Like Oleta Adams sang in her blockbuster song “Get Here If You Can,” the call went out, and they came from near and far – by whatever means necessary – to the 4th Annual Music Industry Legends & Icons celebration.
Held Sunday, October 6th at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, the exciting event took place on the Crystal Springs Picnic Grounds which just happens to be the site where 25 years ago in 1988, Motown Records had its last official company picnic as the company was being sold.
Celebrating “Past, Passion, and Progress,” this event was created exclusively for those in broadcasting, marketing, promotion, and retail, etc. – you know…those people who worked and are still working behind the scenes to make songs like “Get Here” hits! No matter how great a song is, it’s nothing without exposure. That’s where these folks come in.
Kitty Sears who was Marvin Gaye’s personal assistant says,” I’m just amazed and it’s so fantastic that the industry, the old-school industry when music was music, that they flew in from all over the United States for this one event and I’m so proud. It’s really, really amazing to see all [exclaims]…I mean it’s just great! This is when music was the star and I am so proud.”
Miller London, CEO of Urban Network and former Motown V.P. says “Well you know this whole entertainment group got tired of meeting and greeting each other at funerals so we decided to do something [have a picnic] that was going to be exciting and everybody should be happy and cheerful about so the picnic was repeated… and I think this is the fourth year and it’s been growing and growing and growing and the more people you see the better it gets. It’s been awesome! I fly 3000 miles to come here for this incredible day and I wouldn’t miss it. From Florida, New York as far east as you can go is how far people have come to be here today.”
Actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs: “This is my first time here…it’s a family reunion for me. I see a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time. We’re all telling good stories and good lies too…but it’s all good [laughs]. You know this is how it used to be where everybody would just come and hang out and share love and share each other’s lives together so it’s nice… I’m loving it!”
Chicago Music Retailer, George Daniels: “It’s very emotional for me because as a black storeowner in Chicago I got to know all these national figures back in the day of of the true black record industry. And so it’s a day that’s helping me reflect…that you see faces that you remember… stuff you remember that was going on when you met them. You remember Jack the Rapper, BRE, Urban Network, NBDC and so many… many [others] that we all used to network at, so this is a reflection of my history in the business.”
In her opening and welcome, program coordinator and marketing executive Pat Shields acknowledged, and the crowd applauded a list of donors who helped make this year’s event possible. Joan Scott introduced the list of committee members saying “These people have worked all year very hard to bring this fantastic event for all of us to enjoy.” In addition to Shields and Scott, committee members include Chris Jonz, Ken Wilson, Marty Mack, Steve Rowland, Wendell Bates, Kevin Fleming, Carol Carper, Lee Bailey, and Rick Nuhn. A special shout out went to many of the attendees especially “The Godfather” David Banks. Other special acknowledgements went to Miller London, George Daniels, Eddie Gurren, Ray Harris, Belinda Wilson, Al Ramirez, and Eddie Sims. In a show of appreciation, a list of 51 names of those in the industry who’ve passed on from 2012 to date was read.
As the DJ pumped out everybody’s favorite songs, the crowd danced, sang, barbequed, and played games as the wine flowed. The DJ also provided karaoke to which many performed. Of them all, if a prize were to be given, first place should have gone to Stacye Branché who did her own style of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” How sweet it all was!