Saturday, April 10, 2021
LaRita Shelby: The Brand Besides the Brand
By troy Tieuel Sentinel Contributing Writer
Published April 26, 2013


Back in the day, Shelby worked as a teen Disc Jockey at W-DIA in Memphis, Tennessee


From On Air personality to Marketing Strategist, it pays to be versatile in Hollywood!

If you walk down Crenshaw and listen, you will hear, over the drum of engines and honking horns, the deep base beats and high-pitched sounds coming from car stereos, bumping the many radio stations such as Power 106, KJLH, KDAY and the Wave.  In between guitar strums and harmonic loops, commercials play.  They are faceless, imageless recordings repeated hourly and echoing in memory. 

Some, the more creative ones, stay in our psyche and all we need is a prompt to be able to recall the jingle.  Complete this phrase: “At Nix Check Cashing…”

Most people know how the popular slogan ends, but few knew that the face behind the lovely voice was LaRita Shelby, of 1 Plus One Management.  Shelby started her radio career in the tenth grade in Memphis Tennessee at W-DIA, the nation’s first black owned radio station as a teenage reporter, then later as a radio Disk Jockey. Shelby has gone on to voice many radio commercials and programs, including work on the classic Radioscope.  Shelby’s recent works include the Tom Joyner Morning Show.  She also wrote and co-produced special programming and documentaries for Lee Bailey’s company, The Electronic Urban Report.

Shelby interviewing R&B artist Patrice Rushen


Crenshaw is Shelby’s lifeblood and her voice can be heard if you call Tavis Smiley’s office, or as the reception voice for One United Bank, both companies based in the Crenshaw District.  “Where ever my people are, I am there,” says Shelby who, because of her radio career, has been able to travel the globe with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services (AFRTS). 

Shelby’s career doesn’t end when the “On Air” lights go out.  In 1992, she co-starred in Stephen Milburn Anderson’s South Central as Carole, the wife of main character ‘O.G. Bobby Johnson.’  Shelby also has had recurring acting roles on hit TV shows such as What’s Happening Now (1987), A Different World  (1989), Martin (1995) and The Fresh Prince Of Bell Air (1992), just to name a few. 

Where does one go after achieving so much in radio advertising, broadcast journalism, singing and acting in television and films?  “Through the course of all this I have developed a muscle for marketing, branding and media relations,” says Shelby about her varied career and future prospects, “I now know that you must be the brand BESIDE the brand!”  Shelby is excited to share her knowledge of marketing and promotions strategies with those interested in increasing their market visibility and help them reposition themselves to stand beside, and not behind, the products, services and or companies that they represent.

Shelby now structures multi-media campaigns and is currently completing her third book ‘The Brand Beside The Brand,’ due out in the fall of 2013. 

For more information on LaRita Shelby, go to

“LaRita Shelby brings her best self to everything she does,” said Tavis Smiley, CEO of The Smiley Group, PBS Host and producer of The Tavis Smiley Show. “She is a compelling combination of sound, soul and sensuality!”

Photo by Troy Tieuel

[email protected]


Categories: Crenshaw & Around

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