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C. Lamont Smith

Talent agent C. Lamont Smith was born on June 24, 1956 in Omaha, Nebraska to Yvette Wilson and Wilbur Smith. He earned his B.A. degree in communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, and his J.D. degree from Howard University Law School in 1984.

Following his graduation from Clark Atlanta University, Smith worked as a production assistant at WATL-TV and as an usher with the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, where he became acquainted with general manager Lewis Schaffel and player John Drew. While assisting Drew with his endorsement contracts, Smith became interested in a career as a sports agent. After graduating from Howard University, he joined the sports marketing department of the law firm Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker & Grover in Denver, Colorado. In 1987, Smith founded All Pro Sports and Entertainment, a management firm based out of Denver where Denver Broncos wide receiver Mark Jackson was his first client. Smith served as one of Detroit Lions’ star Barry Sanders’ agents for most of his career, negotiating the contract that made Sanders the highest-paid player in the NFL in 1997. Smith continued to represent Sanders until his retirement in 1999. Smith also represented NFL players Eddie George, Jerome Bettis and Trevor Pryce, who became the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player in 2000. In 2005, Smith began representing wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who was that year’s third overall NFL draft pick, chosen by the Cleveland Browns. Smith launched a sports management company named Above the Rim Management in 2012, where international basketball player Jamar Samuels became his first client. Also, in 2012, Smith became the president of Smith Global Staffing.

Smith was named one of the top fifty sports professionals in the country by Black Enterprise, and as one of the most powerful sports agents by The New York Times. Smith also served on the advisory board of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association. Smith was honored by the Black Sports Agents Association as Agent of the Year in July 2001.

C. Lamont Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/23/2016 |and| 9/24/2016

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lamont

Occupation
Schools

Clark Atlanta University

Howard University School of Law

First Name

C.

Birth City, State, Country

Omaha

HM ID

SMI33

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Nebraska

Favorite Vacation Destination

U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

You Measure A Man Not In Times Of Comfort And Convenience But In Time Of Difficulty And Challenge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

6/24/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Talent agent C. Lamont Smith (1956 - ) was the founder and president of All Pro Sports and Entertainment and Above the Rim Management.

Employment

WATL-TV

Atlanta Hawks

Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker & Grover

All Pro Sports and Entertainment

Favorite Color

Purple

Hamilton Cloud, II

Television producer and talent agent Hamilton Cloud, II, was born on November 30, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. His father, Hamilton Cloud, Sr. was one of a few African Americans trained at the Northwestern University Dental School at the time of his graduation. Cloud grew up in Los Angeles but pursued his education at Yale University, where he earned his B.A. degree for his studies in “Communications: Mass Media and Black America,” a concentration that he originated.

Working with radio programs in Los Angeles for fifteen years, Cloud established himself within the media industry. His interests then turned to television programming, producing children’s and public affairs programs. In 1978, Cloud joined the network programming department at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and he became the vice president of Current Comedy Programs in 1982. In this role, he supervised the weekly production of a number of well-known comedy series, including Cheers and Family Ties. Cloud began his work in producing the NAACP Image Awards in 1987. The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards, when broadcasted on NBC, marked the first time the show was aired on a national television network. Cloud served as the producer of the annual show for fourteen more years.

In 1990, Cloud supervised and developed programming for Playboy Entertainment Group’s cable, home video and television divisions. Within three years, he was chosen serve as the vice president of Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (QDE), supervising first-run television, special events and interactive programming. After creating Thundercloud Productions in 1995, Cloud became the senior vice-president of Letnom Productions the following year. He continued to produce television shows such as The Montel Williams Show and events like Game of the Century<./i>, a baseball event to recognize the legacy of the Negro Baseball Leagues.

Cloud has served on a number of boards, including the Hall of Fame and the Prime Time Emmy Award Committees of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also been a member of the WGA and The Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors.

Cloud is married to Fukue Yamaguchi. The couple has one daughter.

Hamilton Cloud was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 29, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/29/2011 |and| 4/30/2011

Last Name

Cloud

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

S.

