Andre Harrell & Diddy

Andre Harrell – The Entertainment Powerhouse Who Propelled The Industry

By C.Charles

Andre Harrell: the influential music executive who launched Uptown Records and hired Sean “P. Diddy” Combs as an intern. Harrell sadly passed away on May 7 2020; He was 59 years old. Popular DJ D-Nice first announced his death on his Instagram Live. Andre was a visionary in entertainment, and his credentials cover film, television, music, and branding. Andre has greatly influenced urban-millennial culture around the world.

Harrell was born in New York City on September 26 1960. He loved music and was even one half of a 1980s hip-hop duo, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. After ditching his efforts to become an artist, he became a music executive, first employed by Russell Simmons’ at Def Jam Records. Harrell impressively rose up the ranks to the position of general manager. Soon after, he decided to spread his wings by creating his record label Uptown Records.

Music Maverick Andre Harrell

Music Maverick Andre Harrell
At Uptown Records, he developed rappers Heavy D & The Boyz, R&B supergroup Jodeci and singers Mary J.Blige and Al B. Sure. Harrell also discovered a young and enthusiastic Sean Combs with his eye for talent, hiring him as an intern before promoting him to talent director.
(After Harrell fired Combs in 1993, Combs went on to create the Bad Boy label.)
Harrell helped develop TV projects through MCA, his record label’s distribution partner, including Fox’s “New York Undercover.”
In the mid-1990s, Harrell became the president and CEO of Motown Records. During his time at Motown, he oversaw music royalty careers such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Queen Latifah. He also launched 98 Degrees and Mario Winans’ careers and is credited for the expansion of executive compensation for black music executives throughout the industry.

When Andre left Motown, he became president of Bad Boy Records looking after Puff Daddy’s careers, Faith Evans, 112, and breaking new artists like Shyne Po, Black Rob, Carl Thomas, and The Dream. Harrell also worked with Bono and Bobby Shriver to introduce the (RED) campaign for HIV/AIDs awareness to the urban market and produce Urban Aid for LifeBeat at Madison Square Garden – a benefit concert televised on MTV and BET.

More recently, old friend Diddy hired him as an executive at his Revolt cable network, producing an annual music conference. Last December, BET announced plans for three-part miniseries called “Uptown,” documenting Harrell’s label history.

In a statement shortly after the music executives passing, BET President Scott Mills said the network remains “committed to ensuring that the Uptown limited series event tells both the Uptown story and Andre’s story,- that of the incredible music innovator, and friend to so many.” As the unexpected and sad news spread of his death, tributes began to flow on social media.

On May 12, Diddy paid tribute with a video memorial and lengthy message to his Instagram.
“I honestly still can’t believe it… I’ve got to give myself the reality of this in doses because I can’t even handle this. I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me,” he wrote. “I’m going to miss him so much. I can’t even imagine life without Dre. God bless @gianni, @onealmcknight and the rest of the family… LOVE YOU FOREVER @andreharrell !!!!!!!!!!”

“He was an amazing friend, and I can’t stop crying,” Mariah Carey said on Twitter on May 9. “He was an amazing friend, and I will miss him forever.”

In an Instagram post, DJ Mark Ronson shared a photo of them and described Harrell as “a mentor, a friend and a giant influence on me.”

“LEGEND your name sits high,” Missy Elliott wrote on Twitter.

Our sincere condolences go out to all his family, friends, and loved ones. We thank you for your contribution to music and entertainment—May Andre Harrell Rest In Peace.

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