HONORING GOSPEL MUSIC PIONEERS
(House of Representatives - April 25, 2013)

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[Pages H2306-H2308]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     HONORING GOSPEL MUSIC PIONEERS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, later on today, the President will join 
my fellow Texans in West, Texas, to mourn the loss of so many who died 
in a tragic plant explosion last week. Many of them were first 
responders. And many who will come to mourn and celebrate life and the 
life of West, Texas, are those who have been harmed and injured. I will 
join them in spirit, as I know my colleagues here today will.
  That's why as I rise today to commemorate and salute two gospel music 
titans, it becomes even more appropriate to salute my friend, James 
``Jazzy'' Jordan and Mr. Don Jackson, for they understand the value and 
message of gospel music.
  Gospel music holds a special place in the American experience. Gospel 
music was a release from suffering and hardship, but it was also a form 
of praise and protest. I would like to thank Jazzy Jordan for 
understanding that as we introduced in 2008 the Gospel Music Heritage 
legislation that establishes September in the United States of America 
as Gospel Music Heritage Month.
  We hope as we have faced these tragedies over the last couple of 
weeks that Americans, no matter what their religious background or 
nonreligious background, will find relief in this joyful and comforting 
music. Spirituals once sung by slaves transformed into gospel songs 
sung by free people who had their own space and place to express their 
emotions and tell their stories in music--those spirituals have been 
translated into gospel music.
  Gospel music could express the joys and sorrows of so many people. 
All of us remember and have often sung the song ``Amazing Grace,'' 
created by one who saw this wonderful resilience of their life when 
they thought they had been lost. That is truly American and American 
gospel music.
  We know the early founders: Thomas Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, James 
Vaughan, James Cleveland, and now today Kirk Franklin, and Yolanda 
Adams, among so many. And then those who were influenced by gospel 
music: Sam Cooke, Al Green, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Whitney 
Houston, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, among many.
  Jazzy Jordan understands that and is now head of The Jordan Webster 
Group, a film and music production house in Washington, D.C. A 
brilliant businessman, he has a great love of gospel music. We are 
grateful for his service to Verity Gospel Music Group, now known as RCA 
Inspiration. Mr. Jordan was a founding board member of the Gospel Music 
Heritage Foundation and cochair, with gospel music advocate Mr. Carl 
Davis of my district, of the Evolution of Gospel Celebration which 
kicks off Gospel Music Heritage Celebration in the Nation's capital. 
Mr. Jordan was executive producer for Gold, Platinum, Grammy, Stellar, 
and Dove award-winning projects. Throughout his career, he served as a 
creative producer and has marketed and promoted many awarding-winning 
CDs and gospel artists that have included Kirk Franklin, and as well 
worked with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith--``Fresh Prince.''
  Oh, he knows music. And to tell you that he does, he has engaged and 
worked with the likes of Kirk Franklin, as I said, Marvin Sapp, Donnie 
McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Heather Kyle Walker, Donald Lawrence, Richard 
Smallwood, Byron Cage, John P. Kee, Jay Moss, Crystal Aikin, Deitrick 
Haddon, and DeWayne Woods. Mr. Jordan is truly one who lives his life 
in commemorating and cultivating and nurturing the gospel tradition, 
the gospel tradition which has now spread beyond the borders of this 
Nation.
  He is joined by Mr. Don Jackson, the founder, chairman, and CEO of 
the 41-year-old Central City Productions, now the founder and organizer 
of the Stella Awards.
  I am grateful that Mr. Jackson thought it was important to recognize 
those who excelled in gospel music. He graduated from Northwestern 
University and entered a career in media and broadcasting with a number 
of stations, WBEE and WVON, a top radio station in Chicago. As he 
founded Central City Marketing in 1970, his company over 41 years 
involved itself in encouraging and helping others promote their issues. 
He had involvement in promotion and sales and production of media and 
television.

                              {time}  1050

  But his first gospel music awards show in the United States, the 
Stellar Awards, was produced by his company. The Stellar Awards honors 
gospel music artists, writers, and industry professionals.
  He is one who has featured so many artists, such as the Clark 
Sisters, Kirk Franklin, Da' T.R.U.T.H., Mary Mary, and many others.
  Mr. Speaker, as I close, let me simply say, these two men are more 
than deserving of being American icons, and we congratulate them for 
loving, cherishing, and promoting gospel music.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize two of America's pioneers in gospel 
music: Mr. James ``Jazzy'' Jordan and Mr. Don Jackson.

