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Larkin Arnold

Entertainment lawyer, music executive and talent management chief executive Larkin Arnold, Jr. was born on September 3, 1942, in Kansas City, Missouri to Larkin and Annie Arnold. When Arnold was in elementary school, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, for his mother's health. In Kansas City and Phoenix, Arnold attended Catholic schools. He received his B.S. degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1966, and graduated from Howard University Law School in 1969.

In 1970, Arnold became one of the first African Americans to be hired as an attorney by a major record label when he joined Capital Records. Four years later, he was promoted to vice president of Capitol Records, creating and heading the company's Black Music Division. In 1975, Arnold signed Natalie Cole to Capitol Records and, in 1977, he served as the executive producer for Caldera’s record Sky Island. That same year, he signed Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, the former backup band for Marvin Gaye. In 1978, Arnold left Capitol Records for Arista Records. As senior vice president, Arnold ran the West Coast office and was in charge of bringing in new artists and products. Arnold held this position until he was hired in 1980 by CBS/SONY Music as senior vice president. There, he spearheaded the marketing and promotion of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album that sold over twenty-five million units worldwide. Arnold also represented Teena Marie, Luther Vandross, Surface, Peabo Bryson and The Reflections. In 1988, Arnold founded Arnold & Associates, one of the few wholly integrated legal and management teams in the record industry.

Arnold co-founded the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, serving as its chairman for eight years. He has served on the boards of the Los Angeles Board of Governors of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Executive Committee of XI Boule Fraternity, the United Negro College Fund Ladders of Hope Program, and the Los Angeles Zoo Commission. Arnold has received numerous honors and awards including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Executive of the Year Award, Outstanding Graduate Award of Howard University School of Law, the Distinguished Graduate Award of Howard University, the Congressional Black Caucus Outstanding Citizen Award, the Langston Bar Association Lawyer of the Year Award, the NATRA Award for Record Executive of the Year, Pollstar Award for R&B Manager of the Year, the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Award for Outstanding Community Leadership and a 100 Black Men Honor.

Arnold is married to Cynthia Arnold and is the father of two children.

Larkin Arnold was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 10, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/10/2007

Last Name

Arnold

Marital Status

Married

Schools

St. Monica's Catholic School

St. Mary's Catholic High School

American University

Howard University School of Law

First Name

Larkin

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

ARN02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

Life Is Tough, But I Am Tougher.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/3/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Talent management chief executive, entertainment lawyer, and music executive Larkin Arnold (1942 - ) started his own legal and management firm, Arnold & Associates. He was senior vice president for Arista Records and CBS/Sony Music, where he marketed and promoted Michael Jackson's album, "Thriller."

Employment

Capitol Records, Inc.

Arista Law

CBS

Arnold & Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larkin Arnold's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold remembers his community in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold recalls his community in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold talks about his move to Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larkin Arnold remembers his mother's illness

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Larkin Arnold describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Larkin Arnold recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold remembers studying math and physics

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold recalls the mentorship of Percy Lavon Julian

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold remembers his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls his first impressions of Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold recalls his civil rights activism at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls his involvement in SNCC

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold remembers losing his scholarship to Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold recalls being hired by Senator Stuart Symington

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold remembers working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold describes his experiences as a U.S. Capitol Police officer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls attending the American University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold recalls his challenges as a U.S. Capitol Police officer

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls his decision to pursue a law career

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold remembers his mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold recalls his admission to the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold remembers the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold recalls his decision to become an entertainment lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls his struggle to find work in the entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold recalls being hired by Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold describes his position at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls his start at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold describes his work at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls his advocacy for black artists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold recalls being offered a position at Motown Records

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold recalls conducting market research for Capitol Records, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold recalls conducting market research for Capitol Records, LLC, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls his transition to management at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold remembers signing artists to Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold recalls signing Natalie Cole to Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls the success of his marketing initiative

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold remembers the black artists at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold talks about his marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold recalls his decision to leave Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold recalls his experience at Arista Records

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Larkin Arnold remembers his decision to leave Arista Records

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold describes his role as senior vice president of CBS/Sony Records Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold talks about the Columbia Records and Epic Records labels

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold talks about the jazz division of Columbia Records

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold talks about the racial discrimination in the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold remembers signing Michael Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold describes his career at CBS/Sony Records Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold describes his career at CBS/Sony Records Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' album

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold reflects upon his success at CBS/Sony Records Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold recalls founding the law firm of Arnold and Associates

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold describes his hopes and concerns for the African American music industry

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold describes his advice for young business executives

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold reflects upon his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$6

