From LA to Washington: Teacher recounts life in entertainment industry

English teacher Nikita Washington worked for Capitol Records where he collaborated with celebrities and worked at high-profile events before returning to teaching.
Capitol Records is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, and is a record label that has signed artists such as Pink Floyd, Katy Perry and The Beatles. At Capitol Records, Washington worked in the digital marketing department. He posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
“I created different graphics for them and I also focused and updated on their actual websites,” Washington said.
Through his work, Washington said he was able to make several connections, giving him the opportunity to meet, work and interact with artists.
“I did meet Halsey once,” Washington said. “I remember no one knew she was actually in the building. I went up to the floor above where I was working, and when I went to see one of my friends that worked in the photography department she came out and gave me a hug and she said ‘you’re fabulous.’ It was that simple connection that I realized that she was actually a really cool individual and I really appreciated that.”
Not only did his connections give him the opportunity to have more personal interactions with celebrities, they also gave him the chance to work on award shows.
“I did something called freelance where you just kind of do different jobs in different places,” Washington said. “I started to make friends and connections where they needed my background, and the individuals actually wanted me to work on the award shows. [For example, I met] this woman [who] asked me if I wanted to assist, [which is] how I got to work at the BET awards and the American Black Film Festival.”
While the connections he made because of his job gave him further work opportunities, he said they also allowed him to connect with individuals on a more personal level.
“One of my friends is the publicist for Yara Shahidi, the young lady from ‘Black-ish’ and ‘Grown-ish,’” Washington said. “I do know a lot of people in the industry and it’s just very fun to have some of those people as my true friends before they were even popular. It’s really a humbling experience to see those individuals grow.”
Prior to getting a job at Capitol Records in Los Angeles and subsequently teaching English at Marshall, Washington taught English at TC Williams High School, studied at UNC Greensboro to become a nurse and volunteered to take a job for a technology company in the west coast.
“I was actually an English teacher for three years before I decided to stop teaching,” Washington said. “I started teaching in 2011 and I just wasn’t happy with teaching at the time, so I decided to try and do other things. I ended up getting a job at a tech company and they traveled me all over the United States. I ended up in California [because] they wanted someone in the west coast, and they asked if any of us wanted to volunteer, so I [did].”
Though he was already in the area for his technology company job, Washington said it took several months to land his job at Capitol Records.
“Now to get into the actual industry it was very hard,” Washington said. “I applied to many jobs, got many rejections, but I kept being persistent and ended up applying to Capitol Records. I ended up getting the job in July of 2016.”
He also said people ask why he would return to teaching, but said he considers the experience more fulfilling.