[[Page H2307]]

Jazzy Jordan and Don Jackson are titans in the field of Gospel Music. 
Over the last 30 years their combined efforts have elevated this unique 
American art form to national and international prominence.
  Gospel music holds a special place in the American experience. Just 
as Jazz is well known far from our nation's shores, the spread of 
gospel music has also become popular around the world. Gospel music 
holds a unique place in the African experience--its roots are deep in 
the black church. For generations, gospel music could only be heard on 
Sunday mornings where African American people gathered to worship.
  Church was a place where black people felt truly free and safe to 
express themselves. Gospel music was a release for suffering and 
hardship--it was a form of praise and protest. Spirituals once sung by 
slaves transformed into gospel songs sung by free people who had their 
own space--and place to express their emotions and tell their stories 
in music.
  Gospel music could express the joys and sorrows of black people in 
ways that touched those who were not African American. There were 
lessons to be learned for the artists and the listeners. Famous jazz 
and rock-and-roll artists perfected their singing styles by visiting 
black churches to listen to gospel music.
  Gospel music traditions produced many memorable voices and musical 
pioneers in the history of our country; singers like Thomas Dorsey, 
Mahalia Jackson, James Vaughan, Roberta Martin, Virgil Stamps, Diana 
Washington, James Cleveland, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Kirk Franklin, 
Yolanda Adams, and The Winans among many others.
  Gospel music has inspired and influenced other music art forms and 
artists that include Sam Cooke, Al Green, Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, 
Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Buddy 
Holly, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Bob Dylan, and Randy 
Travis.
  I stand in the well of the House to honor two men who are my friends 
who also are great contributors to the American experience by 
preserving and cultivating new converts to the gospel music. Through 
their efforts gospel music has in a very short time period expanded 
beyond the black church to a broader global audience.
  Mr. James ``Jazzy'' Jordan is head of The Jordan Webster Group, a 
film and music production house in Washington DC. Mr. Jordan is a 
brilliant businessman with a love of gospel music, which he fully 
expressed in his leadership of the Verity Gospel Music Group now known 
as RCA Inspiration. Mr. Jordan is a founding board member of the Gospel 
Music Heritage Foundation and is Co-Chair along with Gospel Music 
Advocate Carl Davis of the ``Evolution of Gospel Celebration'' that 
Kicks off Gospel Music Heritage Celebration in the Nation's Capital.
  Over his 30 year career, Mr. Jordan was executive producer for Gold, 
Platinum, GRAMMY', Stellar and Dove award-winning projects. 
Throughout his career, Jordan has served as executive producer or has 
marketed or promoted many award-winning CDs for gospel artists that 
included Kirk Franklin and R. Kelly. He also, worked with DJ Jazzy Jeff 
and The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) on their album Parents Just Don't 
Understand, which sold over four millions copies; Salt N' Pepa on their 
Very Necessary album, which sold over five million copies; Joe on his 
tops selling CDs All That I Am, which was a platinum selling album, and 
My Name Is Joe, which sold over three million copies; and three of R. 
Kelly's CDs--R. Kelly, R. and TP-2.Com, which all sold more than three 
million copies.
  The other person I want to recognize is Mr. Don Jackson, the founder, 
chairman and CEO of the 41-year-old CENTRAL CITY PRODUCTIONS a national 
television production, sales, and syndication Company based in Chicago, 
Illinois.
  Mr. Jackson after graduating from Northwestern University entered a 
career in media and broadcasting with WBEE & WVON radio. He was someone 
to watch--and for good reason--he became youngest and first African 
American sales manager at WVON, the top radio station in the Chicago 
media market at the time. He had to work hard and be extremely smart to 
reach such notable success at such a young age.
  In 1970, Mr. Jackson founded CENTRAL CITY MARKETING. His company for 
over 40 years has specialized in marketing, promotion, sales, and the 
production of media and television programs for African Americans. The 
first Gospel Music Awards show in the United States, the Stellar 
Awards, was produced by CENTRAL CITY MARKETING. The Stellar Awards 
honor Gospel Music Artists, writers, and industry professionals for 
their contributions to the Gospel Music Industry. The Stellar Awards 
program is syndicated in over 140 markets nationwide.
  The Stellar Awards has featured well known gospel artists that 
include the Clark Sisters, Kirk Franklin, Da' T.R.U.T.H, Tye Tribbett, 
Mary Mary, Heather Headley, CeCe Winans, Marvin Sapp, Yolanda Adams, 
Donnie McClurkin, and Tamela Mann. Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los 
Angeles, Nashville, and New York have been the location of the Stellar 
Awards programs. Through his efforts, the spread of gospel appreciation 
is traveling far beyond our nation's shore and finding new converts 
every day.
  Because of the efforts to these two men scholars now know--if you 
want to truly understand the black American experience--you must 
understand the music of that experience and a way to do this is through 
gospel music.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in applauding the life achievements of 
Mr. Don Jackson and Mr. James ``Jazzy'' Jordan.