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Larkin Arnold describes his career at CBS/Sony Records Inc., pt. 2
Larkin Arnold recalls Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' album
Transcript
So you got Michael [Michael Jackson] and you have, you have Marvin [Marvin Gaye] now.$$Right.$$Okay.$$And Luther [Luther Vandross], right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And Luther, you, you got three black male artists--$$Um-hm.$$--all different.$$Right.$$So what's your next plan of action?$$Well you know I mean my, my main (laughter) problem was basically you know Quincy [HistoryMaker Quincy Jones] and, and Michael basically took care of the whole recording process on that. I, I, you know I had little and no involvement you know just to go by and see that you know progress was being made you know. And that the bills were being paid and you know and everything was done, but you know I didn't have to really do anything. Quincy bas-, basically shepherded that whole project from beginning to end so.$$Now, how about Luther and Marvin (laughter).$$Well Luther you know Luther, I'm, I'm, I'm going over his material I'm picking you know the songs out of his repertoire you know. And, and I'm, I'm overseeing that, that that whole project. Marvin, and but, but Luther is pretty dependable you know, we go in we; you know he comes in he plays me some, some demos you know. I pick the ones that I want, you know, he goes in the studio and records it you know and, and now I just oversee the marketing promotion of that you know. Marvin in the meanwhile, is like I don't know you know, progress is not being made. And you know money is being spent you know, he, he's not you know recording you know 'cause he's you know having marital difficulties you know. So you know I'm flying back over to Belgium and we have a number of little conflicts. I'm saying, "Marvin you know you got to get this done, my ass is on the line you know," I had a battle, so you know. So that's just, and then Natalie [Natalie Cole] comes over you know and she, she's, she's disenchanted with Capitol [Capitol Records], so she comes and so I'm dealing with that. Not to mention all the other acts that I was you know dealing with that were already on the, Earth, Wind and Fire and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) [HistoryMaker] Dianne Reeves was she coming over--$$No, not when I was there, no.$$Okay.$$You know, Deniece [Deniece Williams], you know.$$Um-hm.$$The Emotions, you know, all the other acts that were, that I kept you know trying to get them to go and, and keep it moving you know.$$Teena Marie, was she ever there?$$Not yet, you know (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$So Michael [Michael Jackson] and Quincy [HistoryMaker Quincy Jones] bring you 'Thriller'?$$Right.$$And you listen to it?$$Right.$$"Billie Jean" is on there--$$Right.$$"Billie Jean" is on there, "Thriller" is on there.$$Right, "Beat It" is on there (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) "Beat It" is on there, what do you think?$$Huh?$$Yeah he had "P.Y.T." ["P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$So what do you think about this when you hear this music for the first time?$$Well first time I heard it, it wasn't mixed properly so I was like you know little dis, disappointed. But I been there enough during the recording sessions to know but, but I, I had violated one of the company's [CBS/Sony Records Inc.] rules. That is that you don't release a single until you have the completely finished product and in hand. But in order to make the, the time schedule 'cause Christmas release, I had to take a chance and go ahead and, and release it you know. And I had an argument with you know, well not argument, discussion with their managers to which, which record should come out first you know. They wanted "Beat It" you know, I, I definitely wanted "Billie Jean," you know, so I was in position. So I was able to get "Billie Jean," 'cause you know I, I'd listen to some of the other material that that Michael had done and that The Jacksons had done. And they didn't seem like they, the company or the people had released the right singles you know. Like on that 'Triumph,' the song, you know, I think that song "Heartbreak Hotel" ["This Place Hotel"] was, was, was the classic song. But they wouldn't release it as a single, so.$$Right.$$So anyway I persuaded the management to allow me to make that as the second single, the first single we went out was "The Girl is Mine."$$Um-hm.$$You know because you know, by this time you still had all this you know musical and political and racial unrest you know with taken place you know in the country. The white pop, the pop stations, the white stations stopped playing black music, stop playing disco music you know. Remember they had the, the burning of the records, disco records?$$Oh right.$$In Chicago [Illinois], Comiskey field [Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois] and running them over with you know 'cause you know they were concerned about you know women and the whites coming you know. And blacks and so the male disc jockeys sort of rebelled.$$So there's a lot of tension.$$Yeah exactly you know busing was going on you know with the, you know.$$The Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] years (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, exactly.$$We're going into.$$Right, exactly.$$So, so--$$So they released "The Girl Is Mine," 'cause it has Paul McCartney you know to get on the pop play you know and so you know. That works to, to a degree to get some situation. But 'cause to show you that the, the problem that we have you know, when I finally did get Michael, I mean Marvin's [Marvin Gaye] album released you know, and you know we released "Sexual Healing" they, the company you know wouldn't cross the record over to the pop stations you know. They, they refused to take it to pop stations, they said the record was too black you know, it's too dirty or whatever you know. So I, you know we, I had lot of disagreements with, with some of the other management in the pop side you know with regards to Marvin. But, but the record was so strong, they couldn't stop the record.$$Right.$$I mean it's just you know, it crossed over by itself you know, people calling, banning the record and everything so.$$So you got it rolling now, you got Marvin's out, he finally got the record to you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$'Thriller's' out and it's taken off.$$Right.$$It, it's, it's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And Luther's [Luther Vandross] becoming the male balladeer of all time.

Lessly "Count" Fisher

Band leader, nightclub owner, and police chief Lessly “Count” Fisher was born on August 19, 1923 in Canton, Mississippi to Ruby Mosby Fisher and future steelworker Seaser Fisher. Fisher was given the nickname of “Count” by Count Basie. He grew up in the New Edition section of East Chicago, Indiana and attended Calumet Elementary School, Garfield Elementary School, and Columbus School, Fisher graduated from Washington High School in 1941. An accident in the steel mill inspired him to join his cousin, Wallace Hayes playing drums for the Nightsteppers. Fisher, along with childhood friend Jack McDuff, learned to read music from Jesse Evans while working as driver and bodyguard for entertainment businessman, Jake Brennan.

Touring the Midwest, Fisher’s band also included Schoolboy Porter, Johnny Mott, Bill Lane and Aretta Lamar. In 1951, he met and toured several cities with singer Eve Rene. Later reunited with Rene, they played Indianapolis’ Joy Lounge and the Hubbub. Fisher married Eve Rene and established the Carousel Club in the late 1950s. Over the years, they featured The Hampton Family, Rodney Dangerfield, June Christie, Leroy Vinegar, Freddie Hubbard, George Kirby, Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, John Coltrane and James Brown. The Fishers also participated in muscular dystrophy telethons with Lorne Greene. From 1963 to 1965, the couple operated the Chateau de Count et Eve near the Indiana State Capitol. There, they showcased Roy Hamilton, Lula Reed and Motown acts along with many other names.

