housesView transcript
Keith Dorsey is carving out a space for Black creators in Atlanta, and they’re giving other social media influencers a run for their money.
Dorsey, a serial entrepreneur, marketer, and talent manager, created Collab Crib, one of the first major all-Black content houses, last year. Like other content houses, Collab Crib is designed to give rising influencers a space to live while interacting with one another and influencing a generation through their social media. While Dorsey had been managing music acts and influencers for a handful of years, Collab Crib came to represent a kind of breakthrough — he’s now seen as a rising star in the talent management world, and the house is the focus of a documentary: “The New York Times Presents: Who Gets to Be an Influencer?”
The conversation with Dorsey took place as part of a Business of Business panel about succeeding in the creator economy, where he discussed how he built his talent management business, the founding of Collab Crib, and what’s next for the influencers he manages.
How to build a content house00:00:00
So I have two defining moments myself. One of the moments was where I met a representative at Sneaker Con New York a few years ago. It's like 15,000 [people], the biggest tech shoe conference I've ever seen in my entire life. I met him, and he invited us to a dinner and it was basically for influencers. This is back when the music industry first started to notice that songs and dancers and challenges were affecting the music industry.
So they were just lobbying with the creators that, when I went — and I didn't even know who these people were — I started to do some research. But long story short, we received an activation where he was like, “Hey, we have this group, and they need some promo with a few of your dancers who are on social media.” And I said, “We have a $10,000 budget.” Back then, that was a lot of money. This was like, six years ago, I had a group of 10 of them then. But now where we are today, they get paid $10,000 each post, so it's a little bigger. So at that moment, I was like, “Wow, this is a real business.” And I did it over and over again. The checks got bigger and bigger. I was like, “This is actually really working.” I was able to pay a lot of them that never received money, that never got paid for anything before. We just danced to things because they liked the song. And now they were making money from artists and labels, just to dance to the songs now. So that moment was very big for us.
"I just knew that it would work if we could get in a house, seeing all the creators’ houses in LA, I knew that there's no black creator houses, there's no foundation for black creators. Let me be the first one to do it."
Back in December, we first launched our creative house, this is a 9,000 square foot mansion estate, golf course community. And literally, I was like, “I don't know how we're going to do this.” But as soon as we started to make the announcement and lots of people were supporting us, they were like, “Okay, we want to support you guys, what do you need,” and we got into the house. Everything just started to work. We got featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Entertainment Tonight. Because I just knew that it would work if we could get in a house, seeing all the creators’ houses in LA, I knew that there's no black creator houses, there's no foundation for black creators. Let me be the first one to do it. I didn't know it was gonna work. I did it. And then we got Instagram to support us, they gave us a check to help us in the house.
To speed up today where we are, we're in four weeks of production of our Facebook funded show, which we're filming now. It was like, this is a real thing for them. And this is actually long term. Then I was featured in Business Insider as the top 19 managers in the United States. So I was like, now I'm going from just being this manager to an agency of over 200 million followers combined and talent. And that moment just really reminded me that this is a really big thing. The first thing I was like or maybe this is the phase you know. But this is going to be for decades, for years, for generations, that this is going to last. Those two moments in my life were just really big for me, and here we are today.