Portrait: Translation

Steve Stoute is parlaying his hip-hop roots into helping Jay-Z promote the Barclays Center


Who (l. to r.) Leeann Leahy, president; Chris Cereda, chief creative officer; John Greene, chief strategy officer; Steve Stoute, founder, CEO

What Marketing and communications agency

Where New York offices

Steve Stoute has long been involved with hip-hop and corporate America, so it’s fitting that one of Translation’s latest projects has been working with close friend Jay-Z to promote the new Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets. Stoute’s marketing campaign promoted Brooklyn as much as the agency’s clients, though—all part of the former hip-hop music exec’s effort to broaden the once-multicultural shop’s reach. “It’s too easy to look at archetypes—that person is an African American, that person is 18-34 or Caucasian,” he said. “Those boxes are starting to blow up. Contemporary culture doesn’t abide by those rules.”