In 1966, Fisher and Eve Rene moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and performed at the London House as the house band. Eventually, Fisher moved away from show business and took a job as Sheriff’s Deputy for Kent County, Michigan. He was also Idlewild, Michigan’s first chief of police. Fisher and wife, Eve, a retired civil servant, lived in Grand Rapids. Their son, Rodney, is a musician who once portrayed Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk with George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic.

Lessly "Count" Fisher was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2007.

Fisher passed away on November 22, 2015.

Accession Number

A2007.082

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/10/2007

Last Name

Fisher

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Count

Schools

Washington High School

Calumet Elementary School

Garfield Elementary School

Columbus School

First Name

Lessley

Birth City, State, Country

Canton

HM ID

FIS01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hammond, Indiana, Austin, Texas

Favorite Quote

Let There Be Light, And There Was Light.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

8/19/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Grand Rapids

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

11/22/2015

Short Description

Nightclub owner, police chief, and bandleader Lessly "Count" Fisher (1923 - 2015 ) owned The Carousel Club nightclub where such acts as Redd Foxx, Rodney Dangerfield, and John Coltrane performed.

Employment

Carousel Club

Chateau de Conte et Eve

Kent County (Mich.)

Idlewild Police Department

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lessly "Count" Fisher's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lessly "Count" Fisher lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes the racial discrimination in Canton, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his father's escape from Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his father's move to Calumet, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers working at the Inland Steel Company

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes the New Addition gang in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls the radio programs of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers Joe Louis and Jack Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes the influence of his teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers graduating from Washington High School in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls his experiences in fights

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers wrestling at Washington High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers his early musical career

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers working for Jake Brenneman

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers performing in nightclubs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls being hired by Jake Brenneman

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his early career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers his fellow musicians

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lessly "Count" Fisher talks about touring as a musician

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lessly "Count" Fisher talks about contemporary music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his income as a musician

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls how he met his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls purchasing a nightclub in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers the entertainment at his nightclub

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers his nightclub's patrons

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers the rules at his nightclub

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers hiring John Coltrane and Elvin Jones

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls being cheated by a bartender

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers selling the Chateau de Count et Eve nightclub

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers joining the police department

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls his business ventures in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls becoming the chief of police in Lake County, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lessly "Count" Fisher recalls his career as the chief of police in Idlewild, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lessly "Count" Fisher reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lessly "Count" Fisher reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers raising his children

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lessly "Count" Fisher describes his hopes for the world

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lessly "Count" Fisher narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Lessly "Count" Fisher talks about contemporary music
Lessly "Count" Fisher remembers joining the police department
Transcript
Now did you have a chance to cut any records or anything?$$No. I had a chance but I didn't cut 'em.$$Okay. Why not?$$I don't--crazy. Just like my wife [HistoryMaker Lois Fisher] should've been cut. If she had've been cut, she'd been on top right now. You ought to hear her, she's tough. She's one of the finest singers in the country right now. Well, right now she is the finest, 'cause all these little funky singers that thinking they singers, and I hope you print this, all them people that think they are musicians ain't nothing today. They can't read, they can't sang, they talk, they rap, they talk bull, they make--they talk the wrong sentences, they say the nastiest things on records today. They ain't got no voice, they holler. And how they make that much money I don't know. And you can quote Count Fisher [HistoryMaker Lessly "Count" Fisher] for saying that.$$Well, now, okay. Well--$$And if they don't like it, come see me.$I know you did some, did some music gigs around here [Grand Rapids, Michigan] as well, but you ended up joining the police department. How did that happen?$$Was working--$$Was it a sheriff's department (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Sheriff's department.$$Sherriff's department.$$I was working in--I don't know--downtown, was working one of the clubs and the boss of the friend of the court frequented the place I worked. He was a singer and he liked what we was playing, and he asked me one night to let him sing. I said, "Come on, you know." I let anybody, you know, if you can do it. He sang, and he sang pretty good. So he started coming in and started to singing and he liked to sing. He started coming one night and then he coming two nights, then he started to coming in three nights a week. So one night, walked up to me and was talking, and he said, "How'd you like to be policeman?" And I laughed at-"What the hell you talking 'bout?" What's his name--Bill Rowe [ph.]. I said, "What you talking 'bout, Bill?" He said, "How you--I think you'd make a good cop." I said, "Man, you got to be silly." He said, "Well, you think about it." He started to singing, you know. So, a couple more nights he come back, he said, "Count Fisher [HistoryMaker Lessly "Count" Fisher]," he said, "I'd like for you to be one of my deputies." I said, "What you mean one of your deputies?" (Laughter) And he told me who he was. "Oh, man, you kidding?" I said, "Well, let me talk to my wife [HistoryMaker Lois Fisher]," I'm kidding. So I went and talked to her. She say, "Well, baby, you working three or four nights a week, and it wouldn't hurt if he let you, you know, play music. See, we need the money." I said, "Hey, I never thought about it but all right." She said, "You like to fight." She said, "You know." I say, "Yeah, okay." So I talked to him. He said, "Well, you be in my office tomorrow morning." No, no, take that back. He said, "When you get off I'll wait for you. I wanna show you something." I said okay. So me and my wife we went--he took us downtown, took us upstairs to his office and he said, "This is my office." He said, "You'll be working right there." I said, "What will I be doing?" He said, "Well, it's according if you pass my test--pass the test."$$Exam, yeah.$$I said, okay. So, well, you know, I love challenges I told you that. So, I said, "Okay, I'll be down here tomorrow." I went down there and took the test. The man called and told him so he called me. No, he come by the club. He said, "Damn," he said, "look at your score." He said, "You got a scholastical average that kind of score?" "I don't know." He said, "You can be a detective out there." "I don't know 'bout that." He said, "Come to my office tomorrow." I said, "'Bout what time?" He said, "Be there at nine o'clock. Can you be there?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Can you get up that early?" I said, "Yeah." So I got up 'bout seven o'clock, took my bath, went downtown. He said, "You come to work? Come to get a job." No, he said, "You come to get a job?" I said, "Well, what you got?" He showed me the papers and things. And he said, "This how much you'll be making." I said, "Damn, that all?" I said, "What I got to do?" "You got to go out and get people, I'll put you with a partner for two weeks. If your partner say you make it, you'll be on your own and you'll get a raise." I say, "Okay, we'll try it." "Here's your badge." I said, "Already?" He said, "Here's your badge, here's your permit, gun permit." I said, "I carry a gun?" He say, "Yeah, you go to the shooting range tomorrow." He say, "I'll have Pat [ph.]," which was my partner, he's going now too. He say, "I'll have Pat take you out on the shooting range." I say, "All right." And I was, you know, I was playing with it. Hell, then I got to liking the thing, man. And after two week I went by myself. There it is.$$What kind of experiences did you have as a sheriff's deputy here?$$None.$$No?$$No, I was a musician.$$Okay.$$(Laughter) I didn't have no kind of experience. That's what--everybody laughed at when I call the boys back home, they call me a liar. When I call my boys, when I call back home and told 'em I'm a police, a deputy sheriff, they--"You lie. How in the hell you got to be a deputy as much as you fight?" You know. But I was a deputy. I stayed with them, I don't know how--'til I retired I guess.

