Atlantan Hassan Smith (@hassanksmith), longtime member of John Legend’s management team and inner circle, has been recently promoted to the role of senior adviser. Here, we get to know Smith and discuss all the aspects of his new title.
What did you do prior to joining John Legend’s team?
I owned a small New York-based executive protection firm with a staff of 15 and serving 10 full-time clients. I have always diversified my business portfolio through strategic investing, consulting with Fortune 500 companies and investing in commercial real estate.
How did your friendship begin with Legend?
John and I met through a mutual business associate in late 2004 while John was putting together his core team. We had a positive and productive dinner meeting. [After] that interaction, I became his director of security for the next five years before transitioning to other roles on John’s team. Our friendship strengthened as we spent more time getting to know and trust each other over the course of our professional relationship. I was a groomsman in his wedding, as he was in mine. We are both part of one another’s inner circle of family and friends.
What are some of your goals as Legend’s senior adviser?
The goals are to continue to expand John’s global impact through a big-picture strategy, diversifying our brand into untouched markets.
What role do you play in the Atlanta community?
I love the Atlanta community! My biggest commitment is helping our community’s young people evolve into great business minds. I’m involved in our local and state government politics, local Black-owned and -operated businesses such as The Gathering Spot, great HBCUs including Morris Brown College and Morehouse College, and other top-tier organizations like 100 Black Men of Atlanta Inc.
What is your current relationship with the city?
I migrated to Atlanta 10 years ago from Harlem, and originally hail from Roxbury, Mass. I knew Atlanta from visiting for business and leisure for years. It’s always been a place I’ve felt extremely comfortable—beautiful people, amazing lifestyle, wonderful entertainment and great connectivity. My beautiful wife, children and I reside in Chastain Park.
Photography by: Dewayne Rogers