Upon her return home few years ago, Tubman who is also the CEO of the Miss Boss Lady Entertainment and other holdings told the British Broadcasting Corporation last year, that getting started in Liberia wasn’t an easy one “I didn’t really know what I was gonna do initially, but Liberia was a virgin market even back then so anything I wanted to do, as far as I was concerned, with the gifts that I had been blessed with, I knew I would turn it around because I know the strength that I have,” she told the BBC’s series African Dream.
Having fled the country in the aftermath of the turmoil that engulfed the country in 1980s while just starting primary school, she and her family settled in New York, subsequently graduating from Elon College In North Carolina with degree in French and Business Management years later according to reports.
Hungry for success and the determination to thrive, the ‘boss lady’ joined the male dominated entertainment industry, more so as far as management is concerned. The music industry, known for its hard nose and stiff knuckles is always a tough environment to take on, but she lived up to expectations and went beyond the mark of potential, as she climbed the ladder rapidly to the very top.
According to industry insiders, when the young Liberian mogul began pursuing her interest in the industry, Artist Management was her major focus. According to the Miss Boss Lady International Group webpage which lists her achievements in the music Industry “she accepted a staff position as a Travel Specialist with a company whose clientele included Motown Records’ Babyface, New Edition and Boyz 2 Men etc. New Edition’s & Usher’s manager at the time, Brooke Payne, was impressed by Tubman’s vibrant personality and tenacity, and recruited her for a position at his 617 Management company in Los Angeles. After 617 Management, Tubman went on to work with Quadree El Amin and John Dukakis of South Paw Entertainment where she further honed her management skills by working with top industry talents like Boyz ll Men & Janet Jackson.”Such achievements by any personality in the American entertainment industry deserve rave reviews, not less a Liberian.
With the drive and the flair she brought her clients and employers the 39 year old Miss Tubman was getting attention from top music executives in droves. Amongst them Queen Latifahs’s management and record label company in New Jersey –Flavor Unit. Assured she had acquired the necessary managerial skills to make her own impact, she and Flavor Unit parted ways in 1998. It was then, that she began the appropriately titled Miss Boss Lady Entertainment, Inc.
What she did subsequently after leaving Flavor Unit would attest to her managerial skills and business acumen when she took under her arms and guided the magnificent R&B foursome NEXT. Under Tubman’s stewardship the quartet gained a multi-platinum status and was chosen for the prestigious American Music Awards, in the process according to reports, garnering eight billboard awards, especially for the hit single “Too Close”.
The ‘boss lady’ would eventually as president for another management company, Family Tree worked with insanely talented artists such as Outcast, Raphael Saadiq, Jagged Edge & Macy Gray. She also managed the high profile Donnell Jones. as her clientele grew, so did she also worked for Violator Records as Vice President of Product Management & Management Consultant to the music heavy weight rapper Busta Rhymes and the decorated Grammy winning multi artistic Missy Elliott.The elegant Ms. Tubman has never look back since then. Recording those accomplishments and experiences has allowed her to expand her horizons. The Miss Boss Lady Entertainment Group has now gone international and is also establishing a foothold on the African continent, especially Tubman’s native Liberia.
Talking about coming home to Liberia she said, “What I learned quickly when I hit the ground was that entertainment was not a priority on anybody’s list, for obvious reasons. It wasn’t rocket science.” She said in the interview with the BBC.“It was definitively tough but you don’t necessarily give up, you just rearrange how you approach what you can do for the entertainment industry with respect to creating opportunities, but every year it gets better and better.” Barkue also successfully hosted the 2007/08 Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant.
Tubman says definitely, she sees a bright future for Liberia and its entertainment. have also commended Africa’s first female President Johnson Sirleaf who she sees as a role model, and who has created the enabling business environment for Liberians to flourish.
By moving back home to Liberia she brought a unique set of management skills, while aiming to promoting Liberian artists and the entertainment industry. Barkue and her Miss Boss Lady Group in April 2008 were instrumental and successful in bringing the internationally acclaimed Senegalese American hip hop super star Akon to perform at the Monrovia Football Stadium.
But Barkue believes the entertainment industry could do better, maintaining that “The future of Liberia is definitely bright because the young people are really striving to make[ing] themselves better and learn.”
Her first move to promote Liberian artists and give them international recognition and exposure came in July last year when she signed her first Liberian act, the ever talented crooner David Mell.
Mell’s YouTube joint “Carry Ur Load” is a popular hit.
Speaking to the Front Page Africa, after she and Mell struck the deal, the mogul said, “Today I am proud” to say Miss Boss Lady is…going to take an artist under her wing and prepare him not only for Liberia but also for the international community…when we watch the BET Awards we must not only see Nigerian artists but also a Liberian artist purposely representing our country,” adding “He has agreed to put his career in my hands and I am going to do everything possible for us all to be successful…”
With such a commitment and gigantic entrepreneurship spirit harnessed, the elegant Ms. Barkue Tubman has been called a unique Liberian ambassador by some, to others she’s the ultimate goal getter.
Pic: DAVID MELL AND BARKUE TUBMAN IN MONROVIA