Dina Ruth Andrews

President and General Manager Dina Ruth Andrews of Dina Andrews Management (DAM), Inc. has provided personal management and consulting services to several top ten artistic talents in the music production industry since 1983. Andrews founded Knew Beginnings Entertainment (KBE), a sister company, in 1995 to target the urban inspirational, contemporary Gospel and Christian music markets.

Andrews, a California native, is one of three children born to Mrs. Vera Jackson Andrews of Senatobia, Mississippi. She graduated from William Workman High School in the City of Industry, California in 1975 and attended California State University in Fullerton, California, where she majored in business administration with a minor in communications. In 1978, Andrews was hired at Solar Records/Dick Griffey Productions as an administrative assistant. She became a manager and served in several positions in the company; as the company’s music production manager, A & R director, sales coordinator, publishing administrator and international liaison, until, she was dismissed in 1983 and informed that she should pursue her entrepreneurial skills. Andrews was pursued by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the music production duo behind such talents as Janet Jackson. She helped to manage their careers and assisted them in establishing the multi-million dollar production company, Flyte Tyme Productions.
Andrews, then, worked with executive producer Suzanne dePasse & Burl Hechtman with the production of the television show, Nightlife at Motown Productions in Hollywood, California from 1985 to 1987. She joined Cole Classic Management as an associate manager from 1988 to 1990, seeking recording, production and publishing deals for clients. Andrews was then commissioned to work as General Manager of the production company, Pebbletone, PT Entertainment from 1992 to 1993.
Under Dina Andrews Management, Inc., Andrews has worked with songwriters/producers Derek Bramble (David Bowie and Vanessa Williams), Alton “Wokie” Stewart (Stephanie Mills and Keith Sweat) and Alvin Speights (Madonna, Dallas Austin and Toni Braxton). From 1994 to 1998, she negotiated the production and publishing deals for Gospel songwriter/producer/recording artist, Percy Bady through Knew Beginnings Entertainment. In 2003, Andrews introduced two divisions of Knew Beginnings: Romans 8 28 4 Us Music Publishing and Knew Records, Inc.

Andrews is currently working on a film, Confidence or Love and two books. One book chronicles her life story, and the second is a practical look inside the music industry. She has been a voting member of NARAS-Grammy for twenty years, received numerous gold and platinum awards, is active in building Stand 4 Agape Youth Entertainment and serves on several of the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs Steering Committees.

Andrews resides in Atlanta with her grandmother, Biggie.

Accession Number

A2006.015

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/14/2006 |and| 2/21/2006

Last Name

Andrews

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ruth

Organizations
Schools

William Workman High School

Vermont Avenue Elementary School

Manchester Avenue Elementary School

Bret Harte Preparatory Middle School

Grandview Middle School

California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Los Angeles

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Dina

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

AND07

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, teens, women, music, churches, universities, colleges

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $1500-2500, Depending on Event
Preferred Audience: Youth, teens, women, music, churches, universities, colleges

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Ghana

Favorite Quote

God Is Faithful.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/28/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Green Olives

