Elite representation on a global standard- Africa Creative Agency

On this super exciting global edition, Carob Magazine Africa profiles international music executive, co founder and Chief Operating Officer of one of the leading talent management agencies globally -Africa Creative Agency. We talk to Yvette Gayle about her illustrious career in the music industry, business, family and plans for talent in Africa.

CAROBMAGAZINEAFRICA: Wow 25 years in the music industry!!!  25 years of Working with the industry’s biggest names globally, how has the journey been?
YVETTE GAYLE: I’ve had an amazing 30+ years working in Entertainment. While studying Political Science at West Virginia University, I was blessed to be selected into the coveted Sony Music Minority Internship Program (working in marketing the first year and publicity the second year). Upon completing my degree, I joined the publicity department at Columbia Records. Plans for Law School were derailed but I found a new passion in the music business. My journey was remarkable, I was 22 and working with the likes of The Fugees, Destiny’s Child, Nas, 50 Cent, Maxwell, Mariah Carey, Kenny Lattimore, Bow Wow, Xscape to name just a few. I honed my skills, had the best mentors and grew. In 2001, I left Columbia Records moved to California and joined Interscope Geffen A&M as head of urban publicity. I spent 17 years with the company crafting the media campaigns for 50 Cent, Mary J.Blige, The Game, Keyshia Cole, and Keri Hilson, while overseeing the publicity efforts for the sub labels Aftermath, G-Unit, Zone 4, Mosley Music group, and Dreamville.
I had a tremendous career in the States and have worked with some of the biggest stars in the world and now I’m helping to uplift and develop the next generation of global talent. The agency is the cultural and creative intersection between Africa and the rest of the world. Our core mission is to build an ecosystem to ensure African talent receives elite representation, maximizing the potential of the creative economy. I believe that storytelling though music. Film, television and even art is an essential means to change the perception of Africa and leverage the collective brilliance of the youth.  ACA focuses on artists that have the ambition and talent to compete globally.

CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: Africa Creative Agency ( ACA) has offices in LA, South Africa and Kenya. It’s not a secret just how passionate you are about Africa and its creative potential. What is your dream or vision for Africa? 

YVETTE GAYLE: It is not really a question of what my dream for Africa is, it is about what my dream for the world is, to celebrate, elevate and help African creatives compete on a global scale because that is the only thing that is holding African creatives back. They can compete globally If only given the opportunity, the gateways are open. As much as I’m here promoting Africa, my love for Africa and my love for the African creative. My wish is for the rest of the world to get on board and it is slowly happening. We’ve been working in the continent for more than 20 years so we have seen the changes. We’ve seen the changes in music, we’ve seen the changes in film and television, we see how the world now is consuming Afro-beat, Amapiano and culture. We just need to get more of it out there onto the global stage.

CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: You are managing the biggest artist in the world currently. What would you say sets ACA apart?

YVETTE GAYLE: We have so many talented artists and I think that the thing that sets us apart is that we came to the continent to provide elite representation on a global standard. We have enormous years of experience, I’ve been in the music business well over 30 years and my husband for 35. My business partners are all senior executives leading their fields and I think that is what sets us apart. We have music people, finance people, digital marketing people and business affairs and lawyers that makes up our executive board. My five partners (Colin Gayle Founder and CEO, our Co Founders Joel Rao (Kenya), Roger Patton (LA), Kevin Boakye (SA). I think that because we’re all different and have many years of experience in different fields we are able to create and elevate human brands. We look at all avenues of our client’s careers because we’re into building solid and long lasting careers. ACA’s  South African Roster includes Tyla (with We Make Music) Nasty C, Pearl Thusi, AMA Qamata, and Celeste Ntuli to name just a few. East African clients include Eugene Mbugua, Sarah Hassan, Brenda Wairimu, Sauti Sol and Melvin Alusa.

CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: CNBC has named you one of the most influential women in Africa through your impactful work. How does it feel to see your work being acknowledged and celebrated by such big establishments globally?

YVETTE GAYLE: It feels amazing to be recognized for your hard work and efforts. As a publicist (before social media and before publicists sought to be celebs) we were trained to be in the shadows just doing good work. We rarely got a pat on the back and that was ok. But the culture has changed. I work hard and once I started running our own company I’ve had to do more interviews etc. I am slowly embracing and accepting the recognition. It’s a little weird but I’m here for it.

CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: You’re also passionate about giving back and transforming lives for the better. Tell us about Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and what role the organization plays.

YVETTE GAYLE: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is an organization of college educated women committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service with a primary focus on the Black community. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is a private, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. Since its founding more than 300,000 women have joined the organization. I was initiated in the Spring of 1991 at West Virginia University, the Omicron Upsilon Chapter.  On April 11, 2021 – I helped to charter Southern Africa Alumnae Chapter, the first Chapter in Southern Africa. Our service area covers 17 countries: South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Comoros, Mozambique, Malawi, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Mauritius, and Madagascar.

CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: Please tell us about Sitota Collection, what is it ? What inspired such a beautiful brand?

YVETTE GAYLE: Sitota Collection is my luxury candle and soap company. Sitota is my daughters name and it’s Amharic for “Gift” –  She was born in Ethiopia. When she joined our family at the age of one, my son had the brilliant idea for me turn my candle making hobby into a real business and he wanted to name it after his sister. I had no idea that little dream would blossom to see me selling my creations in the US, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Everything is created in my home studio and hand poured by me or my production assistant, Sylvester. We use traditional artisan techniques and create in small batches so we can pay meticulous attention to detail. Our artisan soaps are made from scratch using natural oils and butters that nourish the skin. In Johannesburg you can find my line at Rosa Handmade in Prison Break Market or Collective Hout Bay in Cape Town.

CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: Not a lot of people know this about you, you’re also a film producer, please tell us a bit about that and your recent film project.

YVETTE GAYLE: I’m new to producing. While I always had a dream of transitioning to Film & TV it wasn’t until moving to the continent that I delved in. I got to spend some time with Jim Sheridan when we were making Get Rich or Die Trying with 50 Cent and of course working in all of 50’s sectors exposed me to so much outside of music.

‘Fight Like A Girl’  is an amazing Film that I partnered with KG28Media to produce and it stars my client Ama Qamata. It’s a beautiful film written and directed by Matthew Leutwyler and we have our North American premier next month at the NY African Film Festival. It was my first time producing on a project and I learned so much through the process and so grateful for the experience which took me through every emotion possible.  Wearing the hat of producer and manager of the lead talent was often challenging.  Shooting in those territories often brought about new unforeseeable difficulties. I actually ended up in the hospital in Rwanda for heat exhaustion.

The film is brilliant.


A young Congolese woman (Ama Qamata from the hit Netflix series Blood and Water) forced to work in an illegal mineral mine escapes her captors and finds a new life for herself after joining a renowned all-women’s boxing club in the border city of Goma. Based on the true story of an East Congo all-women’s boxing club and their ex-child-soldier coach, Fight Like a Girl was shot on location in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.

CAROB MAGAZINEAFRICA:  We read somewhere that it was your late mother who influenced your work ethic and strong set of values. Kindly share with us how are you able to balance a busy work schedule and family life.

YVETTE GAYLE: Honestly I have not mastered the balancing act at all. It’s a constant give and take and I try my best to make sure everyone gets what they need from me.  It’s impossible to serve all the people all the time. But my family comes first. My husband and I travel a great deal but our kids are home schooled so that helps. They can go on the road with us and they are finally at the age they can get some on the job training by shadowing us a bit.

My mother was a woman who felt anything was possible. I remember when I was preparing to move to Africa – she simply said “You want to go, just do it” – It was particularly complex as she had just had a stroke leading up to the month of my departure. And unfortunately she passed away a month after my move. She was my biggest cheer leader. Strong and fierce, super structured and resilient. She was an educator and a brilliant writer.  She taught me how to take care of me. I learned so much just by watching and observing how she did life.

 CAROB MAGAZINE AFRICA: What can the world expect from ACA in the near future?

YVETTE GAYLE: My hope is that we continue to move the needle. That we continue to change lives and build an ecosystem where we continue to elevate culture and stretch those boundaries and glass ceilings that try to keep us from achieving.  With a continent that boasts the world’s youngest population, the possibilities are endless. This creative economy will continue to grow.

We have some new signings in our music division as well as our Film & TV division that I’m super excited about. So there are more great things to come from our stable.

Check out ACA below.