Rebekah Foster – Production Manager, Black History Month, Professional Profile
By Liam Klenk
Rebekah Foster has been in the entertainment business for over 35 years. While she studied sports medicine at university, her passion for music – specifically audio engineering – and the arts proved to be the stronger force. Rebekah was willing to work anywhere so she could gain experience and find a firm foot hold in the industry.
Here is Rebekah in her own words:
I’m from the Bronx in New York, with deep ties to Bermuda.
There has always been music and theatre in my life. They’ve been and are an essential part of who I am.
In school I loved sports. But something happened to my knee and prevented me from becoming more involved. I became a student trainer and went to university and started to study sports medicine. My plan was to be an athletic trainer.
But music just kept jarring me. I started as a DJ, which led me to audio and to doing local gigs around New York where I worked with several different sound companies.
This led me to doing gigs within all musical genres. I was the lady with the van and worked with many of the Jazz greats in my early career.
Then KRS One from Boogie Down productions came and heard me mix. He liked what I did which led me to start working with him and BDP, live as well as in the studio.
At the same time, I realized I needed to spread my wings even further.
1987 I founded my own company, Ujima Sound Productions Ltd to provide production management and tour management. Ujima means “collective work and responsibility.” People kept calling me for work. This was a way to help them and bring them on board.
While working with KRS One, I still did Jazz gigs as well. Then I left KRS One and two days later Queen Latifah’s team called and said, “I heard you are available. Do you want to come work with us?”
This was in 1991. I said yes and went to work with her and her company Flavor Unit.
I began getting more and more work. I worked with the great Chris Lighty (until his death) & Violator Management. That led me to work with A Tribe Called Quest, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, and Marcus Miller as well. To name just a few of the artists I had the privilege of working with.
I worked hard for it, and my career kept evolving…
There is a specific sound company that I kept sending my resume to since the late 80ies. 3 to 4 times a year. I kept asking them for a job, even offered to come and work for free. I was just trying to get a job with a big sound company. But the answer was always “No.” Year after year.
Then the tables turned, and they were calling me to get my clients’ gigs.
Which showed me very clearly that it is important how you treat people. You meet the same people on the way up as you do down.
It’s imperative to always be professional and carry yourself in a way so when people hear your name it brings back a good thought not a bad one.
Many times, especially in the early days, I was the only woman on the crew.
When I worked at See Factor, I might have been one of only 2 black people (back in the Eighties). I worked with Bob See who is an industry legend.