Short Description

Talent management chief executive Dina Ruth Andrews (1959 - ) is President and General Manager of Dina Andrews Management, Inc. and Knew Beginnings Entertainment. Among her notable clients are The Whispers, Lakeside, Shalamar, The Deele, L.A. & Babyface, Paul Jackson, Jr., Pic Conley of Surface, Howard Hewett, Derek Bramble, TLC, Percy Bady and Virtue.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:1300,23:5800,98:13540,197:21190,280:35841,397:36459,404:36974,411:43360,494:57234,640:58313,655:59060,665:61882,718:78365,951:81648,988:82385,1001:82720,1007:91078,1075:91488,1081:101984,1282:102394,1288:102804,1294:104280,1326:104772,1334:120960,1705:121260,1710:142388,1973:151506,2087:170026,2303:170530,2310:179306,2420:179898,2431:180268,2437:181896,2479:205828,2904:206476,2915:207916,2951:215890,3023:217046,3039:244662,3512:247930,3606:249450,3626:250742,3643:259582,3777:260065,3784:262411,3837:263377,3867:266965,3989:269863,4045:277268,4125:290418,4307:297594,4451:301458,4559:311972,4676:312629,4686:313943,4704:314527,4714:314819,4719:315257,4729:315914,4741:320367,4856:323141,4933:324455,4972:325769,5009:331610,5105$0,0:2100,101:20923,386:23695,438:29855,545:40886,774:67666,1163:70840,1260:78376,1331:78761,1337:102575,1671:103700,1715:105650,1756:106700,1774:122080,2008:128320,2145:141305,2325:172400,2940:201111,3456:224322,3816:232485,3897:244260,4163:262560,4432:263600,4481:272990,4603:273340,4609:278940,4732:287580,4895
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dina Ruth Andrews' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her stepfather and her biological father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her stepfather and her biological father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her stepfather's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her father's and stepfather's family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes having her aunt and great-aunt live with her instead of in a retirement home, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes having her aunt and great-aunt live with her instead of in a retirement home, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her community in California and the tragedy her family experienced in 1983

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes the murder of her Aunt Lisa in 1983 and taking responsibility for her aunt's children

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about raising her Aunt Lisa's daughters

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience in elementary school and where she lived as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews recalls the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes moving to Valinda, California during seventh grade

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her mother's blindness and moving to Valinda, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her early interest in music and joining SOLAR Records in 1983

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her social life at William Workman High School in City of Industry, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her career aspirations after graduating from William Workman High School in City of Industry, California in 1975

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about joining SOLAR Records

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes SOLAR Records founder Richard "Dick" Griffey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about leaving SOLAR Records in 1983

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes working with HistoryMaker James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III and Terry Lewis, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes working with HistoryMaker James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III and Terry Lewis, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about working with Leon Sylvers, III, Keith Washington, and Troy Johnson after losing her job at SONAR Records

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience working with Motown Productions on "Nightlife"

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about launching Dina Andrews Management, Inc. in 1985, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about launching Dina Andrews Management, Inc. in 1985, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about working for Cole Classic Management and getting a deal with Capitol Records

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience at P.T. Entertainment

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience working with songwriter/producer Percy Bady

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her role as a general manager in the music industry

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dina Ruth Andrews reflects on what she enjoys about her career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her experience with Motown Productions

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience working in the gospel music industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about looking for her purpose in the entertainment industry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes the three biggest challenges she has faced

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews reflects on the obstacles her great-aunt, Katheryn Johnson, overcame

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her marriage and divorce, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about her marriage and divorce, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Dina Ruth Andrews' interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes managing producer/songwriter Percy Bady in Oklahoma

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience living in New Mexico and returning to Valinda, California

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews reflects on what she learned from her marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews recalls moving back to California and her mother's passing in 1998

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about Knew Beginnings Entertainment and her career after her mother's death in 1998

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her career as a minister and her reentry into the music business

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her experience consulting for the music industry

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about moving back into her mother's house

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about returning to the music business

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about the founding of Knew Records

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her role as a manager in the music industry

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about other African American managers in the music industry

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes the difference between managing and consulting in the music industry

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about working with Clive Davis and Gerry Griffith

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about working with HistoryMaker James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III and Terry Lewis

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her current career with Knew Records

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes her plans for the book and film "Confidence or Love"

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about Knew Beginnings Entertainment and her desire for more socially conscious urban music, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dina Ruth Andrews talks about Knew Beginnings Entertainment and her desire for more socially conscious urban music, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dina Ruth Andrews shares her advice for people entering the music industry