Schools

Yale University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Hamilton

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

CLO03

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Everything's going to be alright.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/30/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter

Short Description

Talent agent and television producer Hamilton Cloud, II (1952 - ) produced the NAACP Image Awards from 1987 to 2000. In 1987, the Image Awards were broadcast on a national television network for the first time. Cloud has worked with a number of other companies, including NBC, Playboy Entertainment Group, and QDE.

Employment

NBC

Imaginary Entertainment

Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment

Letnom Productions

Thundercloud Productions

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hamilton Cloud's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his maternal grandmother's Moravian cookies

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his mother's aspirations, and how his parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about tracing his paternal ancestry to Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud talks about tracing his paternal ancestry to Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hamilton Cloud talks about meeting a relative in Knoxville, Tennessee, and visiting his great-grandparents' graves

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his paternal great-grandfather, Peter Cooper Cloud's death

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his paternal grandparents, Lillian Strawbridge and Frank Herman Cloud

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his father's service in World War II and the Korean War and his training to become a dentist

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about HistoryMaker Leo Branton, who was his father's friend

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his father's and African American service in the Korean War, and his father's anti-war sentiment during the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his birthplace home of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his siblings, and his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his family's interest in music and dance

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his favorite memory of his maternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his paternal grandfather's photography

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the neighborhood where he grew up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his home and neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Hamilton Cloud describes his experience in school in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Hamilton Cloud talks about race relations in Los Angeles, California while he was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) reputation in the black community in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his interest in television and radio, and his parents exposing he and his siblings to the arts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and playing football near Ray Charles' home in Los Angeles

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his mentors in school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his favorite movie as a child, 'The Magnificent Seven'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about high school and his decision to attend Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his extracurricular activities in high school and graduating in 1970

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud describes his experience at Yale University in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about prominent African Americans who studied at Yale University while he was there

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud describes his experience working at WYBC radio station at Yale University and the programming that it offered

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Yale University's radio station, WYBC, as a cultural focal point in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about how he got his first job at a mainstream radio station in New Haven, and later in television at NBC in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about taking a semester off from Yale University, his father's skill and income as a dentist, and paying his way through college

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his experience working at radio stations and teaching in Los Angeles, and his move to television at KABC, Channel 7

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his experience at NBC in Los Angeles, California and his involvement with the production of 'Shogun'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the Japanese American community's reception of the television mini-series, 'Shogun'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hamilton Cloud describes his involvement in the production of the television movie, 'Grambling's White Tiger'

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his mentor at NBC, Brandon Tartikoff, and his experience as Vice President of Current Comedy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the popular sitcoms that aired on NBC in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about why he left NBC in 1984

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud describes how the NAACP Image Awards began, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud describes how the NAACP Image Awards began, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud describes his experience producing the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the honorees of the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about planning a tribute to Oprah Winfrey as part of the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about introducing 'Name that Tune' at the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about why he left the NAACP Image Awards, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about why he left the NAACP Image Awards, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his responsibilities as the producer of the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud discusses some of his proudest moments as the producer of the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the NAACP Image Awards demographics

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his production and personal management company, Imaginary Entertainment

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Hamilton Cloud's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks co-founding Imaginary Entertainment, and having Miriam Makeba as a client

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work with Paul Simon's 'Graceland' tour, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work with Paul Simon's 'Graceland' tour, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Paul Simon's 'Graceland' tour, and the initial reception that it received from anti-Apartheid activists

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Paul Simon and other prominent artists giving credit to artists who worked with them, and inspired their work

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Miriam Makeba and Nelson Mandela's birthday concert in London

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and working with Stevie Wonder to create the Martin Luther King Day Holiday

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Hamilton Cloud talks about working with Jon Hendricks of the vocalese group, 'Lambert, Hendricks and Ross'

