Black History Month Spotlight: Quincy Jones & Lena Waithe!

Black History Month: February 2019

To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.


  • Producer, composer, arranger, trumpeter, publisher, record executive
  • Full Name: Quincy Delight Jones, Jr.
  • Born: March 14, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Nickname: "The Dude," "Q"
  • Trademark phrase: Listen up

    Quincy Jones is one of the most successful and well-known music moguls in America, with a career that spans 1950s bebop to today's pop. His empire includes music publishing, magazine publishing, record production, film scoring, television production, and more. The winner of 26 Grammy Awards, Jones is also one of the most nominated artists in the history of the Grammys, with some 75 nominations in all. In addition to leading his own bands and producing solo albums, Jones was the first African American A&R executive at a record company in the 1960s; the first African American composer to score a major studio film; the producer of one of the biggest-selling albums in history, Michael Jackson's 1982 Thriller; and one of the partners responsible for launching hip-hop lifestyle magazine Vibe. In 2008, Quincy was presented with the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards. In 2013, Quincy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


  • Was born in Chicago but raised in Bremerton and then Seattle.
  • He met Ray Charles when he was 14 and Charles was 16, and they became lifelong friends. The two began to play local gigs, with Jones on trumpet and Charles on piano and vocals.
  • Charles taught Jones arranging, a talent he used when meeting and working with Count Basie and his trumpeter, Clark Terry, while still a teen.
  • Jones left Seattle to attend the Berklee School Of Music in Boston on scholarship, but dropped out when vibraphonist Lionel Hampton invited him to tour with his big band as trumpeter and arranger.
  • Was a freelance arranger for names like Dinah Washington, Duke Ellington, and his friend Ray Charles. Toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie's band.
  • Was named vice president of A&R at Mercury Record in 1961. While there, he produced "It's My Party" for teen star Lesley Gore and "Fly Me To The Moon" for pop king Frank Sinatra.
  • Soundtracks include scores for The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood, In The Heat Of The Night, The Getaway, The Wiz, The Color Purple. TV themes include Ironsides,Sanford & Son, Roots, and The Bill Cosby Show.
  • Solo albums include 1961's Quintessence, 1969's Walking in Space, 1971's Smackwater Jack, 1973's You've Got It Bad, Girl, 1974's Body Heat, 1981's The Dude, and 1990's Back on the Block.
  • Met Michael Jackson while working on the soundtrack to The Wiz, then produced Jackson's breakthrough solo album Off The Wall in 1979. They followed up withThriller and Bad.
  • Produced the 1985 all-star, famine-relief single "We Are The World," which featured Jackson, Diana Ross, Huey Lewis, Hall & Oates, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, and many more.
  • Production credits also include The Brothers Johnson, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Patti Austin, and Donna Summer.
  • Produced TV's The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, which launched Will Smith's career as an actor.
  • Founding partner and publisher of hip-hop lifestyle magazine Vibe.
  • Winner of the Academy Awards' 1996 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
  • Married three times: Jeri Caldwell, 1957-1966; Ulla Anderson, 1967-1973; Peggy Lipton, 1974-1990. Lived with Nastassia Kinski, 1991-1997. Children: Jolie, Rachel, Quincy III, Tina, Rashida, Kidada, Kenia.

  • On doing what you love: "Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing."
  • On having humility and grace: "I tell my kids and I tell proteges, always have humility when you create and grace when you succeed, because it's not about you. You are a terminal for a higher power. As soon as you accept that, you can do it forever."
  • On music: "Music was the one thing I could control. It was the one world that offered me freedom. When I played music, my nightmares ended. My family problems disappeared. I didn't have to search for answers. The answers lay no further than the bell of my trumpet and my scrawled, pencilled scores. Music made me full, strong, popular, self-reliant and cool."
  • On hard work: "Every day, my daddy told me the same thing. 'Once a task is just begun, never leave it till it's done. Be the labour great or small, do it well or not at all.'"

  • From a November 2000 tribute to his longtime friend Ray Charles, Jones reflected on their achievements. He told LAUNCH: "We used to sit and dream about the future: 'We want to work with a symphony, we want to do this, we want to do films, we wanted to do this.' And we did it all, together, and that is very rare, you know? 'Cause we used to sit and dream about it, and then we got off our butts and went out and did it. You know, 'In The Heat Of The Night,' 'Let The Good Times Roll,' 'One Mint Julep,' 'Bags,' 'We Are The World' ... I forget, it just never stops, man! We did it all. It's really, really a blessing, to start that far back and still be .... We still get together and crack each other up, man." :
  • Quincy Jones on his musical taste: "I was doing seven kinds of music since I was 14 years old, you know? And that's what I've been doing all my life, and it's all good, and I don't have to make any choices. Take the best of everything."
  • Queen Latifah introduces Humanitarian Award recipient Quincy Jones: "More than just a producer or a song writer, Quincy Jones is an international artist, an innovator, an activist, a leader. He's shown us all that black entertainment is more than just a hustle, more than selling albums, it's about inspiration and change for the better and it's up to us to continue his legacy. And now please join me in welcoming the guy who I want to be when I grow up. The 2008 BET Humanitarian Award winner Q."

    • In 1867, The Peabody Fund for Black education in the South is established.
    • In 1870, Jonathan Jasper Wright was elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
    • In 1961, A jail-in movement started in Rock Hill, S.C., when students refused to pay fines and requested jail sentences. Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee urged south-wide "Jail, No Bail" campaign.
    • In 1972, Robert Lewis Douglas founder and coach of the Rens, is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.



    Congresswoman Barbara Jordan earned which distinction in 1976?

    A) She became the first female African-American keynote speaker at a national political convention.
    B) She headed the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
    C) She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    The answer is C: She became the first female African-American keynote speaker at a national political convention. Elected to the Texas Senate in 1966 and to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, Jordan worked diligently for civil rights and women's issues. Her reputation as a fine orator was already well established when she gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in New York City.



    Juneteenth: On June 19, 1865, the Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to inform the city's residents of the Civil War's end -- resulting in freedom for some 800,000 slaves. The announcement was made two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, giving the slaves the right to freedom. The name was later changed to "Juneteenth" to mark the day, and is considered the African-American version of Independence Day. Although celebrations initially were concentrated in Texas and other Southern states, Milwaukee and Minneapolis now host two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the nation.



    Lena Waithe was born on May 17, 1984 in Chicago, Illinois. She is an American screenwriter, producer and writer, known for her roles in Master of None and Ready Player One. She is also the creator of the Showtime drama, The Chi and acted as a producer on Dear White People. In 2014, Variety named Waithe as one of its "10 Comedians to Watch."

    She also made history in 2017 by being the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the season 2 episode "Thanksgiving" for the show, Master of None. In her award speech, Waithe said, "And last but certainly not least, my LGBTQIA family. I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape, go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it. And for everybody out there that showed us so much love … thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South side of Chicago. We appreciate it more than you could ever know."


    Barbara Jordan 1992 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address