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LA Reid just needed a hug

Internets,In the 2000s, I worked in retail in an area that was hit hard by the methamphetamine epidem

Life in a Shanty Town

May 19 · Issue #5 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions


In the 2000s, I worked in retail in an area that was hit hard by the methamphetamine epidemic, but I’ve never seen someone let go from a job as quickly as LA Reid.

One day last week, LA Reid was the Chairman and CEO of Epic Records, and the next thing you know, Epic parent company Sony Music released a statement saying (and I’m paraphrasing), “LA Reid don’t work here no more. Don’t call here looking for him.”

It was a twist of fate befitting someone whose Christian name is LA, but not someone who’d ascended to such heights in the entertainment industry as LA Reid.

(Sidebar: One of the many problems with minimum wage jobs like I work is bill collectors calling up looking for tweakers who used to work there 10 years ago. If only it were possible to issue press releases about the career changes of regular people.)

Initially, they didn’t say why LA Reid was being let go, which caused me to wonder what he could have possibly done to be so swiftly kicked to the curb.

Usually, when someone is met by security at the door of their place of employment, as LA Reid probably was, it’s because they’ve been caught stealing. But why would LA Reid need to steal? He wrote the brilliant lyrics to the song “Every Little Step” by Bobby Brown. He sold LaFace Records to the TIs back when the music industry was still worth a shit. Him and Pebbles are probably still eating off of that first TLC album.

And it couldn’t have been a drug thing, because this is the music industry. The vast majority of people in the music industry are on either drugs or alcohol, if not both, and I’d argue that it’s the few people who aren’t whom you have to worry about. People who can’t have so much as a sip of alcohol are usually insane, on or off the booze. Cases in point would include Donald Trump and George W. Bush.

Come to find out, LA Reid tried to get one of his underlings to have sex with him, and now she’s threatening to sue. Supposedly, they went on a business trip together, and she was surprised to see that he’d only booked one hotel room, which, I’m actually kinda glad that didn’t work, because that seems almost too obvious. And then LA tried to get her to lay on the bed with him and give him a hug, which, if she did, arguably could be viewed as consent, right, Dallas Penn? LOL

The girl claims she complained to Sony and they didn’t do anything. She also says someone there warned her about going after LA Reid. Since this story came out the other day, it’s been rumored that Sony has quietly settled other cases like this for LA Reid and that he’s been known to purchase hookers for his employees, in a case of life imitating the movie True Romance.

On a possibly related note, whoever runs the Epic Records Instagram account posted, “We love you, LA Reid!,” but then took it down once it came out why he’d been let go.

It just so happens that I read LA Reid’s book, Sing to Me, or whatever it’s called, a while back, when I must not have had shit else better to do. It’s not half bad, for being an as-told-to memoir by someone from a reality show, but it’s not as revealing as I would have liked. You kinda have to read between the lines about things like Babyface’s ex-wife ruining his life, Bobby and Whitney’s drug use, what Pebbles bought with TLC’s publishing, so on and so forth.

One thing that is made clear is that LA Reid shits where he eats, like a damn pig. All of the girls he gets with, including both of his wives, are either people he was brought in to produce or people who were working for him in some capacity or another at his various record labels. And those are just the ones who are discussed in any detail. It’s implied that, in the time in between his two marriages, he made sweet, passionate love to many, many beautiful women.

It’s hardly surprising to me that LA Reid would try to have sex with one of his employees, though I question whether he’d present it as some sort of career-related quid pro quo. I doubt he’d fire the girl just because she turned him down, as painful as that can be—or so I’ve been told! Maybe she was an especially attractive woman, and he just wanted to have sex with her completely independent of her status as an employee at Epic Records. Would it be possible to successfully argue such a thing in court? I have no idea. I was pre-med.

Not that it matters to LA Reid. His career has already been destroyed. No way they’ll let him be a judge on another one of those televised singing contests. (But wasn’t Cee-Lo on one of those shows? LOL) It’s been rumored that he might become the CEO of Warner Music, but of course he’s gonna say that. He’s like a kid who got fired from Jimmy John’s telling his former co-workers he’s about to get a job at Subway, not realizing that Jimmy John’s makes you sign a no-compete. They don’t want Subway figuring out how to make a sandwich that doesn’t taste like garbage.

I read the other day that LA Reid, before he was let go, was the only black head of a major label. Def Jam is currently being run by a CAC (who I’m sure is a lovely person), and I think most of the other major labels are usually run by white people anyway. Sylvia Rhone, an African-American, is acting as interim CEO of Epic, and I’m thinking they might bring her on permanently, both because she’s a woman and because she’s black, provided she wasn’t involved in the cover up of this LA Reid mess.

Appointing a woman will be a good thing because it’ll make Sony Music seem less sexist. (Remember, they’re also wrapped up in that Ke$ha-Dr. Luke BS.) And hopefully installing a black nominal figurehead will keep black artists from wanting to jump ship. In his brief time as CEO, Reid had signed seemingly every third marginally viable black performer in the entire music industry. Black artists, other than Joe Budden, fuxwit LA Reid, because he was known to cut those checks, and I bet his parties were lit.

To think, all of that has come to an end, just because LA Reid needed a hug. Not that I blame the victim. Imagine how you’d feel if you had to have sex with a 60-year-old man just to keep your job.

Take it easy on yourself,

Bol Byron Crawford: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Books
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