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his radio show, 'Innervisions', pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his radio show, 'Innervisions', pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his radio show, 'Black Spectrum'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about going to Bob Marley's concerts in California in the 1970s and honoring him posthumously at the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about organizing a gala for President Bill Clinton and the Heads of States of the western hemisphere, with Quincy Jones, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about organizing a gala for President Bill Clinton and the Heads of States of the western hemisphere, with Quincy Jones, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work on the mockumentary, 'The Compleat Al'

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work with Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (QDE), pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work with Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (QDE), pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his decision to work at Playboy Entertainment

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud describes his experience working at Playboy Entertainment

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about how he met his wife, and their marriage

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about working with Montel Williams, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks about working with Montel Williams, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Montel Williams and Montel's struggle with multiple sclerosis (MS)

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his former assistant, Stacy Milner, her husband Ted Milner, and their business

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work with 'Game of the Century', a salute to the Negro Baseball Leagues at Dodger Stadium, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his work with 'Game of the Century', a salute to the Negro Baseball Leagues at Dodger Stadium, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about organizing a beauty pageant show for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the success of the beauty pageant show for HBCUs and the step-dance competition, "Stomp"

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about producing a tribute to Maynard Jackson at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about producing a tribute to African American organizations at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud talks his interest in producing a record album with the artist, D Knowledge

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud talks about producing a record album with the artist, D Knowledge, and working with him on other projects

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his involvement in the opening of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud describes his role as the Director of Special Projects for Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud talks about age discrimination in the entertainment industry

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud talks about the shortsightedness of attempts to abolish unions, and age discrimination

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about Congressman Maxine Waters

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud reflects upon the African Americans community

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud reflects upon African American ownership of their community, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud reflects upon African American ownership of their community, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Hamilton Cloud reflects upon dwindling African American representation in Hollywood

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Hamilton Cloud talks about not having political ambitions

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his staff's role as Congresswoman Maxine Waters' media representative

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Hamilton Cloud describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Hamilton Cloud describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Hamilton Cloud talks about his family

