If you’ve worked within the record, retail and radio industry before circa 1998 then most likely you were invited to the annual Midwest Posse Radio and Records Reunion Luncheon which takes place every second Friday in May. The organizers, record promotions veteran, John Hall, Jr. and his wife, Lynda Hall invite long-time friends and former colleagues to this special gathering at Norm’s Bistro in Bronzeville. To others, it may seem like just another group catching up but for those in attendance, they’ve created the buzz for almost every artist under the sun.
Having worked in the radio and records business since age 16, I’ve graduated to becoming a regular participant often feeling like the “baby of the bunch”. For the last five years, I haven’t missed the intimate gathering because the wealth of history and stories of the past is priceless. Black women and men whose made a significant contribution to our American pop culture behind-the-scenes, creating solid working relationships between major and indie labels, radio stations and retail stores have laid the blueprint for many successful careers over the last six decades.
This year, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Honorable Dorothy Brown Clerk of the Circuit Cook County Court dropped in to spend time with the group with Jackson opening up the meal with a prayer. From radio and media legends–Merri Dee, Richard Steele to the Chi-Lites founding member, Marshall Thompson–retired and working vets broke bread and caught up. National Promotions Director for RCA Inspiration, Cathy Carroll; Sr. Vice President of Promotions for Columbia Records, Cynthia Johnson; Sr. VP of Promotions for eOne Music Group, Maurice White; Sr. Vice President of Universal Music, Michael Horton; Entertainment Director for Crawford Broadcasting, Patricia Edwards; Midwest Promotions Manager for Epic Records, Alexis White along with independent strategists Kirk Townsed, Carter Russell, Carl Washington, Gus Redman, Wayne Lewis, Jesse ‘GF’ Jones, Quentin Lewis to former radio programmers Tiffany Green and Al Greer. Rainbow PUSH executive and community mom, Betty Magnus whose husband owned a successful record store continues to attend the annual luncheon along with former WEA branch manager and retailer, John Davis and his wife.
Check out photo highlights:
It was wonderful to connect with Universal Music Labels National Director, Darryl Hervy; former PGD Product Manager, Anthony Williams and former Sony Distribution representative, Monique Spence along with Jhun Moon and many others in attendance.
Every year, the gathering increases with new people finding out about it through word-of-mouth while others have either retired, unable to get off from work or is no longer with us on this physical earth. For those who were not present, their spirit was felt and the memories of one another flowed as we ate, took photos, hugged and laughed. Shout to former WGCI account executive and owner of Norm’s Bistro, Norman Bolden for allowing us to convene on your space every year.
Until next year!