Interview: Rick Ross' Sister Tawanda Roberts Talks About Working With The Bawse
Tawanda Roberts personifies the catchphrase: "behind every good man is a good woman." That good man happens to be MMG boss, Rick Ross, who is her little brother. Ms. Roberts uses her business savvy to execute her brother’s vision and has played a role in sealing his deals, such as his beloved Wingstop food chain and recently, Mcigs, for which is he a brand ambassador.
But when it comes to being the brains of an operation, the Mississippi Valley State alumna is not new to this. The mother of two has a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in management, along with a master’s in public administration from Troy State University. VIBE recent;y caught up with Rozay’s big sis to talk about their working relationship, her role in his business deals and what she said when she found out he wanted to be a rapper.
I know you were involved in helping Ross get the Wingstop deal. What role did or do you have in that?
We got the deal collectively. I make sure I oversee and manage the day to day operations of the Wingstop deal.
Why a restaurant instead of a clothing line or something more "rapper" like?
He ate at Wingstop on a regular basis, and he always visited. He loves the product, and he only joins himself with things that he is really big fan.
How hands on are you in his business deals?
I’m just as hands on as you are going to get. I’m at the corporate office talking to you right now and after I get off the phone I’m going to be in a full fledged hands on day to day going from looking at schedules to inventory and purchasing things.
What’s the working relationship like between you and him since you guys are not only connected through business but also siblings?
Its wonderful. I already know my brother’s vision. I don’t think it could be a better working relationship. I know his vision and I just execute to the fullest. We make decisions collectively. If it’s something that I’m not sure of I definitely call him for his advice. He’s a great, great advisor. I tell him the situation and he definitely knows what should be the next move. So we work together very well.
Has there ever been a business deal that you guys did not agree on that ended up working out?
No, we haven't had any of those but I’ll tell you I can trust my brother and any business deal he thinks would be a great move I support him 200 percent. So everything has been a success so we haven’t had that experience and I hope we don’t.
What’s the hardest thing you have had to deal with being his assistant and his sister?
I don’t recall anything being hard and I don’t know if you would think that would be realistic but I find a solution for everything.
It seems like you guys have a smooth working relationship. How was he as a child? Did you know he would grow up to be what he is now?
No I can’t say that I did. He was just my little brother. I was older than him so as a kid he always just played video games and did his things with friends and he was just my little brother. He was active in football. As crazy as it may seem he was into beatboxing and that kind of stuff.
Since he was beatboxing, were you surprised when he wanted to be a rapper?
No, well he always had a notepad and I was like ‘ugh, he wants to be a rapper. Really?’ I didn't have an option. I knew I had to go to college. I didn’t take him seriously. I really didn’t. So when he got a deal with Def Jam I was like ‘wow!’.
Was he any good at the beatboxing?
I wasn’t really into all that. Beatboxing was annoying to me.
What were you doing before you began your job as his assistant in 2010?
I used to work for the city of Miami Gardens. I was an accountant there.
He asked you to be apart of his team?
I don’t think he even formally asked me. I just saw that my brother needed my help. It was getting to be a lot because I was already kind of working with him. I went to China on a vacation and I just gave my job my month’s notice and told them when I came back from China I was not going to be working there anymore, and I just jumped in full fledged. It was like we have to make sure the bills are paid on several homes and monitoring all that and I just knew that I could not continue to take my brother’s calls on their time so I just knew it was time. As you get bigger you need more manpower.
Was it an easy transition to being his assistant?
I wouldn’t say it was easy. I was business savvy but all the things that come with the music industry is a little different.
What are some of the things you had to learn?
Talking to agents and promoters. Knowing what to ask. Making sure the contract is done the correct way. But basically just knowing the right questions to ask about the venue, the market. Is it a right fit for Ross? Is this the market where we want him to go? There’s a lot of questions you gotta ask.
What was that moment where you made a mistake that turned into a learning experience?
I think a good practice for anyone is to get their backend a day or two in advance if not earlier. It was a deposit for a show date. Don’t way until the day of. The artists is already in the market. If the show didn’t do as well as they wanted to to do they may want to opt out or not pay or cancel the show at the last minute. That has not happened a lot to us but that has happened before. So that was a learning experience.
How did it feel to receive the key to the city of Memphis being that you guys are not from there?
It was a great honor for them to even consider giving him the key to the city. He has five Wingstop’s in the Memphis area and they just wanted to show their support and gratitude for developing economic stability with providing jobs.
What’s a typical day like for you dealing with Ross’ business ventures?
A typical day is taking calls from promoters, agents, people that want to collaborate for different things, talking to attorneys, just all of his brand work and the logistics of working out things for him. Talking to his stylists, his barbers...
What’s your favorite songs by your brother?
“Supreme” and “Ashton Martin Music.” I can put those on repeat over and over again.
Is it difficult to listen to his music sometimes with the foul language and the content?
Not at all. That’s my brother so when he is saying something I understand what he is saying and the message he is trying to get over.
What are some of his upcoming business ventures?
Mcigs and the DGK the clothing line. We have some other things in the works but we can’t disclose that right now.