*(New York, NY) — In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, The Living Legends Foundation (LLF) has announced the music industry trailblazers they have selected to be recognized this year at the 17th Annual Living Legends Dinner Gala to be held on Thursday, February 24, 2011, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street in New York City.

The 2011 honorees include music entertainment icon Mathew Knowles, founder, President and CEO of Music World Entertainment; broadcast pioneer Russell Perry, President of Perry Broadcasting and Publishing, and radio veteran Skip Dillard, Operations Manager of WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM in New York City.

The event will feature special performances by music legend Freddie Jackson and Music World/Columbia recording artist Tiffany Evans. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, journal ads or tickets please contact event coordinator Mike Bernardo at 862.772.2663 or [email protected]

The Living Legends Foundation is a non-profit 501(C) (3) organization dedicated to preserving and honoring the work of the pioneers and trailblazers in the music industry, broadcasting and related fields. The annual dinner gala provides an opportunity to express appreciation to the people-past and present-who have contributed to the legacy of the black music industry.

The 2011 honoree Mathew Knowles heads one of the world’s leading music and entertainment conglomerates. Under his visionary leadership, the Houston-based company has experienced tremendous growth and extraordinary success over the past two decades. Its worldwide platforms include successful record label ventures, management services for recording artists and producers, endorsement deals and partnerships, artist development services, a master catalog series, film ventures, licensed merchandise products, community philanthropic work and investment and property holdings. Knowles is widely recognized in the entertainment industry for his effective approach to developing and promoting award-winning artists. Under his leadership and management, Destiny’s Child became a global phenomenon and the “most successful girl group” in the history of popular music. Knowles also has successfully launched and managed the solo careers of the members of Destiny’s Child: Beyoncé, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. He has established several successful recording labels under the Music World Entertainment umbrella, including Music World Music, which has had an unprecedented impact on music around the globe. It is home to Grammy® Award winning artists, legendary icons, top catalogue compilations and celebrated soundtracks. Through Music World Music, Knowles has created successful joint ventures with Sony Music, Interscope/Geffen and Fontana/Universal. Since its launch in 2002, Music World Gospel has been setting new standards in the industry. It features a roster of award-winning gospel recording artists as well as various CD/DVD compilations and special projects. Other MWE record labels include Music World Kids, and Music World Country/Compadre, which showcases outstanding original and catalogue recordings by top country stars.

A self-described “small town country boy,” Knowles grew up in Gadsden, Alabama. He is a 1974 graduate of Fisk University, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He was bestowed with the honor of Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater at the University’s 2008 Commencement Ceremony. Knowles holds a professorship at Texas Southern University, where he teaches a course on the entertainment industry in the School of Communications. He also has been a popular guest lecturer at various colleges and universities throughout the country. Before launching his career in the music industry, Knowles was a sales and marketing representative for Xerox, where he became the top sales executive worldwide. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, where he and his family have established the “Survivor Foundation” and are involved in several philanthropic and civic endeavors.

The 2011 Honoree Russell Perry is what one may consider the broadcast industry’s best kept secret. While most media moguls are always on the front page of the industry’s various publications, when you mention Russell Perry, many people outside of his home base of Oklahoma City may say,  “who?” However, when you review his many accomplishments and you get to know him, you discover what a visionary powerhouse he is. A native of Oklahoma City and alumnus of Maryland State College, Perry has moved smoothly from publishing to politics to finance to broadcasting. From March 1967 to March 1979, he was the Co-Publisher of the Black Dispatch. In April 1979, he became the Publisher and Editor of the Black Chronicle Paper, serving Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1993, Perry expanded his involvement in media by purchasing his hometown radio station KVSP. Today Perry Broadcasting has 18 stations of various formats in Oklahoma and Georgia. He served as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Economic Development and Special Affairs from 1999-2003, appointed by Gov. Frank Keating. He is a Stockholder and Consultant with the First Security Bank & Trust and in 2003 was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Board of the Kansas City Federal Reserve System. As a business executive, media pioneer and public servant, Perry is involved in numerous civic and professional activities and associations. He has been honored by being inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the American Urban Radio Network Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma City Public School Foundation Wall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Afro-American Hall of Fame of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Rounding out the list of the 2011 honorees is radio veteran Skip Dillard. He is the Operations Manager of WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM New York City. He was born in Queens, New York and raised in Greensboro North Carolina. Dillard got his start in radio while in high school through Yvonne Anderson, a friend of his mother, who trained students in radio broadcasting at North Carolina A&T State University’s WNAA-FM. While a student at Hampton University, Dillard found part-time on air work at the legendary WOWI-FM in Norfolk, VA. After graduation, Dillard began his radio career at WQMG/WJMH Greensboro as a DJ. He later worked at WYLD-FM New Orleans, where after just two years he was named Program Director in 1993. Over the years, Dillard has programmed for WMXD Detroit and Radio One’s Detroit Cluster, WBLK Buffalo, KBTB San Francisco and WPGC in Washington, DC. His skills as a program director were evident when at WYLD he helped transform that station from a struggling Urban Mainstream station to a consistent ratings winner with an Urban Adult format. Within six months, the station’s ratings rose from #8 to #1. WBLK reached #1 in the 12+ demographic for the first time under Dillard’s guidance. When WPGC slipped to fifth place, Dillard guided it back to the top three in one of the nation’s toughest radio markets. His accomplishments did not go unnoticed by his peers. He was named “Large Market Urban PD” by Gavin Magazine (1998) and one of the “Best Programmers in Radio” by Radio Ink magazine in both 2008 and 2010. Dillard spent one year away from radio in 2003 to write for Billboard magazine as Top 40/Urban Editor for Airplay Monitor. He also has served as a Deacon at the Hartford Memorial Church in Detroit, Michigan.

The 20-year-old Living Legend Foundation organization has expanded its mission to provide assistance to those with a confirmable need who have served the music industry. This assistance is carried out in a manner that maintains the dignity of those who may receive financial assistance. Many former music industry employees worked during a time when 401K’s and retirement packages were not available-and even today in this era of downsizing and mergers, the uncertainty of career stability within the industry has grown. In previous years, the organization has raised as much $100,000 to help meet the needs of those who have suffered tremendous losses and who may have fallen on hard times.  The LLF wants to be able to continue to come to the aid of those in need.  

The Living Legends Foundation raises funds to carry out its mission through its two main fundraising events-the Annual Living Legends Foundation Awards Dinner and the Living Legends Foundation Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament. This year the organization hopes to reach new heights in charitable contributions so that it may carry on with its mission of helping fellow music industry friends and associates who are in need.

For additional information on the Living Legends Foundation, please visit www.livinglegendsfoundation.com.

Gwendolyn Quinn                                                    
GQ Media & Public Relations, Inc.             
[email protected]