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Hamilton Cloud talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Hamilton Cloud describes his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Hamilton Cloud describes his experience working at WYBC radio station at Yale University and the programming that it offered
Hamilton Cloud talks about introducing 'Name that Tune' at the NAACP Image Awards
Transcript
My favorite professor is still there [Yale University], a gentleman by the name of Willie Ruff who you guys should interview cause he's, he's a treasure trove. He--yeah he's fantastic, music professor and jazz musician. Spends half the year teaching at Yale and the other half traveling the world as a jazz musician. And he exposed us to so many things. I, I literally got to, to meet Duke Ellington and I hosted a radio broadcast of a concert that Willie Ruff organized with Ellington and his orchestra. He, he funded the Ellington Fellowship at Yale, and that was the kickoff of that and I actually hosted the radio broadcast of it. Just brought through Honi Coles and B.B. King and, and, and just incredible folks that you know, I was exposed to while I was there. And, and yeah, great time, great time to, to be there. And so I, I fell in love with radio. I walked in the radio station and it was like the lightning bolt. I knew that's what I wanted to do and ended up--Yale had a commercial FM license. And so we broadcast to all of New Haven [Connecticut], and it was a very rare for a college radio station to have a commercial license. And so we could sell commercials and support the radio station that way. And we weren't paid but we were able to you know keep the electricity on and, and all of that. So the university didn't pay for the radio station, it was self supporting. So we had a program called 'Black Spectrum' that was on the air five hours a day and then most of the weekends. I forget what the total number of hours were per week. And I became the program director of Black Spectrum and it was the number one radio station in New Haven at, at the time. Because New Haven had this sizable African American population that didn't have its, its own radio. So we became that and before Black Spectrum there was a, a, a group of pioneering folks who did a program called 'Soul Sessions'. And they created that programming in the '60s [1960s] and then we carried forward with Black Spectrum and we were so far ahead of our time in terms of mixing genres of, of black music and, and Latin music. Because back then you know, you couldn't mix R&B [rhythm and blues] with jazz or gospel or Latin. But that's what we did. And--$$I've always found that curious that, that black people will, will you know--$$Yeah, well, well--$$--well that's not you know--$$Exactly.$$R&B was all you heard on most of the black radio stations around the country.$$Yes.$$And that was it and if you put jazz or anything else on it--$$Which, that always struck me as very strange too because it, it all comes from the same roots. And you know I suppose there are purists, but we created a format where we did mix all the music and it worked. And we were really proud, and we were following the lead of WHUR in, in Washington, D.C. [District of Columbia] which is again, a very pioneering--$$I was going to mention them as that's the only other station I've heard that mixed the genres like that.$$Yes.$$WHUR.$$And, and we were following their lead. And I got to meet Tony Brown and, and, and go to some conferences in D.C. and, and we were really inspired by what they did. And so we did this programming in New Haven that people still remember and, and you know I, I've met and heard from people who you know, still remember the programming that we did and, and the show, Black Spectrum, lived on for many years.$$Did you intersperse some political content as well?$$Yes.$$Like Malcolm's [Malcolm X] speeches and Dr. [Martin Luther] King.$$Yes, yes, yes. That's exactly what we did. So we would play snippets of King and of Malcolm and there was a great album called "Guess Who's Coming Home?" about black fighting men in Vietnam [war] that we would pull snippets out of that. I'm glad you mentioned that cause again, that's what WHUR was doing. And so we--it was, it was really culturally rich and sophisticated and, and musically, and we were very, very proud of it.$All right. Now, we were talking about the [NAACP; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] Image Awards, some of the stories, and you have a Roger Ebert story.$$Yes. And what made me think about it was when--I feel that throughout my career and my life I've been really blessed with a higher power, you know, looking out for me. And in the Image Awards, during the fourteen years that I did them, we put a lot of time and energy into thinking about how we would honor people. And, as I said, we try to do it in a way that would be very memorable. But I also know that we had some great luck along the way, because some things broke our way that you just couldn't have predicted. So, one example is we were going to honor the Isley Brothers one year, and we were in the production office with--I had a large writing staff, and the reason I did that is that the brainstorming process in my mind was as valuable as the actual writing. And so, I made sure to have a diverse writing staff; you know, age-wise, experience-wise, background-wise. And so, my policy was that any idea was welcomed and--which I learned from Brandon Tartikoff--and that anybody could throw out an idea and we would bat it around. And I always felt that my skill was determining the good ideas from the bad ones, and then maybe taking the good ideas up a notch. So, we were in the office and we were brainstorming about what could we do to pay tribute to the Isley Brothers. And we were just--I had bought a 'Greatest Hits' package, and we were bouncing through 'The Greatest Hits' package, and I'd play the first fifteen seconds of a song, and my writers would shout out the name of the song, you know, just naturally, because it would bring back so many memories for us. So, I said, "Wow, what if we did 'name that tune,' you know, and did it with the audience?" And so, one of the members of the staff said, "Well, why don't we use Steve Harvey to do this segment?" And we said, "Okay. Let's have Steve Harvey go into the audience and we'll play 'Name that Tune' with the audience, and we'll see if it works. And if it doesn't work, that's okay," because then the Image Awards wasn't live, it was videotaped. So I knew that if it didn't work, you know, I could cut it out. But, we picked, you know, four or five songs, and we told Steve, who was going to be in the audience, but we didn't tell him necessarily who to pick. And we didn't' tell the audience it was going to happen. So, he goes down into the audience, and I remember Chris Rock was one of the people that he asked, and you know, you could tell they were reluctant because he was literally picking him up out of the audience and they didn't know what was going to happen. So Chris Rock got all of the answers correctly, and then we picked somebody else, I can't remember who it was. But Steve was doing a great job with it. And he--by the way, before we did it, he wasn't even sure it was going to work. He said, "You're sure you want to try it?" And I was like, "Yeah. And you're so good on your feet that, you know, you'll make it work even if the person doesn't get the right answer." So, I don't what made him decide to go to Roger Ebert. And, you know, I guess he thought Roger Ebert, who has this image of being, you know, pretty square. And none of us knew that Roger happened to be married to an African American woman and that she was sitting next to him. But none of us knew that at the time. And so, Steve goes over to Roger Ebert and we play the song and we'll all thinking, "Oh, boy. He's never going to get this." And Roger turns to his wife and, of course, she gets the answer right away. And Steve turned it into a really funny bit. So that to me was an example of how, you know, pure luck, and sort of, I guess, good karma would be the best way to describe it. Things almost always worked for us on the Image Awards.$$Okay.

