Black entertainment entrepreneur who in 1988 founded Uptown Entertainment, a music, film and television conglomerate with a seven-year, $50 million credit line from MCA Records and Universal Pictures.
The Bronx-born Harrell started his career at 16 as the first half of the hit rap duo Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, before studying communications and business management, and selling radio ads; in 1983 Harrell joined rap mogul Russell Simmons’ Rush Management, rising to a vice president’s position.
Harrell founded Uptown Records in 1987, earning an unimpeachable reputation for predicting popular black-music taste. A series of gold- and platinum-selling albums from artists like Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Heavy D and the Boyz, Guy and Al B. Sure! forged a new, black urban sound that married the soul of R&B with the hard-edged groove of hip-hop.
In late 1995, after fractious negotiations with with MCA over ownership of the Uptown name, Harrell left… Continue reading