On a brisk Atlanta night, a new generation of cool eagerly scurries in line to secure entrance to the "Hello World" launch event and listening lounge sure to usher fresh faces into the ever evasive limelight.
Lost on some attendees who were more than likely negotiating daycare when ATL first became a Billboard staple, was the historic implication of the moment. On March 20, 2009, the torch had officially been passed.
Very rarely is legacy truly appreciated, but what was once considered "old" is often "new" again. Industry veteran LA Reid and Babyface jumped ship to ATL in the early 90s and music lovers have lauded the fruits of their labor (Outkast, Usher, TLC) for well over a decade.
It makes since that Reid's son, Aaron, a student at Morehouse College, would settle his burgeoning empire, YEEC (Young Entrepreneurs Empowerment Coalition), on fertile red clay. Being the proud son of Def Jam Chairman Reid and singer/songwriter Pebbles gives you the kind of access of folks twice your age.
"Aaron has always had an incredible passion and love for music and I'm proud that he's putting his talents towards discovering the next generation of superstars and I am behind him 1000%," states the elder Reid.
Still reaping the benefits of his Sweet 16 appearance on MTV, Reid and his YEEC partners, James Smith and Jason Johnson, hosted a cross generational shindig with popular gaming collective Konsole Kingz, Atlanta based high end sneaker joint Laced Up, and industry vets Dallas Austin, Kawan Prather, Shakespear, and Chaka Zulu, and Letoya Luckett trading hugs and high fives. Musical soundtracks were provided by a bevy of acts including Rich Hill (son of Tommy Hilfiger), Ray Lavender, and Unique.
YEEC seeks to empower new voices and leaders through activism, financial literacy, and industry mentorship as media darlings Angela and Vanessa Simmons, Teyanna Taylor, and Jo Jo Simmons have already given their stamp of approval.
For more information, visit Aaron Reid’s Young Entrepreneurs Empowerment Coalition (YEEC).