*“I don’t want to be in the spotlight…they had asked me before…I said its time,” said Gail Mitchell, a well known Billboard Magazine R&B/Hip-Hop journalist, about accepting the Black Business Association (BBA) honor for “Outstanding Excellence in Journalism Award.” The ceremony was held recently during a live Facebook event that had performances by Howard Hewitt (“Amen”) and Klymaxx (“I Miss You”).
When I asked how she was notified of the honor she said, “I was at home, like everyone, still in the middle of the pandemic. I looked at it a couple of times.”
Gail has been Executive Director of R&B/Hip-Hop at Billboard Magazine for over 20 years and I’ve seen her be treated by entertainment industry celebrities as a celebrity – “a celebrity journalist.”
“I still do red carpet (arrivals) for BET,” she said when I mentioned I see her often on the red carpet talking to some celebrities like they are old friends. “My kids say, ‘Oh my God, how do they know you?!’”
When you work for a magazine that has lasted since it was first published in 1894. That is so well respected, positioning on its Charts for any album or single means you’ve made a place in the history books of the music business. Its ownership passed many hands landing in the hands of Guggenheim Partners. In 2015 its Chairman Todd Boehl brought some assets from the company which included Billboard Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Productions. He now serves as Chairman of Valence Media which houses the three enterprises.
“You build relationships,” Gail said about being well-known by the industry heavy-hitters. “They trust you. I never sold myself. People respect that. There is good press and bad press.”
Gail Mitchell has interviewed just about all heavy-weights in the music industry such as Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Chuck D and Jay Z. She has represented Billboard Magazine on “CBS This Morning,” “CNN, NBC’s “Today Show,” E TV, TV Guide, BET Networks and BBC.
Aside from Gail Mitchell receiving the “Outstanding Excellence in Journalism Award,” other honorees included KJLH Radio Station owner Stevie Wonder who received the “Historical Black-Owned Radio Station of Excellence Award,” and Dick Griffey, founder of Solar Records with the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“They did a great job. I went when they honored Clarence Avant,” Mitchell confided about the event. “It’s so exciting. My first interview for Billboard (in 1994) was with Jill Scott. I had my kids with me – they were little. To this day she always asks me how my kids are.”
Attendees included politicians, community activists and music industry heavy-hitters The Whispers, LA Reid and Midnight Starr. The honors were hosted by M.C. Andre Ray (LTD/Solar Records). BBA is 50 years old and was founded to ensure African-Americans and other diverse business owners benefit from advocacy efforts to impact, improve and implement a policy that improves access to contracts and procurement opportunities in the public and private sectors. www.BBALA.org www.Billboard.com
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]