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FAMU will Host the CEO Experience - A Music and Entertainment Industry Conference
From left to right: Julian White, chair of the Department of Music and director of Bands; Al Bell, former president of Motown Records; President James H. Ammons and Kawachi Clemons, director of the Institute of Hip Hop and Music Industry Studies

July 21, 2011

– The former president of Motown Records joined Florida A&M University (FAMU) officials during a press conference to announce the Creativity Education Opportunity (C.E.O.) Experience, a music and entertainment industry conference scheduled for November 3 and November 4, 2011 on the campus.  The conference will offer new artists, producers, journalists, graphic designers, public relations and business students direct access and inside information on launching and sustaining a successful career in the music and entertainment business.

“As Florida A&M University moves toward its 2020 vision with courage, we are charged with providing pedagogical experiences that appeal to the interests of the current and future FAMUans,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons.  “This new Music Industry Studies program addresses the industry’s need for technically qualified, socially and liberally educated individuals who are trained to work in interdisciplinary settings in a fast-changing global workplace.”

At the press conference, music industry executive Al Bell announced plans to establish a partnership with the university, which will provide resources for the FAMU Institute for Hip Hop and Music Industry Studies as well as scholarships for students pursuing careers in music and entertainment industries. 

Bell will be the keynote speaker for the C.E.O. Experience conference. Bell, who started in the entertainment business as a radio broadcaster, became owner and chairman of Stax Records and former president of Motown Records. He is recognized as one of the “Most Influential African Americans in Radio” and was recently honored with the Grammy Trustee Award for his significant contributions to the recording field.

“History will record that Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University embraced, with informed intellectual commitment, the broad and diverse asset value of America’s hip-hop culture, its music, and it unparalleled multi-billion dollar music, fashion, technological, and diverse business industries,” said Bell.  “And history will show that Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University educated – for the positive future benefit of America – the music, social, cultural, educational, economic, political, and business leaders of tomorrow. I wholeheartedly applaud President James Ammons and FAMU for having the vision and the courage to address today’s dire and critical leadership needs of our American society, American culture and the American music industry.”

Conference session panels will include discussions on the following: career development, the digital age of media, video production, record companies 101, and public relations. The Professional Networking Fair allows participants the opportunity to meet and greet representatives from various music and media companies.

Nina Packer, general manager of Bryant Management, the company behind Lil’ Wayne, Drake and Lil’ Twist, will facilitate a workshop on artist management.  Music executive Amir Windom will give participants an inside look into the role of A&R in records and music supervision in television and film.

“The C.E.O. experience will provide our students with an incredible educational opportunity to learn from key entertainment industry insiders,” said Kawachi Clemons, Ph.D., who serves as the director of the Institute.  “Having someone like Al Bell put his name and reputation behind this type of programming is a true blessing.”
James Hawkins, dean of FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, expressed how this will be a wonderful opportunity for students.

“The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication is excited to partner with Dr. Clemons on this project,” said Hawkins.  “Bringing leaders from the music and entertainment industry to campus will foster the cultivation of internships and other opportunities for our students.”

Hip-hop icon Christopher “Play” Martin, of Kid ‘n Play fame, who currently serves as a professional-in-residence with the Institute for Hip Hop and Music Industry Studies, stated how honored he is to be a part of the conference.

“I am very excited and honored to not only be a part of an event like this, which is long overdue, for the advancement of the music industry,” said Martin.

About the Institute for Hip Hop and Music Industry Studies
The Institute for Hip Hop and Music Industry Studies was created to actively promote and advance the knowledge about hip-hop arts and culture and its relational position as an extension of black and African-American artistic cultural traditions. The Music Industry program major within the bachelor of science in music degree is designed to acquaint students to the concepts and methodologies of the music and entertainment industry. The four-year program combines studies in music and business.

About the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication
The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication was founded in 1982. Its Division of Journalism was the first journalism program at a historically black university to be nationally accredited by the ACEJMC. It offers four journalism sequences: newspaper, magazine production, broadcast (radio and television) and public relations. Its Division of Graphic Communication offers instruction in graphic design and photography.

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