By Philtrina Farquharson | Contributing Writer 

This past week at Academy LA, Billboard celebrated the unveiling of the highly anticipated 2022 Billboard R&B/ Hip-Hop Power Players list. This list was created to honor executives across the genres, spotlighting their influence and their strides toward an equitable music industry. 

Ahead of the cocktail reception, Grammy® Award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist Future arrived to hand out the Rookie of the Year Award to up-and-coming rapper Blxst. Grammy Award-winning, chart-topping, and multi-platinum-selling recording artist SZA was also on hand to present the award for Executive of the Year to Tim Hinshaw, Head of Hip-Hop & R&B at Amazon Music.

“He’s a real person, a real good dude from South Central. A guy who grew up in this area and had an opportunity to elevate and bring us, his supporters to a place like this. It’s a big deal. Tim believes in people and essentially became the guy who is the head of Black music. He’s definitely the most prominent figure coming up right now,” said Simon “Cheese” Fobi.

Additionally, Billboard and the Intel® Evo™ platform launched an exclusive NFT collaboration to support the event. Attendees mingled and connected while enjoying Rémy Martin cocktails, including The Rémy Sidecar, The Rémy Ginger, and The Rémy Old Fashioned, made with Rémy Martin XO, signature of the Cellar Master and a unique blend of up to hundreds of eaux de vie.

Following the reception, attendees and fans were invited to experience Billboard Live: R&B/Hip-Hop, Billboard’s first-ever open-invite concert. Flo Milli opened up the concert and gave the audience a high-energy performance hyping the crowd up as fans sang word for word. Dynamic-duo City Girls then shut down the stage with their electrifying stage presence representing Miami as they performed some of their biggest hits including “Act Up”, “Rodeo”, and “Where The Bag At”. 

Other notable attendees included Nick Cannon, Daylyt, DJ Scheme, Ghazi, Warner Records CEO & Co-Chairman Aaron Bay-Schuck, Epic Records Chairman & CEO Sylvia Rhone, Rolling Loud Co-Founder, and Co-CEO Tariq Cherif, Billboard President Mike Van, Billboard Executive Director of R&B/Hip-Hop Gail Mitchell, Billboard Deputy Director, R&B/Hip-Hop Carl Lamarre, and more.

“I represent the Hip-Hop & R&B team on the streaming side at Republic but a part of the large team of great people. We just worked on a lot of great artists this year and a lot of #1 albums and #1 songs, I am just proud to be here to represent the company and my team. It’s beautiful,” said Romel Lherisson, Associate Director of Commerce Hip-Hop & R&B at Republic Records.

Beyond the seasoned veterans in the industry that were honored during this night, the next generation of leaders showed up and were equally recognized, being given their flowers for their contributions thus far to the industry. 

“I was over at Tidal for three years building the social channels and now I’m here at Amazon music leading social rotation within the Hip-Hop team. I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and music so social is where the road meets the rubber,and so it’s like being front line in terms of storytelling. I am so thankful to be able to make an impact and be acknowledged for my work,” said Melanie Mercedes, Sr. Social Lead at Amazon Music.