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dina Ruth Andrews describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dina Ruth Andrews reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dina Ruth Andrews narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Dina Ruth Andrews describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
Dina Ruth Andrews describes working with HistoryMaker James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III and Terry Lewis, pt. 1
Transcript
Now, tell us about the community when you were small, right outside of Los Angeles [California]. What are some of the sights and sounds and smells of childhood that you can remember?$$Ooh, that's interesting. We had, we had, well, from everything that I knew as a child, we had like a great life. South Central [Los Angeles, California] was not what it is today, but it became. And one of the things that I remember as a child was the Watts riots [1965]. And you know, the thing that's so deep about that is after I moved to Atlanta [Georgia] the first time in '92 [1992], that was the second time they had a riot, Rodney King. And I wasn't totally relocated here. You know, I'd just come here and, you know, I think gotten into a hotel or something, I don't know. But I was on an airplane, and when we got--and we didn't know there were riots in L.A., because the riots hadn't broken out when we were on the--when we left Atlanta. And as we were flying over, the pilot began to tell us that there were riots going on. And you look out the airplane window, and the whole city is lit up--fires, you know. I mean it was, it was something.$$So you were flying at night?$$Right, flying at night, yeah. And it reminded me of, you know, I remembered when I was a kid, and the Watts riots broke out. And it was the same kind of thing, you know. But here it is. I'm, you know, flying over it---(simultaneous)$$(Simultaneous) And here it is again.$$--You know, and looking down. (Laughter). And we're trying to, you know, we're trying to, you know, get to the--$$Almost twenty years later.$$Yeah, yeah, twenty years later. And we're trying to get to where we got to go and, you know, got to take side streets and the rest of it. You know, and it was interesting, you know, but people--I don't know. I just, you know, I feel like, I feel like there are so many in--well, I want to say injustices in our society. But things are just so imbalanced, you know. And it's like nobody really cares, you know.$$So, tell us about what you were doing, and how the riots affected you. Like, just describe for us that period in your life.$$Well, you know, I really, I really can't say that they affected me. I mean I remember seeing, you know, people, you know, running around, looting and, you know, things like that. I mean I'm a kid. I don't, probably, I don't know--I don't even know if I was--I don't know, six years old, seven years old, or something like that. So, I just saw all of this stuff going on around me. The thing that probably affected me most, as far as poverty and being in the inner-city was concerned, was that my mother [Vera Olivia Jackson Andrews] worked for the post office. And I mean I remember as a kid, my brother and I used to help her when she was studying. Because they had to learn zip codes, they had to learn--$$They called those schemes, didn't they.$$Right, cities and states and all those things. And I remember, you know, as a child, probably like, you know, seven or eight years old, nine years old--my older brother Marcus--Arthur-Arthur [Casperson] wasn't quite thought of yet. But we would help our mom study, you know, for her test. And then she went legally blind, and she couldn't work anymore. And so, she ended up going on welfare. And so we, you know, and I remember--as far as the whole poverty thing--is going to the store with food stamps was the thing that changed my life. (Laughter). And, you know, I have to be honest because, you know, my grandmother [her great-aunt, Katheryn Johnson] worked. She graduated from college, she was a schoolteacher. She retired from Los Angeles County [California]. You know, my mother had worked previously, and then she couldn't work anymore. And you know, there was Social Security and welfare. And so, we were, you know, we were in that group, you know, where I had to go to the store with food stamps. So I was like, you know, I'm, you know, I'm--$$You were determined that that wouldn't last for a long time.$$That wasn't, yeah, that wasn't going to me. You know, that wasn't going to be me. And so I think that is one of the things that has, that has pushed me. It's like from my father [her stepfather, Eugene Ellis Andrews], the abandonment. You know, because you're constantly doing things to try to, to try to be accepted, you know what I mean. It's like you don't know, you know. But subconsciously, you know, you're doing something. You know, you're trying, you want to do something to be accepted. And for me, I just, I worked hard. I mean, you know, I did well in school. I think in second grade I was skipped a half grade. Then I never--I graduated from junior--as a junior in high school, I never went, never went to the twelfth grade, you know. (Laughter). And, and, it was like--and then, you know, there was this thing, you know; I wanted to get out the house, you know. You know, because girls and their mothers, you know, you start, you know--$$After a period of time you do start to kind of get on each other's nerves.$$(Simultaneous) Right. Right. Right--$So, you gave up your apartment and moved in with your grandmother [her great-aunt, Katheryn Johnson] after--$$Well, no. Actually what happened, Jimmy [HM James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III] and Terry [Lewis] lived with me. And this is, this is, the people, people, people really don't know what goes down in the music business, okay, as far as helping people to become who they are. It's like those of us who are behind the scenes that are working to make deals to put roofs over people's heads--to put food in their bellies and, you know, all of those kinds of things. It's like, nobody really gets that. You know, all they get is, "Ooh, they're a star." "Ooh, they wrote this song." "Ooh, they produced that." "Ooh, they're this or that." But you know what? You know what goes on to make that happen? There's so many dynamics, you know, with it. And so, Prince had kicked them out, and they were on the road. (Laughter).$$And what all did they do--$$Well, they were--$$--when they were with Prince?$$Well, they were, they were members of The Time. Terry played bass; Jimmy played keys; and they also wrote, you know, and produced. And, you know, they were a hot group, you know. I mean, and The Time is still, you know, is still playing and doing gigs now. And Jimmy and Terry, I guess their biggest success has been Janet Jackson, writing and producing for Janet Jackson. Early on when I was representing them, it was Klymaxx, S.O.S. Band, Change, Alexander O'Neal, Charrelle--gosh, just, you know, projects, you know, projects. But they got, they got--Prince, you know, kicked them off the tour. And you know, I get a call. And I've got to drive from West Hollywood [Los Angeles, California] to Long Beach [California] to pick them up, which is probably forty miles, and you know, pick them up. And they ended up staying in my one-bedroom apartment with me. I had a pull-out sofa in the living room and a queen-sized bed in the bedroom. And you know, I mean, we were like brothers and sisters. There was no, you know, no funny business going on.$$How old were they at this time?$$Ooh, gosh, let me see. We were, we were like 23, 24.$$You all were about the same age.$$Yeah, we were all around the same age. And, you know, but I had, you know, I was successful, you know, as far as the business, and connecting, you know, with other record companies and A and R [Artists and repertoire] people, and getting projects and that kind of thing. So, I would, you know, I would--and the office, Griffey's [Richard "Dick" Griffey's] office, was around the corner. So, either I would have Terry to drop me off at work in my car, and leave my car for them to drive to the meetings that I had set up. Or, I would walk to work and have them pick me up later, you know. And Jimmy slept on one side of my bed, you know, and Terry slept, you know, on the pull-out sofa. And you know, we just made it happen. And then after, after I got fired [from SOLAR Records, also known as Sound of Los Angeles Records in 1983], Terry, you know, Terry is the--you know, he's the business guy. You know, he's like, "Well, Dina, you know, why don't we get a larger apartment? We can all live together." So, he moved me from West Hollywood over to the hood, (laughter) in a three-bedroom apartment that was affordable. And you know, we continued, you know, doing it the way we were doing it. I had my room; Jimmy had his room with his keys in it, and Terry had his room with his bass in it. And the kitchen area was my office. (Laughter). And oh, we had, we had a ball. I mean we had meetings, we had everybody. I mean, we had folks coming over. I mean we gave Jimmy a surprise birthday party, and we had all of Hollywood, you know, over. (Laughter).$$So, about how much were you all pulling in then?$$I think, man, for a week, I think they may have been getting about fifteen hundred dollars a song to produce, as a producer's fee. And then the record company paid for the expenses. So, you know, we got three songs. You know, it was, you know, well, maybe five thousand dollars or something. (Laughter). You know what I mean? But I mean I was like, you know, we were doing good, you know. And then, you know, and then things started moving into, you know, the all-in, you know, funds and that whole bit, where you can, you know, ask for a lot more money. And then, too, I remember Clive Davis flew us into New York [New York City, New York] to meet with him, because, you know, he wanted to do business with the guys early on. There was a gentleman, Gerry Griffith, that was over black music. And so, Gerry and I, you know, were friends and were business associates. And he introduced, you know, it was his introduction to Clive Davis. And--$$Well, we need for you to tell us a little about Clive Davis. But hold on one second. We're going to change tapes now.$$Okay.

