Posts tagged race
“ …the older black women, they kinda just write me off…it’s important for you to look at the companies…I’ve done business with and realize that every time I do a campaign and it’s…successful…we show mainstream America that black women can sell a product and that black women are influential and that we can have our own people support something that we support…that’s what I want black women to understand. I’m not asking you to love everything I do. But I’m asking you to keep it real with yourself and really see exactly what I have been doing. It’s very important that they realize these things weren’t really being done like this before Nicki Minaj.”
…I was struck by the modernity that jazz anticipated and directed, and by its unreasonable optimism. Whatever the truth or consequences of individual entanglements and the racial landscape, the music insisted that the past might haunt us, but it would not entrap us. It demanded a future…
from her “foreword” of the novel “Jazz”
by Toni Morrison
…the group was extremely upset that we were launching the first single at Urban Radio! They thought this was a racial slight and that we were, as a company, treating them like second-class citizens. Why wouldn’t we just take the single directly to Top 40 radio? They grew up listening to the BBC, where radio formats weren’t segregated as they are here…They needed to know that commercial radio and its demographic fragmentation was a condition of the advertising industry in the States and not some arbitrary caste system that we supported.
“ …in those days, they did not put our pictures on the albums in the South. So the kids down there had no idea we were black. And they loved our music. So there was a demand for us to come there. And we opened the doors.”
Beverly Lee of the Shirelles
…the record companies realized the unmined riches to be found in targeting a Black listening audience and the race music industry was born. At its zenith, race music was a hugely profitable venture, selling upwards of 100 million records each year. For the most part, White recording companies (such as Okeh, Columbia, and Paramount) dominated the race recordings, but there were a few—if short-lived—Black-owned record companies…
Luther Dixon…was responsible for dozens of pop classics in the 1950s and 60s and helped shape the classic “girl group” sound with the Shirelles. His songs were performed by artists including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Dusty Springfield, BB King and the Jackson 5…n 1959 Dixon was hired as a producer and arranger by Florence Greenberg, who was intent on establishing Scepter among the many small labels specialising in black pop music. His status on the New York scene meant he was able to obtain part-ownership of Scepter and complete freedom to sign and produce artists. Greenberg paired him initially with a quartet of teenage girls called the Shirelles who attended high school with her daughter.
more on Luther Dixon from his 2009 obituary.
art: Dixon (left), Greenburg, and Marvin Schlacter, with Chuck Jackson
‘…after becoming a national symbol overnight, people dismissed me because of the color of my skin. My mom has a red box where she kept the death threats, and the FBI was well aware of it. There are crazy, sick people in the world and you can be a target for the way that you look and what you represent.’