Renaissance woman Mashonda Tifrere is a portrait of courage and a change agent. Singer, songwriter, artist and mother, Mashonda has fulfilled her calling to combat gender bias by empowering female artists and curators from around the world.
From an early age, growing up in Harlem, Mashonda was captivated by the mosaic of arts, music, photography and culture that surrounded her. It was the era of Basquiat and Keith Haring, and graffiti on every train. Mashonda’s grandmother bought her a camera and she shot roll after roll of Kodak film. She was fascinated watching her uncle paint, with his brushes, oils, and canvasses scattered about the house. As a girl, she gained experience working with various art mediums and was mesmerized by the potential of art being used to empower and inspire.
At age 18, Mashonda landed an impressive music publishing deal and with the money, purchased her first framed work of art, “Oak Tree, Snowstorm” photographed by Ansel Adams. It was just the beginning of her ongoing love affair with art.In the coming years, while maintaining her dignity and integrity, Mashonda signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, collaborated with Brooklyn-bred rapper Jay-Z, and was on in a myriad of popular tracks and albums for artists including DMX and Eve. The music business brought Mashonda face-to-face with the harsh realities of sexism and bigotry in the industry, and she soon realized the tainted standard extended to the world of art as well.
She began to travel the world visiting art galleries, networking, and meeting female artists. She represented artists at art fairs and interned for various galleries, studied and graduated from the prestigious Christie’s Education in New York with a degree in Art Business.
Partnering with Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD and Gucci’s Chime for Change, Mashonda launched ArtLeadHER, appropriately enough, on International Women’s Day in 2016. ArtLeadHER is the remarkable platform she began pioneering in March 2016 to celebrate and draw awareness to female artists in a male-dominated art world.
Mashonda finds her strength by empowering others and plans to continue using the impressive platforms she has created to even out the imbalance between men and women in the global music and art industries.
Mashonda currently resides in New York City with her son. In October 2018, she released Blend: an experience-based book about balanced co-parenting for blended families, with contributions from her co-parents Swizz Beatz and his wife, Alicia Keys. (Penguin Random House)