kashif22*Friends, family and colleagues came together at the City of Refuge Oct. 20 to celebrate the life of multifaceted R&B-Pop musician Kashif.

The six-time Grammy-nominated musician passed away in his Playa del Rey, California home on Sept. 25. Loved ones traveled from all over to commemorate and show their love for Kashif, who inspired so many people over the course of his life.

The service featured musical performances from Howard Hewett, Dawn Lewis, Kimaya Seward Sherkhan, Myracle Holloway Smith, Lulu Kyte and Amun Re-Runninghorse.

About Kashif

Born Michael Jones in Harlem, New York, December 26, 1956,  Kashif Saleem sprang to success in the early 80s as a pioneer of a fresh new stripped down sound of R&B production centered around exquisitely and spaciously dispatched synthesizers and drum machine patterns.

This sound produced mega club/radio hits for himself and others before he landed his greatest success at the helm of Whitney Houston’s breakthrough classic, “You Give Good Love.” Kashif parlayed his windfall of success into a career second half spent largely as an author, educator, mentor and documentary filmmaker.

He wrote the book “Everything You’d Better Know About The Record Business” (a more artist driven matter of fact spin on a more technical existing industry bible), and founded Kashif University at Morningside High School in Inglewood as an integrated education and arts program.


And he was in the process of working on an epic ten-part documentary “The History of R&B Music and Its Influence On World Culture” at the time of his sudden passing. Kashif had conducted over 200 interviews on four continents and in 18 cities. It was to be the ultimate evidence of Kashif’s continued and passionate commitment to African American culture, history and the education of young people in the arts coming behind him.

As a product of the foster care system, Kashif’s steadfast passions were having close friendships and a loving family environment for himself as well as creating such situations for others. Kashif founded the Team iCare Foundation to improve the quality of life for children in the foster care system through educational programs, enrichment activities and mentoring. On July 26, 2008, his foundation held a 5K Walk/Run event that resulted in 247 individuals signing up to become foster parents. Blessed with a boisterous personality and an infectious sense of humor, Kashif Saleem had a heart of gold.

Kashif dreamed big, working tirelessly and selflessly to bring those goals to life. He packed an incomparable and daunting amount of achievement into his time on this planet. He will be deeply missed yet rests mightily in the seeds of inspiration he placed within the hearts of so many, be they peers or students.

Photo journal: celebration of Kashif’s life 

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Jalila Larsuel
[email protected]