*David C. Linton, second-term chairman of The Living Legends Foundation (LLF), is extremely busy these days, as he prepares the organization for its 19th Awards Show & Dinner.
The annual gala will be held on Friday, Oct. 9 at Taglyan Cultural Complex, 1201 N. Vine St. in Los Angeles. Cocktails begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by the Awards Show at 8:00 p.m.
According to Linton, this year’s Awards Show & Dinner – the largest to date – will honor 11 individuals who have been major contributors to the radio and music industry. Honorees are inclusive of Ruben Rodriquez, CEO of Ruben Rodriquez Entertainment, who will receive the foundation’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“Ruben has been in the music industry for a long time, going back to the days of Casablanca Records,” said Linton. “In his career, he has been a great A&R guy. He has led Columbia Records, Elektra Records, and created his own label. He is still very vibrant in the industry and has mentored and trained scores of entertainers and industry executives. What he has done in the music industry, we (LLF) don’t take lightly.”
Others who will be honored include, Kendall Minter, Esq., CEO, Mintor & Associates (Chairman’s Award); Big Boy, host of Big Boy in the Morning, Real 92.3 Radio (Jerry Boulding Radio Executive/Personality Award); Jeffrey Harleston, general counsel & executive vice president, Universal Music Group (Music Label Executive Award); Troy Carter, CEO & founder of Atom Factory (Entrepreneur Award); Vicki Mack Lataillade/Claude Lataillade, founders, Gospo Centric and B-Rite Music (Gospel Music Executive Award).
Additional honorees are Carter Broadcast Group, KPRS/KPRT in Kansas (Broadcasting Icon Award); Gwendolyn Quinn, founder/president, Gwendolyn Quinn Public Relations (Media Executive Award); James Leach, vice president, writer/publisher relations, SESAC (Entertainment Advocate Award); Logan Westbrooks, humanitarian (Vanguard Award); and Don Cody, CEO, Moses Media (Digital Visionary Award).
Some of the past honorees have included, Quincy Jones, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Cathy Hughes, the Electronic Urban Report’s Lee Bailey, Clarence Avant, and the late Jack “the Rapper” Gibson.
Linton admits there are many more people in the radio and music industry who deserve recognition, but the foundation has a process in which to narrow the field of candidates.
“We have a nominating committee,” said Linton. “We look at the landscape and see who’s doing what now and who has done things in the past. The nominating committee then brings a list to the board of directors and present their credentials. The board votes and people are chosen based on their voting status.”
“We just don’t look at people who have been in the business for a long time, but instead, look at their work and how it has impacted the lives of others. Someone could be in the business for 30 years, but never impacted anything or anyone beyond his or her normal sphere.”
As a 20-plus-year veteran in the radio and music industry, Linton knows the real movers and shakers. He is the former senior vice president of R&B promotions/marketing for Capitol Records, former vice president of Black Music promotions for Arista Records, and managed two radio stations. Over his career, he has lent his expertise to help sell more than 90 million albums, collectively, for such recording artists as Whitney Houston, P-Diddy, Toni Braxton, Usher, and many more. He continues to be an in-demand consultant for independent artists and labels.
With Linton at LLF’s helm, the non-profit organization has progressively been on the move. Founded 24 years ago, LLF’s key organizers were Ray Harris, former senior vice president of marketing/promotions at Warner Bros Records; the late Jerry Boulding, urban editor for All Access Music Group; Barbara Lewis, who has held senior management positions with CBS, MCA, and Capitol Records; and C.C. Evans, a 25-year administrator for such entertainment entities as Warner Bros., DreamWorks, and Capitol Records.
The Living Legends Foundation was created to document and honor the vast contributions of African American men and women who have previously worked, or currently work, in the radio and music industry…especially those who operate behind the scenes. Over the years, however, the foundation’s mission, according to Linton, has evolved from just recognizing the achievements of trailblazers of yesteryear and today, to providing assistance to individuals who have fallen on hard times.
“As these people get older or transition from the industry, life happens and they have found themselves facing financial difficulties,” Linton explained. “So the foundation began to provide stipends and financial relief to those honorees and other industry members in need. We’ve saved homes and assisted with final arrangements for those who didn’t have any insurance. We have been that bridge for people over troubled waters.”
While Linton, the foundation’s fourth chairman, is proud of his leadership role with The Living Legends Foundation, he credits others for their contributions in making the organization viable and sustainable.
“What I do is a labor of love, but I couldn’t do this without a great board, an active advisory board which provides fresh ideas and goals for the foundation, and LLF’s president, Varnell Johnson,” said Linton. “It’s a team effort to make The Living Legends Foundation work.”
Linton reflects on the upcoming Awards Show & Dinner, which will be co-chaired by Jon Platt and Brenda Andrews.
“It’s going to be a great night of fun and entertainment,” said Linton. “But most of all it’s going to be an incredible night to honor the many people who are truly living legends in the industry.”
For tickets and sponsorship information, please contact Pat Shields at 310.568.9091, or [email protected]. For additional information on the Living Legends Foundation, visit www.livinglegendsfoundation.com.