Roc Nation’s Lenny Santiago launches residency at Warner Music

Current Warner Music fellow, Troy White, interviews panelists Lenny Santiago and Ryan Shaffer. (Jordyn Taylor/HU News Service)

By Jordyn Taylor

Bronx native ​​Lenny Santiago, known as Lenny S., touched down at Howard University to start his widely celebrated residency for the Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business. 

Welcomed with food, music, and a room of students waiting to hear his expertise. 

 Last fall, Santiago was announced as the spring 2024 executive in residence on the music center’s Instagram account. 

Santiago is a photographer and music industry executive who, for the last 20 years, has focused his work on hip-hop artists and culture. 

As a senior vice president at Roc Nation, the New York entertainment company founded by rapper Jay Z, Santiago regularly collaborates with some of the brightest stars in the music industry, like DJ Khaled, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Vic Mensa, and more. 

The panel, hosted by the music business program’s third cohort fellows, featured Santiago and Ryan Shaffer, an entertainment lawyer currently working with the brand innovation team for Savage X Fenty. 

Many questions revolved around their time in the industry, how they overcame adversity and future prospects. 

Student attendees were tasked with writing down short-term and long-term goals as part of the event experience. (Jordyn Taylor/HUNS)

“It’s critical that we shape the future of this industry by investing in the growth and development of the next generation. That’s why I’m honored to serve as this semester’s executive in residence, where I have the opportunity to mentor and share knowledge with bright minds,” Santiago said in a press release. 

His residence featured a curated speaker series that took over his two-day visit, intended to promote candid conversation and questioning, allowing students to receive insider knowledge and strategies to succeed in the music business industry. 

Eric Azike, a senior at Howard University, was anticipating the arrival of the industry mogul. 

“The only reason I feel prepared for my career is because of opportunities to meet legends like this. The event was intimate and I got to ask questions that I wouldn’t be able to ask had I not been a part of the fellowship and the center,” he remarked.

Following the event, audience members were invited to mix and mingle with the panelists and enjoy the food and refreshments. Jasmine Young, the director of the Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business,  aims to create more opportunities for exposure for students. 

“We are more than honored to have Lenny S. at the Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business as our executive in residence,” Young said. 

These are our future executives, lawyers, and artists, so it’s important for events like today to keep inspiring the moguls of the future,” she said. 

The Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business is excited to host their first annual ICON Fest, curated by Lenny Santiago, from April 3 to April 5.