                 40 Years of Media Marketing Experience

       Don Jackson is the founder, chairman, and CEO of 41-year-
     old CENTRAL CITY PRODUCTIONS, Inc., a national television 
     production, sales, and syndication company based in Chicago, 
     IL.
       Mr. Jackson is a Chicago native who graduated from Marshall 
     High School, where he played on the school's 1960 state 
     championship basketball team. He also started on the 1961 
     Marshall basketball team, which won 3rd place in the state 
     championship. He attended Northwestern University on a 
     basketball scholarship and was captain of the University's 
     1965 Wildcat basketball team. Mr. Jackson earned his B.S. in 
     Radio, TV, and Film from Northwestern in 1965.
       After graduating from Northwestern, Mr. Jackson worked in 
     the media and broadcast industries in sales at WBEE & WVON 
     radio. He became the youngest and first African American 
     sales manager at WVON, the top radio station in the Chicago 
     market at the time.
       In 1970, Mr. Jackson founded CENTRAL CITY MARKETING, INC. 
     For over four decades the company has specialized in 
     marketing, promotion, sales, and the production of media and 
     television programs for African Americans.
       Today, CENTRAL CITY PRODUCTIONS, INC., is the full-service 
     company that produces, syndicates, and manages advertising 
     sales for all of the company's local and national television 
     programs. Central City Productions' mission is to develop, 
     produce, and market television programming which is designed 
     to communicate positive, uplifting images of Black people all 
     over the world.
       Under his guidance and vision, CCP has launched many new 
     and unique television programs to Black Americans nationwide. 
     Many of these programs have more than 30 years of consecutive 
     airing over local and national television.
       Mr. Jackson also gives back to the community as a member of 
     several organizations. He is the former chairman of the board 
     of the DuSable Museum of African American History. He has 
     also previously served on the boards of Northwestern 
     University, Junior Achievement of Chicago, Columbia College, 
     Gateway Foundation and Chicago Transit Authority Board.
       In addition, Mr. Jackson is the founder and a member of 
     A.B.L.E. (Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs), 
     which is the first business organization bringing Black 
     Leaders together in the business community to network, to 
     address business issues and to provide a legacy for future 
     African American entrepreneurs.
       He has received numerous awards for his business 
     accomplishments and community involvement. Mr. Jackson is 
     married to Rosemary Jackson. The couple has two adult 
     children and two grandsons, Donovan and Dain. Their daughter 
     Rhonda is a graduate of Syracuse University, and their son 
     Baba Dainja graduated from the University of Minnesota.
                                  ____


                         James ``Jazzy'' Jordan

       James ``Jazzy'' Jordan is head of The Jordan Webster Group, 
     a film and music production house in Washington DC. Projects 
     to be released this summer are ``Your Husband Is Cheating On 
     Us'' starring JD Lawrence, A reality TV series The Football 
     Moms with Reggie Bush's mother Denise, Adrian Peterson's 
     mother Bonita and others.
       Mr. Jordan is also developing a theatrical film titled 
     ``ColorBlind'' starring JD Lawrence and directed by Bill 
     Duke, he is filming a new comedy TV series for Comedian 
     Michael Colyar, taping this summer at The Howard Theater in 
     DC.
       He most recently was Executive Vice President/General 
     Manager of Verity Gospel Music Group (VGMG). A division of 
     Sony Music Entertainment, INC., it is the largest gospel 
     music company in the world.
       The VGMG roster of artists includes: Kirk Franklin, Marvin 
     Sapp, Donald McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, Donald 
     Lawrence, Richard Smallwood, Kurt Carr, 21:03, Byron Cage, 
     John P. Kee, J. Moss, Crystal Aikin, Deitrick Haddon, Dewayne 
     Woods, and others.
       Over his 30-year career, Jordan has worked in a variety of 
     areas within the music industry, including retail, radio 
     broadcasting and marketing. These experiences have given him 
     a 360-degree view of the music business and uniquely equipped 
     him to shepherd artists to success. Jordan was in charge of 
     all operations for Verity Gospel Music Group, Jordan lent his 
     business acumen and expertise to the consistently successful 
     label. He has served as executive producer for Gold, 
     Platinum, GRAMMY', Stellar and Dove award-winning 
     projects such as Hello Fear and The Fight Of My Life (Kirk 
     Franklin), Thirsty and Here I Am (Marvin Sapp), Live

[[Page H2308]]

     In London (Donnie McClurkin), Show Up (John P. Kee), and many 
     others.
       Jordan has held senior executive positions at Tommy Boy, 
     RCA and PolyGram record labels. In 1995, he was named Vice 
     President of Black Music Marketing at Jive Records. At Jive, 
     Jordan not only played a vital role in the label's success in 
     urban music, he also helped to launch Verity Records and 
     catapult it into the most successful gospel record label to 
     date.
       Throughout his career, Jordan has served as executive 
     producer or has marketed or promoted over 50 award-winning 
     CDs for artists ranging from Will Smith to Kirk Franklin. He 
     worked with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) 
     on their album Parents Just Don't Understand, which sold over 
     four millions copies; Salt N' Pepa on their Very Necessary 
     album, which sold over five million copies; Joe on his tops 
     selling CDs All That I Am, which was a platinum selling 
     album, and My Name Is Joe, which sold over three million 
     copies; and three of. Kelly's CDs--R. Kelly, R. and TP2.Com, 
     which all sold more than three million copies.
       A man of many interests and skills, in 2006 Jordan was one 
     of only two African Americans to have ownership in an Indy 
     500 racecar (the other was NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony). 
     Jordan's car placed 12th in the race.

                          ____________________