The Soul Train Music Awards, which were held in Atlanta recently, paid tribute to LaFace Records. The fact that the city hosting the widely televised event also happened to be the birthplace of LaFace Records, made it that much more personal for the record company’s founders Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. The record label earned its stripes in the music industry by signing artists like TLC, Toni Braxton, Dallas Austin, Pink, Donnel Jones and hip-hop greats Jermaine Dupri, OutKast and Usher.
While Soul Train planned their tribute, a couple of LaFace’s former employees, Shanti Das, a former Universal Motown executive and Kawan “KP” Prather, president of Ghetto-Vision Records, were preparing their own LaFace celebration, which was held at the Uptown Restaurant in Atlanta.
Queried about LaFace’s impact on Atlanta’s music scene, KP responded, “At that time Atlanta was a talent show town with no outlet … LaFace [became] that outlet. L.A. put his arms around a lot of people like me, Organized Noize, Jermaine Dupri, [and] Dallas Austin, and taught us how to touch and teach others in a way that has kept that mantra going even today. At the end of the day, it’s about having a place where people are comfortable to create.”
Past LaFace employees from around the country attended the invitation-only LaFace family reunion.