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Karen Civil: The Digital Entrepreneur

Karen Civil is a digital branding and marketing mastermind in the world of hip-hop and entertainment.

She exudes fearlessness when it comes to taking chances and betting on self and for that reason, her career has soared from working under New York DJ Funkmaster Flex to pushing the Beats by Dre headphone brand to a national presence and curating some of the most popular social media messaging and images for today’s top sought-after artists.

Even with her building success, the center of her hustle is giving back and using her platform to generate positivity for the betterment of humanity.

With this goal, on her 30th birthday, the Haitian-American digital entrepreneur launched the Live Civil Playground, sponsored by Karen’s Live Civil Fund, in Haiti.

With so much going on from hosting events from Los Angeles to New York and working behind the scenes to give artists who don’t carry social-media savvy a worldwide presence, JET caught up with Karen to gain more insight about her 30th birthday, inspiration and her current Live Civil Tour.

Karen Civil

JET: Happy Belated Birthday! It’s so commendable and self-less of you to give back in such a grand way. Was it always a goal of yours to do something of this magnitude and special on your 30th birthday?

Karen Civil: Turning 30 was such a special moment for me, I wanted to celebrate it in a way that didn’t just revolve around me. But use my birthday to bring joy and happiness to those around me as well. I’ve discussed with myself numerous times that I have to give back and wanted to leave a legacy in the world as appose to leaving a mark.

JET: What experience have you had that made you firmly believe that anything is possible?

KC: When I started working for Hot 97, this was a radio station I grew up listening to, and me taking the first step by entering an apprentice contest helped shape the start of my career. I took a chance, believed in myself and the end result was life changing.

JET: When it comes to branding and identity,how did you come into knowing your voice and the message that you wanted to instill onto the world?

KC: You can be whoever you want online, so it’s your choice how you use your platform. I decided I wanted to be known as someone who is informative, giving you behind the scenes and up to date information on all things related to entertainment. Once I was known for that particular thing, I knew I could now use my platform to be an influencer – someone whom you trusted.

JET: What are some business strategies that have worked for you and are still valuable in your field?

KC: The Internet itself is a great tool to learn and get updated firsthand on all things happening in social marketing. I am a big reader, from new apps and platforms to just making sure even if I don’t use the platform, I secure my name on all of them.

JET: Navigating the hip-hop and digital world, did you have an idea that this would be the platform in which you made a difference and encouraged change?

KC: Def! Hip hop now is crossed over into so many places from fashion, movie, TV and sports. A majority of everything has a hip hop influence. From Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” video, to the way IHOP tweets, a majority of everything is culturally influenced by hip-hop.

Karen Civil and client/artist Nipsey Hussle

Karen Civil and client/artist Nipsey Hussle

JET: You’re constantly elevating your career and making connections with powerful individuals, what keeps you motivated and inspired?

KC: The people who email, tweet and just stop me to say I gave them “the courage to pursue a dream.” It’s bigger than just posting about music, I use my voice/platform to help effect change in everyday lives.

JET: What was the vision behind the Live Civil Tour? On the tour journey, have you come across anyone or a message that you continue to carry with you?

KC: I wanted to put a face to all the people who continue to reach out, market myself differently and do something that hasn’t been done with bloggers. I continue to look for ways that set myself a part and this has helped me greatly to tell my story, gain a new audience, promote my brand and more importantly help the next person take the first step into their career and navigate through life and fulfill their purpose.

JET: What’s next on your plate?
KC: I’ve got my book release next year through Cash Money Publications – Live Civil: 5 Tools for Unlocking Your Potential & Living Your Purpose.

To keep up with Karen Civil’s hustle, visit karencivil.com.