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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

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

Howard University

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.