The hip hop community is still reeling from the tragic loss of Andre Harrell, who passed away on Thursday (May 7) at the age of 59. The Uptown Records founder and music pioneer introduced some of the hip hop’s biggest stars, including Mary J. Blige. Harrell gave the “Family Affair” artist her big break back in 1989, when he signed her as a backup vocalist for other Uptown Records acts. In doing so, Blige became the record label’s youngest and first female signee.
In a touching tribute shared to Instagram on Monday (May 11), Blige reflected on Harrell’s long-lasting influence and mourned the late icon.
“I don’t know where I would be if you didn’t believe in me,” she wrote. “RIP [Andre Harrell]... This can’t be real. Thank you for helping me and loving me until the last days of your life. Rest easy my musical father. I will continue to do my very best to make you proud and continue to find joy and inspiration in your life and legacy. Another angel watching over me.”
Along with the note, Blige shared an old interview clip where she discussed her quick rise to fame, while Harrell proudly described what it was like watching her grow into a “full-fledged artist.”
“I watched Mary grow from a young woman into a real lady,” he began. “...I was feeling like Mary was becoming a full-fledged artist. And I was proud of her.”
Blige’s tribute adds on to many posts and memories of Harrell from the hip hop community. On Monday, Diddy reflected on the tragedy on Instagram. Harrell gave Diddy his start as an intern for Uptown Records in the ‘90s. Harrell also served as Vice Chairman for REVOLT.
We at REVOLT continue to send our thoughts and prayers to Harrell’s family and friends. See Blige’s touching tribute to the music legend below.
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I don’t know where I would be if you didn’t believe in me. RIP @andreharrell ... This can’t be real. Thank you for helping me and loving me until the last days of your life. Rest easy my musical father. I will continue to do my very best to make you proud and continue to find joy and inspiration in your life and legacy. Another angel watching over me