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Future: Photos From the Billboard Cover Shoot

todayNovember 17, 2022

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In 2011, Ebonie Ward was preparing for the grand opening of her boutique, Fly Kix ATL, a men’s clothing store in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill district that would soon become a stomping ground for high-fashion sneaker heads and up-and-coming rappers such as Kendrick Lamar and Nipsey Hussle. She knew she needed the perfect artist for the launch, so she reached out to a close friend of a rapper she had recently seen at a local showcase. The burgeoning artist, Future, had no Billboard Hot 100 hits to his name — just a commanding, charismatic presence that pierced her core the first time she saw him onstage.

Future accepted the offer and performed at the grand opening, where he also met Ward for the first time and was immediately intrigued by her determination. “She had a different kind of drive,” says Future, who hired her to be his assistant shortly after. “[She] had a will just to get everything done by any means necessary. She always sees ahead of the curve.”

“I think he is the most talented individual on the planet,” says Ward, who began managing Future alongside his longtime manager, Anthony Saleh, in 2017. “When you see somebody who’s so passionate, diligent and hardworking, it just ignites something inside of you that you don’t even understand that you possess. You meet somebody who’s constantly able to help you evolve on every level of your life, just with his level of dedication. It’s really a beautiful thing.”

Read Billboard’s full Future cover story, part of the R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players issue, here.

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Paramount’s Slate of Brands Have Big Plans to Salute Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary

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todayNovember 17, 2022

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