Johnnie Walker

June 02, 2023 - 566 views

Living Legends Honoree, R&B Hall of Fame Inductee,
music executive, consultant, dynamic speaker and board advisor
Ms Johnnie Walker... an all-encompassing executive, oversees multiple organizations and entertainment
ventures. She is the innovative Founder and CEO of NABFEME, the National Association of Black Female
Executives in Music & Entertainment, Inc. A professional organization comprised of 20 networks
established in the USA, Canada and Africa, NABFEME is dedicated to the support
and empowerment of women in recorded music, media & technology, sports, film
& television, fashion and related disciplines. Ms Walker is also Executive Director
of Memphis Music Matters a non-profit foundation that supports the Memphis
Music culture and is the creator of Women Who Jam! ... a syndicated all-female
themed radio show and live music showcase series.

Ms Walker has served as Head of Black Music for DreamWorks Records and holds
the distinction of being named the first female Sr. Vice President of Promotion for
legendary Def Jam Recordings.

The recipient of countless awards, in 2005 Johnnie Walker was honored by Rev.
Jesse Jackson and Rainbow/PUSH with the "Woman of Conscience Award"; in
2006 she received Delta Sigma Theta’s "Osceola Award," their highest honor given to professionals in the
arts; in 2009 Women’s eNews named Ms Walker as one of New York's "21 Leaders for the 21st Century";
in 2010 Memphis newspaper, the Tri-State Defender named Walker a “Woman of Excellence,” in 2012 she
received the Black Music Pioneer Award from the Los Angeles arm of the Black Employee Network of the
Interpublic Group and 2017 saw Walker receiving the International Career Excellence in Entertainment honor
from the Memphis Stone Awards. Most recently, Ms Walker was named a 2022 inductee into the Rhythm &
Blues Hall of Fame and honored as a Living Legend by the Living Legends Foundation receiving the 2022
Michael Bernardo Female Music Executive Award.

Affectionately known as "J-Dub," Ms Walker began her career as a Country music radio personality in
Grenada, MS. She later segued to Black Radio performing as an announcer and Program Director. In 1989
Walker joined Def Jam Recordings as a regional marketing rep and within one year was promoted to National
Director of Promotion. For the preeminent Ms Walker, that position was short lived as she was promptly
promoted to Sr. National Director, positioning Walker to be instrumental in launching the careers of R&B/hip
hop greats Redman, Method Man, Onyx, Montell Jordan, Ashanti, Sisqo, Case and Foxy Brown!
At the direction of hip-hop mogul and philanthropist Russell Simmons, Johnnie Walker relocated to New
York City in 1997 and was named Vice President of Promotion for Def Jam. A year later, after restructuring
the company’s promotions department and its field staff, Ms Walker was named Sr. Vice President. During
her tenure, her team successfully marketed Def Comedy Jam, Phat Farm clothing, Russell Simmons' co-
produced movies, The Nutty Professor, The Klumps, Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour 1 and 2, in addition to several
#1 Gold and Platinum albums from Jay-Z, LL Cool J, DMX, Alyson Williams, Ashanti, Kelly Price, Public
Enemy, 3rd Bass, Beastie Boys, Ja Rule, Sisqo, Musiq Soulchild, Dru Hill and many others.
After a 15-year tenure at Def Jam, Ms. Walker moved to Los Angeles and assumed the position of Head of
Black Music for DreamWorks Records. Following a subsequent sale of the label, Walker headed South to
Memphis to take the helm of the Memphis Music Commission where she spearheaded a wealth of culturally
diverse music programs and creative initiatives.

Increasing the awareness of women in entertainment, Walker created and continues to present the NABFEME
International Women’s Leadership Summit... a 3-day gathering that features riveting panel discussions and
highly attractive signature events. Featured participants have read like a who’s who amongst the
entertainment industry and corporate elite. Powerful names like Shonda Rhimes, Patti Labelle, Nicki
Giovanni, Dionne Warwick, Suzanne DePasse, Valerie Simpson, Judge Hatchett, Sylvia Rhone, Marc
Morial, Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, Ruby Dee, Nona Hendryx, Paula Madison, Cissy Houston, Usher, Kanye West,
Angela Winbush, Sarah Dash, Yolanda Adams, L.A. Reid, Cissy Houston and more have been featured.

Continuing her empowerment philosophy, Ms Walker currently serves on the advisory board of the Music
Industry Relations Collective of the National Museum of African American Music located in Nashville, TN


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