- Upcoming Public Events
- About Logan H. Westbrooks
- Other Black History Month Events in Bloomington
- Additional Materials, Sponsors, and Contact Info.
Upcoming Public Events
Bustin' Loose: Breaking Racial Barriers in the Music Industry
Monday, February 4, 2013 from 5:00-6:00 pm
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Grand Hall
Followed by reception [View Map]
Black Leadership in the Music Industry
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 from 6:30-7:30pm
Showers City Hall
401 North Morton Street, Bloomington, IN
Followed by reception [View Map]
Logan Westbrooks: Music Industry Executive, Entrepreneur, Teacher, Philanthropist
Friday, Januray 19-Thursday, February 28, 2013
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Bridgwaters Lounge [View Map]
The Evolution of the Black Music Industry
Friday, February 1-Thursday, February 28, 2013
Showers City Hall Lobby
401 North Morton Street, Bloomington, IN [View Map]
Logan H. Westbrooks is widely recognized as one of the central figures responsible for opening the doors of the music industry to black artists and executives. In addition to his pioneering role as the Director of Special Markets at CBS Records in the 1970s, Westbrooks is known for his genius as a teacher, an international business consultant, an author, a real estate entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a highly sought-after lecturer.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1961 from Lincoln University (Jefferson City, MO), where he served as a leader in the Student Government Association and other campus organizations, he worked for a short time as a Merchandising Representative for the Johnson Publishing Company (1963-1965). Westbrooks gained his initial introduction to the music industry by working for various divisions of the RCA Victor Distributing Corporation in Des Plaines, IL (1965-1967). He was hired by the Capitol Record Distribution Corporation in 1967 as the company’s first black territory salesman for their Chicago market. In this position, Westbrooks was responsible for promoting albums by black, country, and pop artists such as Lou Rawls, Nancy Wilson, Nat King Cole, The Beatles, Glen Campbell, The Lettermen, Bobby Gentry, and Cannonball Adderly.
In 1968, he was promoted to Regional Promotion Manager for the Midwest. In this new position, Westbrooks was solely responsible for promoting and securing airplay for all of Capitol’s black music releases throughout the major urban centers of the region. He was promoted to the position of Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Marketing in 1970, but he soon left to serve as the National (R&B) Promotion Director for Mercury Records in Chicago where he handled releases for artists such as Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Melba Moore, Erroll Garner, Buddy Miles, and Rod Stewart.
Already recognized as a black pioneer in the music industry, Westbrooks was to show his true business savvy following his move to CBS Records in November 1971 as the company’s first Director of Special Markets (i.e., their newly created black music division). In his book The Anatomy of a Record Company: How to Survive in the Record Business (1981), Westbrooks described his primary responsibility within CBS as the creation of “a black marketing staff to penetrate the black market.” By May of 1972, he had marketed a string of number one R&B hits for CBS including “Back Stabbers” by the O’Jays, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul. He also served as a liaison between CBS and Harvard during the creation of Harvard’s infamous report, “Study of the Soul Music Environment Prepared for Columbia Record Group” (1972), which was commissioned by Columbia as part of its efforts to capture the black consumer market. Based on this report, Westbrooks was able to increase the staff of the Special Markets from four to thirteen.
Under Westbrooks’ leadership, Columbia grew from having almost no black product in 1971 to being a leader on the black music scene by 1974: a move that included the creation of an official black music division; strengthening relations with Philadelphia International (corporate home of the songwriting and record production powerhouses, Kenneth Gamble and Leon A. Huff) and the acquisition of distribution deals with Stax, Invictus, and T-Neck Records. Beginning in 1974 Westbrooks spearheaded CBS’s efforts to explore potential African markets and was named Director of Special Markets for Columbia Records International as well as Managing Executive of CBS Africa (Paris, France).
After working for three years to locate potential African artists with stateside appeal and to promote a foothold for Columbia in West Africa, Westbrooks left his position at CBS for California where he served as Vice President of Marketing for the fledgling Soul Train Records (part of Cornelius-Griffey Entertainment). Two years following the label’s collapse in 1978, he began to learn the real estate trade from long-time Veteran Joe Bradfield. The late ‘70s also marked the beginning of his time as a part-time lecturer at California State University teaching course on the black music industry.
In addition to establishing himself as a real estate entrepreneur and teacher, through the aid of an MCA New Ventures’ MESBIC grant, Westbrooks launched Source Records in 1978. With artists such as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers, Rose Banks (sister of Sly Stone), and Travis Bigg (performer on several Isaac Hayes albums), Source released a number of gold records and grossed over $3.5 million during its first year.
Following the close of Source Records in 1983, Westbrooks shifted his focus to philanthropy by founding the Helping Hands Home for Boys that same year. Westbrooks operated the Home along with his wife, Geri, for fifteen years before selling it to Boys Town USA in 1998. During this time he also owned and operated Westbrooks Management (1994-1996) and served for one year as Vice President and General Manager of Black Radio Exclusive (BRE) magazine beginning in the fall of 1988.
Westbrooks has also served as an important religious leader in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). He earned his Masters in Biblical Counseling from the Eternal Word Graduate School (Los Angeles) in 2000 and currently serves as the pastor for Faith Temple. Following the move of Faith Temple to Azusa, CA, in 2000, Westbrooks acted as the founding member of the Azusa Human Relations Commission. In early 2011, the Commission facilitated the federal indictment of 51 people associated with the Azusa 13 gang—an act that is hoped to end fears of gang violence and harassment that have plagued Azusa’s black citizens for over a decade.
Throughout his career, Westbrooks has paved the way for the black music industry executives who followed him and has been instrumental in promoting over 25 platinum and gold records. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Memphian Award, a Distinguished Alumni of Lincoln University, a member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Hall of Fame, and a former Ambassador for the 1997 Annual African Music Festival for Education in Senegal. He has been featured in Respect Yourself, a 2007 PBS documentary on the origin of Stax Records, and on “Make It Funky,” the eight episode of the Experience Music Project’s PBS series Rock & Roll.
Promotional video on Chuck Brown's "Bustin' Loose" courtesy of Source Records USA.
Additional Materials and Information Related to Westbrooks
- Photographs from the Logan H. Westbrooks Collection at Image Collections Online
- Archival finding aid for the Logan H. Westbrooks Collection [Coming Soon!]
- Coverage of Westbrook's collection and interview about his work with CBS International in Liner Notes
Other Black History Month Events in Bloomington
- AAADS Colloquium Series
- Black History Month - Bloomington Style 2013: Lessons in Leadership
- Black Film Center/Archives' film screenings
- WTIU Black History Month programming
- Liberal Arts and Management Program
- City of Bloomington
- Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs
- African American Arts Institute
- Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies
- Department of American Studies
- Archives of African American Music and Culture
- Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology
- Neal-Marshall Black Cuture Center