Future's Manager, Ebonie Ward, Is Also Thinking About the "Future" of Women in the Music Industry

Rapper-producer Future is on the road again and with his manager, Ebonie Ward, by his side, there’s nothing he can’t do.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Apr. 17 2024, Published 12:35 p.m. ET

It’s easy to forget the people behind our favorite artists and celebs who make them who they are. Paris Hilton would’ve been nothing without her former stylist, Kim Kardashian (who’s now arguably more famous than Paris). And many musicians, actors, athletes, and other celebrities wouldn’t be able to manage their day-to-day lives without their managers. Hip-hop rapper and producer Future has his manager, Ebonie Ward, to thank.

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As Future gears up for his 2024 tour with Metro Boomin’ after their collaborative 2023 album, Ebonie is back in the spotlight as a leader in the industry. So who is Ebonie and how did she get into becoming a manager and more specifically, Future’s manager?

Ebonie Ward at First Annual SEED Summit and Awards 2024
Source: Getty Images
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Future’s manager, Ebonie Ward, was a men’s clothing boutique owner before joining the music industry.

Before she became one of the most successful managers in the music industry, Ebonie ran a men’s clothing boutique, Fly Kix ATL, which worked closely with the local rap scene in Atlanta. That’s where she met Future, who encouraged her to transform her career and work alongside him. She joined Anthony Saleh’s Emagen Entertainment Group, which was managing Future at the time, and worked her way up to become his main manager.

“It has been a very delicate situation at times,” Ebonie told Variety when asked about being one of the only women in the room “Anthony Saleh has been my ace and an anchor in my career. We would walk into a room, and they wouldn’t acknowledge me; they would just shake his hand. So he would stop and say, ‘Let me introduce you to my business partner — this is Ebonie Ward.’”

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Ebonie was one of the main people behind Future and Gunna’s viral track, “Pushin P,’” which became a viral hit and driving force for many hip-hop artists. She even helped spearhead the Grammy campaigns to earn “Pushin P’” several nominations. “That’s my role as [Gunna’s] manager,” she said.

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“I don’t want people to get so caught up in a temporary circumstance that they lose sight of who he is, what he represents, and what he was able to create … I want it to be a victorious moment — for him to come out of this and continue to come out on top, where he belongs.”

Ebonie Ward speaks at Strength Of A Woman Festival & Summit in 2022
Source: Getty Images
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In 2023, Ebonie opened her own management firm to further the careers of women of color in the industry.

Ebonie isn’t just a manager — she’s an entrepreneur and an activist. In 2023, she was named a Women in Music honoree after opening her own management firm, 11th & Co, which is the first management company fully led by women and more specifically, Black women. “During COVID-19, I realized that I was limiting myself by not being forward-moving or thinking out of the box,” Ebonie told Billboard of her inspiration to open her own firm.

She brought over some of her biggest clients—Future, Gunna, and Flo Milli. She also added NBA player James Harden to her roster as she found similarities between athletes and musicians in what they’re looking for from a manager. “In its own way, sports is very similar to music because a lot of athletes want to get into lifestyle,” Ebonie explained. “They want marketing.”

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After the #MeToo and #TheShowMustBePaused movements gained traction to bring attention to women’s rights and racial justice, Ebonie knew it was time to make a change. “I’ve seen a lot of Black women, especially in hip-hop and R&B, who are the backbones at many companies. I’ve also seen a lot of women who are actually running these companies, but they’re still not the face. It was time to do something different.”

And that’s exactly what Ebonie did. “I want to do something that is very unorthodox, not one-dimensional,” she said of her firm, which sponsors the annual A Seat at the Table event, which “celebrates the often-overlooked contributions of young women and emerging executives.” Ebonie may be one of the best managers in the industry, but even more importantly, she’s at the forefront of making sure women’s voices are heard.

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