Andre Harrell‘s ex-wife Wendy Credle said her former partner once stated that he wanted a party to celebrate his life after he passed, not a sad funeral. His wishes will be honored on Sunday, May 24, when a host of celebrities pay tribute to him in a commercial-free television event that will include a party-style theme true to Harrell’s nickname, “Mr. Champagne and Bubbles.”
The influential music executive and founder of Uptown Records died on May 7 at 59 years old of heart failure.
The tribute will be broadcast on BET, Fox Soul, iONE digital brands, and REVOLT, where Harrell was media & TV’s vice chairman. It starts at 7 p.m. EST, with his son Gianni Credle-Harrell, Gianni’s mother Wendy Credle, and Rikki Hughes as executive producers.
Jamie Foxx is scheduled to appear, along with Mariah Carey, Chris Rock, Babyface, Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons, Lee Daniels, Naomi Campbell, and others.
“There is a divine message when a soul as bright as Andre’s — Mr. Champagne and Bubbles — the official life of the party, chooses to transition during a time when so many people, whose lives he touched so deeply, cannot get together to console each other, to share joy-filled stories, and to do the ‘hampty hamps’ two-step in the name of his love,” said Wendy Credle in a statement .
“This tribute is Andre’s gift to him and all of us,” she added. “When his day came, Andre said, ‘Listen, if they ain’t playing Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go” at my funeral, guess what? I ain’t going.’ He said, ‘I don’t want a funeral. I want a party.’ Well, Andre, in the words of Frankie, ‘You made us happy, this you can bet / You stood right beside us, and we won’t forget.’ ”
Before working behind the scenes, Harrell started as one-half of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, releasing the album “Champagne of Rap.”
In 1983, he became vice president of Def Jam Records, then general manager. He founded Uptown Records three years later, where he’d launch the careers of artists like Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Guy, and Al B. Sure. After leaving Uptown in 1995, he became CEO of Motown Records.
He also expanded into television and film — creating and serving as executive producer of the 1990s television drama “New York Undercover.”
Additionally, Harrell gave Sean “Diddy” Combs his start in the music business, as Combs was an intern at Uptown before he launched Bad Boy Records. Combs posted a heartfelt message about his mentor four days after his death.
Combs’ latest post about Harrell came on Tuesday, May 19 on Instagram. It’s a video of Harrell dancing with his ex and mother of his children Kim Porter, who died from pneumonia in 2018.
“SAVE ME A DANCE!! @ladykp @andreharrell 💔 I PROMISE Y’ALL I’M GOING TO FINISH WHAT WE STARTED!!! REST IN POWER. Sh*t done got REAL!!!! ✊🏿🖤,” wrote Combs.