Dyana Williams

Dyana Williams, producer, artist development coach, former DJ, and founder of the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM), grew up in New York City. Williams’s mother, Nancy Williams Newman, was Puerto Rican, and her father, George G. Williams, was from Virginia. Williams attended P.S. 78 in the Bronx until she was 10 years old; she then moved to Puerto Rico where she attended Santa Rita Elementary School in Bayamon. Returning to the United States, Williams attended junior high school at Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School #143 in Harlem. An outstanding flute player at Washington Irving High School, Williams performed with Jimmy Heath and Hubert Laws. After graduating in 1971, Williams enrolled in the City College of New York where she became a DJ for the college radio station, WCCR.

By 1973, Williams had joined the staff of Howard University radio WHUR-FM. There, under the guidance of Bob “Nighthawk” Terry and John Paul Simpkins, Williams’s Ebony Moonbeams show attracted a strong following. In 1975, legendary DJ Frankie Crocker brought Williams to New York City’s WBLS radio; in 1976, she returned to Washington, D.C., where she became the first African American woman rock DJ at WRQX-FM. Williams worked as program director at WMMJ radio and as the host of television’s P.M. Magazine. After moving to Philadelphia in 1982, Williams established a show called Love on the Menu for WDAS radio. Williams also reported for Black Entertainment Television (BET), and worked as music consultant for The Soul of VH1. Closely associated with The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) and Philadelphia jazz and soul artists such as Patti LaBelle, Art Tatum, and Teddy Pendergrass, Williams produced the PBS special, The Philadelphia Music Makers in 1990. As a writer, Williams contributed to The Philadelphia Tribune, Billboard Magazine, and The Philadelphia New Observer.

In 1990, Williams and Sheila Eldridge launched the Association of African American Music (IAAAM) to promote and preserve black music. Williams co-wrote the House Concurrent Bill 509, which recognized African American accomplishments in music and helped establish Black Music Month. In 1997 Williams earned her B.A. degree in television, radio, and film from Temple University. Williams formed Creative Consultants for Soul Solidarity in partnership with Eldridge. In 2006 Williams received the Achievement in Radio Award for Best Weekend Show in Philadelphia. Williams was formerly married to music producer and activist Kenny Gamble; their union produced three children.

Dyana Willams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/8/2005

Last Name

Williams

Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Washington Irving High School

Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School #143

P.S. 78

Santa Rita Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Dyana

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

WIL22

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $2000-5000
Preferred Audience: All

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Anything That The Mind Can Conceive And Believe, If You Truly Believe It, You Can Achieve It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

11/9/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Plantains

Short Description

Talent management chief executive, radio personality, and music producer Dyana Williams (1953 - ) was the first African American woman rock DJ at WRQX-FM in Washington, D.C., served as program director at WMMJ radio in Washington, D.C., and creator of the show, "Love on the Menu," for WDAS radio in Philadelphia. Aside from her on-air presence, Williams co-launched the Association of African American Music, and co-wrote the House Concurrent Bill 509, which recognized African American accomplishments in music and helped establish Black Music Month.

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
0,0:10226,158:11430,180:14354,225:14956,233:23440,302:25240,308:25675,314:32896,438:33331,445:56032,731:63420,821$0,0:14052,258:17168,317:23000,347:26650,408:27015,414:45846,780:46420,787:51955,827:58639,939:75755,1169:86502,1393:99470,1549:101570,1604:108990,1728:109970,1747:125594,2001:130564,2036:130832,2041:142600,2226:146575,2307:147775,2331:148225,2338:153550,2441:160990,2513:163870,2560:179480,2807:201568,3215:206046,3247:235202,3740:248562,4004:262016,4161:290409,4536:291246,4547:327376,4921:332696,5080:354690,5573
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dyana Williams' interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Dyana Williams' interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams describes her mother, Nancy Neuman

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about her father, George Williams

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams describes being an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams talks about being independent and imaginative as an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about living in New York City and Puerto Rico as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about her African American and Puerto Rican heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about skin tone bias around the world

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about Arthur Schomburg and HistoryMaker Charles Blockson

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams describes her school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams talks about her cultural exposure while growing up in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Dyana Williams talks about attending Washington Irving High School in Manhattan, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about dating jazz flutist Hubert Laws

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about renowned flute players

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes being involved with the radio station at City College of New York in Harlem, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about her radio and television work while attending City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about being hired at WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes the programming of WHUR-FM

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about the people she met while working at WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about Miles Davis

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about meeting HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about meeting HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about her documentary called "Sound of Philadelphia"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes working at and leaving WBLS in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes leaving WBLS in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about raising her children and her radio work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes the HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble's connection to the black community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about working at WDAS in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about hosting "PM Magazine" on television

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about working at Magic 102.3 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about divorcing HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams talks about managing musician Gary Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams describes founding the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM)

