Business Class: Deb Antney

She Got Her Own

As the founder of Atlanta’s Mizay Entertainment (home to Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj and OJ Da Juiceman), Debra Antney, with her nearly all-female staff, handles the burgeoning management agency with all the proficiency of a pinstriped alpha male.

“I love strong women,” says Antney, who left social work to Launch her management firm in 2007 and now employs a staff of 13.“Even when they’re weak, I will strengthen them.” Her ultimate goal for the firm established to boost Gucci Mane’s career is to become “the new LaFace,” the First southern-based Urban music industry powerhouse. Here, she drops gems for other aspiring moguls. ––Tracy Garraud

Family Affair
I associate my company like this: I’m the mother and I have business husbands… each one of them serves a purpose.  [My clients are the] kids running around. I have babysitters, like the road managers.

Selective Selection

A lot of people sign artists just to say, “I got a huge roster.” I don’t want everybody; I just gotta see “it.”

Pledge Allegiance
[When your client’s incarcerated] you keep him alive by any means necessary. We never missed a visit with [Gucci]. Not that going to jail is a good thing, but that self-inventory he did [while locked up] brought us to another level. I ain’t running out on him when I’m collecting money, so why would I do that through harder times?

Fake It Till You Make It
I remember being in my house [when I first started], trying to play it off like I had an office. I’d say, “Let me transfer you to the marketing department.” There ain’t no marketing department! I’d change my voice and have different lines, all transferring to the same number.

Loyalty Breeds Royalty
It wasn’t a secret that I didn’t want [Nicki Minaj] signing to an artist. Look at the history of women who came out needing a man to push them through; when he was gone, she was gone. But I respect her loyalty. People would be surprised about the amount of money Nicki was offered, but she stood by [Lil Wayne’s] Young Money, and they’re treating her good.

Keep It Out The Fam
Jesus, don’t hire family. That is the worst.

Spin Cycle
DJs are one of the most important relationships to have. I even made hoodies that say, “Respect the DJ.”

All Business, No Pleasure
[Industry dating] is problematic. You don’t shit where you eat. When Nicki came in, first thing I said to everybody in my camp was, “Hands off.” There are rumors, but Gucci never made a pass at Nicki. He knows.

Ego Rip
I will put you in check just by my look.  When my clients get brand-new, I’ll just get silent. [That way] they don’t know what I’m gonna do.

Hold It Together
The average woman mopes when things fall apart. There’s no room for that. My team wakes up every day to come to work and believe in me. When is there time to cry?

Tracy Garraud has written for VIBE, XXL, and Rap-Up. Currently, she is the Entertainment News Editor for