Bold. powerful. outspoken. When Maricarmen “MC” Lopez steps into a room she owns
it. As a Latina Executive Producer/Showrunner whose TV producer credits include the
successful Love & Hip Hop franchise, WE TV’s Hustle & Soul and Complex Network’s
Good Looking Out; Maricarmen is the epitome of a latina boss and is dominating
mainstream platforms which are primarily led by white men.
From her former days as a Talent Manager working with icons such as Missy Elliott,
Jagged Edge, and Slick Rick, to being an integral part of giving women in music such as
Cardi B, Trina, and Amara La Negra, platforms on TV; SHEEN had a chance chat with
the incomparable TV producer to reminiscence about the early days of her career, to
becoming one of the most sought after and well respected women in TV production.
Can you walk me through your life growing up in Miami and your humble
I was born in Jersey and raised in Miami. I am a child of first immigration, raised by
Cuban parents. It was an adventure growing up in Miami–it’s such a cultural melting pot.
I grew up around all sorts of different communities and cultures. When I was presented
with the opportunity to have an internship at Slip n Slide records in my early years, the
former VP of Marketing, Wendy Morgan, came up to me and approached me about an
opportunity, and ‘I was like, uh okay!’ And that kind of started everything.
I know before you became an Executive Producer, you started as a talent booker.
Please tell me a little bit more about that.
That was actually at Slip n Slide–Ted Lucas had a division under Slip n Slide called
Bossman Management. After my internship, he offered me an opportunity to help
relaunch the management team alongside Byron Trice, and that’s how I started booking
acts. We were working alongside the talent’s managers and going on the road with
them. Here I was, in my early 20’s, on the road with Trina, and the Jagged Edge, and I
didn’t know what I was doing at the time. But you know there was a sixth sense that
came just by being in certain situations. Representing Jagged Edge, a very well
respected and established group, was mind blowing. So that was my first real venture
into that side of the business, and I learned a lot working with those guys.
I know you also worked with the legendary Missy Elliott! Is there anything that just stands out in your mind when you worked with her?
Her work ethic is unmatched. I remember our first international show in Dubai was with Formula One races. It was a 14-hour flight from New York, and there was a hurricane in 2012 and people were without power for almost a month. The area that I was staying at did not have power at the time, but the show didn’t get postponed. We still had to make the show happen, and it didn’t matter what was happening to us, because there was the other side of the world that was not being affected by whatever natural causes were happening to us. Nothing stops, come hell or high water, things still have to happen. You can’t allow obstacles and storms that are happening in your life to take your eye off the goal, you have to stay focused.
Tell us a little bit about the whole experience working with Mona Scott Young of
Monami Entertainment. How did you move more into the executive producer and
the showrunner seat from transitioning from your role as a talent booker from the
Well, I have to give credit to the former VP of International Marketing at Atlantic
Records–David Miller, who was a friend of mine, for the introduction. I remember
hearing about Mona, and knowing the impact that Violator has had in the music
business. And I knew of Chris but when I heard that there was a woman that was an
equal partner in this really global and amazing management team in the music
business, I wanted to meet her. I remember talking to David one day, and I was like: ‘I
have to meet Mona.’ I frequently traveled to New York a lot, because I was helping do
stuff with Slip n Slide records up there. So, he’s like: ‘oh let me introduce you.’ He called
her one day when I was there having lunch with him, and he was like, ‘hey, I have this
spicy Latina, I want you to meet.’ She was like: ‘oh, tell her to come by.’ The rest was
history. I grew from that and I’m forever thankful.
What has it been like for you to be able to really help minority women get viable
platforms in reality TV?
It was absolutely amazing. I will say that although reality was a part of Cardi B’s resume,
she was a star way before Love and Hip Hop New York. She had accumulated almost
one million followers when we were introduced to her. It was DJ Self who brought her
into the production office, and she had such a buzz online. She’s so hilarious. She had
such a huge personality, and talking to her on the casting tape, she was talking about
her musical dreams, and how she was in entertainment from a very young age. To
witness her transition from when she was hustling at the time, and doing her bookings
and stuff like that, into her musical journey, was incredible. We were there to put a lens
to her, and witness her greatness. I will say I had the honor; it was an adventure
working with her.
I know you are big into community service. Please tell me about your mission to
mentor the youth in television and production.
At the end of the day, giving back is my passion. I’m the first generation in my family to
have an American set business. I’m the first, but I don’t want to be the last. That would
be in vain; if I’m just going to be the first at it. I would be ungrateful and not doing the
work of God, if I didn’t present those same opportunities down the line. Mentoring and
showing the youth how to advance in television and production is something that I am
definitely going to do for the rest of my life.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently showrunning Black Ink Compton Season two, the baby of the franchise,
and we’re having a unique experience on the westside for a little bit. There’s a crop of
amazing talent that’s out here, and helping share their stories and their struggles and
their experiences is exciting. I am also continuing the work serving the elderly in the 305
[Miami] alongside my mom and her foundation, Algo Nuevo.
Keep Up with Maricarmen:
Photo Credits: Andrew Fennell IG: @andrewfennell, Joseph Rose IG: @josephrosevisuals