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Dyana Williams talks about Black Music Month and the demise of the Black Music Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about co-writing House Concurrent Bill 509

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about being an ambassador for black music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes writing for magazines and newspapers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about being a VH1 reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about producing the PBS special, "Philadelphia Music Makers"

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes her decision to attend Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about producing the IAAAM Diamond Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams describes graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about her professors at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about her work in artist development and media coaching

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Maxine Powell

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams describes her work at Influence Entertainment

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about serving on an NEA review board

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about her love of art and serving on the board of the Paul Jones Collection at the University of Delaware

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams talks about receiving three Liberty Bell Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Gordon Parks

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about her future plans and the multiple homes she owns

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

14$1

DATitle
Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen
Dyana Williams talks about co-writing House Concurrent Bill 509
Transcript
Okay. Now, what, I have a note here about Vy Higginsen [HM]. Now, tell me about--$$Vy Higginsen was a prominent radio personality on WBLS-FM in New York, a station where Frankie Crocker, who was this charismatic radio star program director and on-air talent, was in charge. And Vy Higginsen was the first black woman that I heard on the radio in New York. And I was mesmerized, enchanted, totally engaged hearing her. She had a very sweet, honey, honeyed voice, and just such a sexy, warm style in her presentation. And I heard her and I was like, that's what I want to do. I kind of started tinkering with the idea. First, I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be a jazz musician. I wanted to be the first accomplished female on jazz, jazz flute, jazz flautist, but, boy, I lacked talent. I just wasn't good.$Yeah, we're talking--$$As I mentioned, IAAAM [International Association of African American Music] was a advocacy organization for black music. Sheila Eldridge and myself and our board of directors, which includes Cathy Hughes [HM] and some other prominent people, who are concerned and committed to black music and culture, we discovered, after writing President [Bill] Clinton that June was, in fact, not Black Music Month recognized by the White House. And we were like, no, no, wait, we presented all these papers from the BMA. President [Jimmy] Carter hosted this event. He said June is Black Music Month. And the folks at the White House said, we see all that, but he never signed a Presidential Proclamation, and there's nothing in the annals of the government of the United States recognizing it as such. So they suggested, they said, you know, you need to try to do something about that--get in touch with your congressman, your senator, and try to get some legislature enacted. Well, it sounded pretty simple, but I'd never done anything like that. So, here became where this was the beginning of my education about how legislature is enacted. And I contacted Congressman Chaka Fattah [HM] in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and explained the situation. I said, can you work with our organization? And then I reached out to Senator Arlen Specter, who is a Republican a little later, much later. But it was literally Congressman Fattah who championed our cause to establish legislature recognizing June as Black Music Month. Well, first, we call it the African American Music Bill that recognized the contributions of the African American Music industry as a multibillion dollar business, and one of America's exports around the world, and indigenous American music. What are the blues, jazz, hip hop, gospel? It started here. It came from the suffering and the joys and the tremendous experiences of people of color in the United States, and loved by many. You don't have to be black to love the blues. In fact, more white people seem to like the blues than black folks. If you go to concerts, you see more white people at jazz shows as well. So, we wanted to celebrate the music. I wrote the draft that became the actual language. They put the "Whereas" in Congressman Fattah's office, but I wrote the actual language celebrating--saying, why it was important to celebrate and recognize black music. Some years earlier, Congressman John Conyers [HM]from Michigan had written similar language regarding jazz, recognizing jazz as a national treasure. And that's been his--one of his causes that he has promoted during his tenure in Congress and the House. But I wrote the African American Music Bill. And when it first went up--oh, and it was a lobbying process. I had to go actually lobbying and get signatures, and encourage other congressman and women. I went to the Black Caucus and Latino Caucus. I went across the board--white congressman. I was on the Hill, on Capitol Hill. In fact, during that time, I met a women who would later become the head. She was like a page. Her name is Hilary Rosen. She was the head of the Record Industry Association of America. I would later work with her and do some projects.$$Now, I have a question in regard to that.$$Uh-hum.$$It's probably--was there any resistance to this bill?$$Yeah. Folks were literally like, why do you need it? What's, why, why do you have to say black music is great? You know, it's great. What, what, what? And I was like, well, we want it recognized by the American government. We want the President to recognize it. It deserves to be recognized by corporations. I felt that it would make it easier for us as an entity to raise money, to have across the board, recognition and respect. Why not? That was also part of my argument--why not? Why are you opposed to this? There are so many other pieces of legislature--quite frankly, many that are BS. Why can't we have one that says, this is indigenous American music. It should be recognized, celebrated--it should be studied. And that's what the bill says. But the first time out, they would not incorporate language--I said, "June is Black Music Month". So we had to go back to it later, and the bill number changed. Don't ask me what it is now. I've forgotten. But 509 was enacted and then later, Chaka added language that said, "June is Black Music Month".$$Okay.$$So, it was important. And now, guess what? June Black Music Month is celebrated by the President, President Clinton. President Bush has an annual event every year in the White House where they bring artists together of different genres and say, "June is Black Music Month". We need to study and celebrate. And it's probably what I'm most proud of. I think my parents are more proud of that than just about anything else that I've done because here I am, a little girl from the Bronx [New York City, New York] and Harlem, writing legislature that's been enacted in, in our government. I never thought I would do something like that, but it happened. And I was very proud to be a part of a movement. It was a movement. It was an effort. It took us a minute--take, make it happen. When I say a minute, I'm like black person's minute. It took us, you know, a couple of years. I wrote an editorial in "Billboard" magazine. I mean, I was champing and lobbying this cause hard. And the satisfaction of bringing it to fruition was tremendous, and a great education for myself and those of us in the IAAAM organization.