Maxine Powell

Motown talent agent Maxine Powell was born in Texarkana, Texas, and raised in Chicago, Illinois, by her aunt, Mary James Lloyd, who taught etiquette and refinement. Powell attended Keith and Willard elementary schools. Before Powell graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1933, her aunt passed away. Powell attended Madame C.J. Walker’s School of Beauty Culture and worked as a manicurist to finance her acting studies; for eight years, she studied elocution with James Baron, playwright, producer, and director of the Negro Drama League. Powell also took dance and movement lessons from Chicago legend, Sammy Dyer.

Soon, Powell developed a one-woman show called An Evening with Maxine Powell complete with pantomime and skits and performed with the first African American group to perform at the Chicago Theatre. At the same time, Powell taught etiquette as a personal maid to wealthy clientele and held fashion shows featuring the Fashionettes.

After reading a magazine article about John White’s nine-story, 200 room Gotham Hotel, Powell visited Detroit for eleven days in 1945; soon after she moved to Detroit and was teaching self-improvement and modeling classes. In 1951, Powell established the Maxine Powell Finishing and Modeling School. In 1953, Powell bought and remodeled a huge house on Ferry Street which became the largest banquet facility in Detroit for African Americans. As a member of the Zonta Club, Powell brought black productions and artists to Detroit venues; as head of her own agency, she was the first to place black models with several of Detroit’s automobile companies and in mainstream print ads. In 1964, Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister, Gwen Gordy Fuqua, a top Powell model, convinced Gordy to establish a Powell finishing school for Motown talent. Powell taught Marvin Gaye posture and how to sing with his eyes open. Diana Ross, The Temptations, and Martha Reeves acknowledge Powell as the one who taught them how to enter a room and work with their fans.

From 1971 to 1985, Powell taught personal development at Wayne County Community College. After 1985, Powell began working as a consultant on an individual basis.

Maxine Powell passed away on October 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2005.024

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/21/2005

Last Name

Powell

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Hyde Park Academy High School

Keith School

Frances E. Willard Elementary School

First Name

Maxine

Birth City, State, Country

Texarkana

HM ID

POW04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

London, England

Favorite Quote

Beauty Is Self-Discipline.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

5/30/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Death Date

10/14/2013

Short Description

Etiquette director and talent agent Maxine Powell (1915 - 2013 ) was the etiquette director for Motown Records where she taught posture and other etiquette techniques to Motown recording artists, including Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross. In addition to her activities with Motown, Powell founded the Maxine Powell Finishing and Modeling School in Detroit.

Favorite Color

Coral

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maxine Powell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maxine Powell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maxine Powell describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maxine Powell describes the aunt who raised her, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maxine Powell talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maxine Powell remembers her aunt's stern discipline

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maxine Powell describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maxine Powell remembers her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maxine Powell describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maxine Powell recalls her childhood concerns about racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maxine Powell describes how her aspirations developed as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maxine Powell remembers how her aunt's influence taught her to deal with racism

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maxine Powell recalls a lesson from her aunt

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maxine Powell remembers the African American community of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maxine Powell describes responses to discrimination she saw in the African American community of her childhood and today

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maxine Powell locates the origins of the Maxine Powell System in her early concerns about racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maxine Powell remembers studying elocution with James Baron

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maxine Powell remembers a theatrical experience that helped her develop the Maxine Powell System

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maxine Powell remembers James Baron

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maxine Powell talks about her experiences as a performer in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maxine Powell remembers the neighborhood she moved to after her adoptive parents' deaths

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maxine Powell recalls working as a personal maid

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maxine Powell remembers how she responded to disrespect while working as a personal maid

