Detavio Samuels is a force to be reckoned. He is one of those people that the minute you know him, you know immediately you’re dealing with someone who is special.

Still under 40 years old, Samuels is one of the most sought after marketers in the world. Considered an expert at reaching minority consumers, clearly a huge and important segment to corporations, he has already been sought out and worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. That list includes Chrysler, Walmart, the NBA, Johnson & Johnson and other internationally known names.

He is now the President of iONE Digital, the digital media division of Urban One, the largest distributor of urban content in the United States. Their distribution channels include TV One, Radio One and Reach Media, the use of social media and live events. All those pipelines are important for reaching consumers but these days the digital platform that Samuels oversees is certainly one of the most critical with so many young people gravitating to online content to get most of their information. iONE Digital operates such popular sites such as,,,,, and

But wait, you thought that was all Samuels does? Don’t be silly. He is also the President of the company’s cross-platform sales and marketing group, One Solution, and he oversees the company’s branded content division, OneX. Is that enough to prove my point that as soon as you know this man, is the minute you realize you’re dealing with business genius?

When asked how he deals with so much and where he finds the time, he answers with the calm logic you would expect from someone like him.

“For me it comes down to radical prioritization,” he said.  “The hard work isn’t in finding time, because time is predictable and consistent for everybody in the sense that we all have 24 hours in a day.  The hard work is in saying ‘this’ matters more to me than ‘that’ and so I’m going to make sure ‘this’ gets done even if it means that ‘that’ never happens.  I’m a firm believer that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything. And so I never I want to fail at the stuff that matters because I’m too busy giving time to things that are less important—that’s not a trade off I’m willing to make.”

Samuels is a marketing genius and chose to focus on the segment of the population he feels is one of the most important and the fastest growing, the minority population, particularly the black community, highly coveted for its well-known consumption patterns. 

He said, “The global influence of Black culture is growing with no plans of slowing down any time soon. I see this happening for a few reasons. One, Black people have a culture of innovation and reinvention and so we are continuously developing new cultural ideas for the world to adopt. Two, Black people use social media as a microphone and so our voice and influence is louder than its ever been before.  And three, Black people are the arbiters of what’s cool, and so as long as people want to be cool, they will continue to look to Black people to set the standard. The challenge is not, will Black influence grow, the challenge is in making sure that Black people benefit fairly and economically for the global culture we are creating.” 

He added, “I think Black folks know that no one is moving culture in spaces like sports, style, music, and entertainment like we are. That said, I think there is a huge opportunity to recognize that we can have the same type of influence on things like politics and business, but we have to learn to work together.”

See what I mean. The man is special. His impact on American culture is already significant but you can tell there is a lot more shaping still to come. It’s certainly not surprising that Samuels has already received such prestigious awards as the New Vision Movers & Shakers (NV Magazine, 2017), the 2017 Trailblazer Award (National Urban League-NY, 2017), MAAX Awards: Media Executive of the Year (2016), Next Generation Leaders (NAMIC, 2016), 40 Under 40 (Crain’s Detroit, 2013), Men of Excellence (Michigan Chronicle, 2012), Power 30 Under 30 (The Apex Society, 2011) and Top Executives In Marketing and Advertising (Black Enterprise, 2011).

You already know a lot more is coming.

previous article
next article
No comments

leave a comment