ABC7 Unite: Music mogul Sophia Chang launches 'Unlock Her Potential' mentorship program

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- When Sophia Chang was watching the news months ago and learned that New York City's Summer Youth employment program fell victim to coronavirus this year, an idea was sparked inside of her.

"That just lit a fire under me to do something," she said. "And I thought, this is the thing that I'm passionate about."

That passion is for mentorship, and she says it's made an impact on her incredible career.

Over the past 30 years, Chang has made her mark in the music business -- working with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA, Method Man, and Redman, to name a few.

She's now the author of a memoir called "The Baddest Bitch in the Room," and she will admit that a key to her success was her own mentor -- music executive Michael Ostin.

"What he offered to me was experience and insight," she said. "He will help me navigate, help me focus, help me identify what horse races I should be in, what things I should chase, and what I should fall back on. And 33 years later, he's still my mentor."

She wanted to give other women of color the same hand up, and now, she's created the "Unlock Her Potential" mentorship program. And it's an all-star cast of mentors, from "Love and Hip Hop" creator Mona Scott-Young to actors like Andre Royo from HBO hit series "The Wire."

The mentorship program is extremely popular, and within just a few weeks, they have more than 1.000 applicants. And they continue to look for women, as long as they're over the age of 18 and women of color.

All because there is a need.

"We are not taught in the same way that white men and white women are about the system," Chang said. "We do not have the same access. We just simply do not have the same experience, because we are not the dominate culture."

Her hope is to give women of color a guide and opportunity -- and take away any excuses managers may have for not having diverse employees.

"They say, 'Oh, it's so hard to find a women of color who wants to write or direct,'" Chang said. "No it's not. It's only hard because you're not looking hard enough. It's only hard because you're lazy."

To apply or for more information, visit


See more stories at


Watch Here & Now
Here & Now episode archive


We are also publishing resources in a range of areas, which will grow and can be found below:

Ways to Help
Black Lives Matter
Black Voters Matter Fund
National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform
Voices of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY)
Black LGBTQIA + Migrants Project

Teaching the Next Generation
Black Lives Matter at School
Creating Space To Talk About Racism At Your School
Teaching for Black Lives - Rethinking Schools

Black-Owned Bookstores in New York and New Jersey
Cafe con Libros (Brooklyn)
Grandma's Place (Harlem)
Sister's Uptown (Manhattan)
Source of Knowledge (Newark)
The Lit. Bar (Bronx)
The Little Boho Bookshop (Bayonne)

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Black Wall Street 1921
Jemele Hill is Unbothered
Still Processing:

American Son: Available on Netflix
If Beale Street Could Talk: Available on Hulu
Just Mercy: Available on Amazon Prime
Selma: Available on Amazon Prime
The Hate U Give: Available on Amazon Prime
When They See Us: Available on Netflix

13th: Available on Netflix
America Inside Out with Katie Couric: Available on National Geographic
Becoming: Available on Netflix
I am Not Your Negro: Available on YouTube
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.