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maxine Powell talks about the jobs she had prior to becoming a personal maid

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maxine Powell remembers her friends Lois Parham and Ruth Nemo

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maxine Powell recalls being adopted by Lois Parham and Ruth Nemo

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maxine Powell recalls being discouraged from joining the Women's Army Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maxine Powell recalls being discouraged from being a manicurist

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maxine Powell describes meeting Leila King at the Gotham Hotel in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maxine Powell remembers becoming a manicurist at the Gotham Hotel in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maxine Powell describes her guardians' opinion of her move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maxine Powell talks about class distinctions within the African American community of her youth

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maxine Powell describes her room at the Gotham Hotel in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maxine Powell talks about being entertainment director for Zonta International in Detroit, Michigan

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Maxine Powell describes her earliest childhood memory
Maxine Powell remembers a theatrical experience that helped her develop the Maxine Powell System
Transcript
Do have an earliest childhood memory?$$Yes. We went to church. My aunt [Mary James Lloyd] made wine. She made the grape juice for the church, and she made about four different types of wine. Excuse me. I remember they would be in barrels. And she was the great baker. Like, today you might serve someone that's visiting you food or a cocktail. And my aunt would serve you wine, and she baked a three-layer jelly cake, a three-layer coconut cake, a three-layer chocolate cake. So whenever you came to our home, you would get a glass of wine and also a piece of cake, whether you wanted it or not. She called that hospitality, anyone that came over our threshold. And then the minister--she served the--made the, as I said before, the grape juice for the church. And then the minister would come to our house several times to eat. And I hated to see him coming because my aunt--I loved the thigh of the chicken. And he would eat up--she would cook--she liked to go to the poultry and have the chicken killed so that they would be first, and she wanted them to be two and a half pounds after they were dressed. And she'd cook about three. And that minister would eat every one of those thighs. And I hated to see him coming (laughter). But my aunt, her teaching was, anyone that came over our threshold, no matter how they act or how rude they were or whatever, we had to treat them with due respect. And if we felt that they were people that you did not want to associate with or they were destructive in any way, then you didn't allow them in. But once they came in, you had to treat them with respect. Well, I found from that, I learned discipline.$$Okay.$$See, she was always teaching. I learned discipline.$So you mounted two one-woman shows. Can you think of the name of any, of either one?$$Well, it was just 'An Evening with Maxine Powell.'$$Okay, good. Okay--$$Yeah, and then I--and if I pantomimed I was telling a story. I was--I had a job where I worked in an office somewhere. But I had a little girl--I guess it was a little girl. And when I came home in the evening, I would greet her. Well, all this is--I'm pantomiming. And I would greet her and then this one particular evening, I--she evidently was sick, and I came and picked her up and kissed her and was throwing her up in the air and playing with her and whatnot, and all of a sudden, I could see something was wrong with her. And then I began to get very concerned and call 911 or call somebody--I don't know it was the 911, but whatever you did in that day for an emergency or whatnot. And I know I was performing for a group. And they went and got a doll, you see, and tried to hand it to me, and I wouldn't take it, because I wouldn't be doing my job if you couldn't follow me. I wouldn't have to have a doll, 'cause then you would know it was a baby or whatever, you see. So I always wanted to do what I was supposed to do and master it. And I didn't feel bad if I didn't master it. I figured it'd do something else, you know, because I figured I think everybody is qualified and everybody is--can be great. We're born to be great in some way. Some people--and everybody is somebody, see. Because I don't care how much money you have or what color you are or where you're from, everybody came into the world helpless and innocent--couldn't walk, couldn't talk, couldn't take care of your toilet where, toilet, or any kind of way, see, regardless of who you were.$$Now--$$See, and then I always thought that, as I said today, allow me to help you unmask and discover what a beautiful, unique human being you are, because is somebody and everybody was born to be great in some way.$$Okay.$$Some people live a lifetime and never find out who they are or who great they can be. You don't have to be number one, you can be two, three, or four, long as you're great in your field in whatever you do and you master it, not among your race, but around the world with anybody. That's what I teach today.