Born and raised in Liberia, Barkue Tubman is an international social entrepreneur, philanthropist, and advocate for the rights and empowerment of girls and women in the United States and Africa. A descendent of Harriet Tubman and the granddaughter of William V.S. Tubman Sr., Liberia’s distinguished late President. Barkue grew up with a strong awareness and commitment to leadership and freedom both of which influenced her career choices and prompted active engagement with projects; enhancing the quality of life for the underprivileged.
After studying at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York City and the prestigious Hun School of Princeton, Barkue went on to obtain a BA in Business and French, with concentrations in Economics, from Elon University in North Carolina. Barkue’s interdisciplinary background, early exposure to the arts, and immersion into culture sparked her interest in the world of international business.
Steering from stereotypical career options, Barkue explored her interest in the entertainment industry, landing a position as an Executive Assistant and Artist Manager in Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit. This, she believes, was the starting point of a bright career in the creative industry. She would go on to become a key player in the management of clients such New Edition, Outkast, Macy Gray, Usher, Donell Jones and Queen Latifah.
In 2000 Barkue advanced to founding member and the Vice President of Michael Blue Williams’ Family Tree Entertainment, where she effectively managed operations, marketing, promotions, publicity and negotiations for clients like Outkast, Macy Gray and the company. She passionately guided the careers of the clients to enhance, shape, and extend their brands. In less than five years, she was promoted to Vice President at Mona Scott Young’s and the Late great Chris Lighty’s, Violator Management, the home of music industry’s top selling artists such
as 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes & Missy Elliott.
Barkue’s diverse background and extensive experience in top artist management companies, created an avenue for the launch Miss Boss Lady Entertainment (MBL) in 1999. MBL became one of the most successful, female-run, urban management companies of its time securing six and seven figure production deals for Grammy winning producers and publishing her own imprint with TVT records.
Barkue expanded the scope of her company to reflect and actively pursue interest, connecting the United States and Africa. She strategically diversified her client base and services to become a global performing company and changed the name to MBL International Group Group. As President and CEO of the MBL International Group Group, Barkue broadened the company’s reach into a highly sought after management, public relations, marketing, and event planning organization with a global outlook. The company has, and continues to host successful campaigns, and its clients include international delegations in Liberia and national brands. Corporate and public sector clients include, but are not limited to: the Office of the President of Liberia, Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, United Bank Of Africa, Global Bank, National Oil Company Of Liberia, National Port Authority of Liberia, International Trade Center, RLJ group of Companies, Monami Entertainment, Bono’s ONE Campaign, Tony Blair’s AGI organization, UN Women, and more. Individual clients include BET’s founder Robert L Johnson.
After years of consulting and managing projects for private and public organizations, Barkue realized that she could create a platform that connects both sectors to her first love, which is the empowerment of girls and women. She created the now successful African & American Women for Peace, Youth Empowerment and Cultural Exchange Network (AAW-Peace), a global network of influential women committed to accelerating the pace of socio-economic development in Liberia.
Under the auspices of AAW-Peace, and drawing from her professional experience in partnership buildings across sectors, Barkue raised resources from all sectors to organized the bi-annual Dare to Dream Conference chaired by Her Excellency, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 2012 Nobel peace laureate and President of the Republic of Liberia. Current projects include a global women empowerment Campaign and a stand-alone chain of women empowerment centers to be replicated across West Africa and beyond.
To further her vision of a better world for all, Barkue has recently kick-started the first of what is designed to become a chain of Starbucks-styled café in Monrovia, Liberia. The Peace Café Yehbo, as it is called, operates as a social venture, with emphasis on fostering entrepreneurship and economic development. The café itself is sub-divided into a café proper, a mini breakfast and lunch corner, a pay-to-use internet center, a document processing center with printers and photocopiers, and an outlet for courier services. This all-in-one hub is the first of its kind in Liberia, and provides jobs for local youths - trained to handle all business operations. The Peace Café Yehbo is a job creator and also a profitable business model that can be franchised across the region.
Barkue’s overall approach to life and business echoes a commitment to progress. When she is not exploring ideas for a new social enterprise, she is advising investors on how to tap into Africa’s expanding business opportunities.