For Immediate Release
Contact: Cheryl Mizell
MIZELL: A Family Whose Talents Span
From Michael Jackson to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Miami -- The talents of the Mizell family have had quite an impact not only on South Florida, but the world... Fonce Mizell, as part of the 4 member team at Motown Records known as “The Corporation,” produced and wrote the songs that brought international fame to Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” “Mamas Pearl” and “Ben.” He also produced and wrote for several other Motown acts including Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, Martha and The Vandellas and Bobby Darin. Along with many Platinum and Gold record awards, Grammy nominations for the group and the records, he has been the recent recipient of several ASCAP awards and nominations for Record of the Year for the use of his songs by Naughty By Nature – “O.P.P.,” Jay Z, and Lil Romeo – “My Baby.” Recently a British film crew from the BBC spent an afternoon at the Mizell Studios in Altadena interviewing Fonce on film for an international broadcast.
As a songwriter/producer Larry Mizell, along with brother Fonce, wrote and produced Donald Byrd’s Grammy nominated “Blackbyrd” which became the biggest selling album in Blue Note Records' history and helped create the Jazz Fusion genre. They also produced/wrote for The Blackbyrds, The Reverend Rance Allen Group (Gospel), “Love Ballad” for LTD featuring Jeffrey Osborne, and they brought Taste of Honey to Capitol Records and produced their platinum hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (the group won the best new artist Grammy that year). Larry’s Motown songwriting credits include The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson. Amazing also to note, Larry as an electrical engineer, presented his technical paper about a little known compound "Liquid Crystals" at the International Conference on Microelectronics in Munich, Germany in 1970 extolling the future benefits and uses of “Liquid Crystals” as heat sensors and low cost displays. Today, these compounds are ubiquitous in digital watches, Palm Pilots and liquid crystal displays (LCD).
Fonce and Larry also produced and, with brother Rod Mizell, wrote the Billboard charted single “Gigolo” for Mary Wells. Rod also co-wrote several compositions for many of the projects produced by their company, Skyhigh Productions including Love To The World by LTD .
Rodney, Fonce and Larry currently license their AlRuby Music Catalogue (administered worldwide by Universal Music) to movie soundtracks, TV/ radio commercials and recording artists, including the movies “How Stella Got Her Groove On,” “Poetic Justice,” “Above The Rim", “New Jack City” and the recording artists Will Smith, 2Pac, Kid Rock, D.J. Quik, Ice Cube, Ice T, The Roots, Tevin Campbell, Digable Planets, Brand Nubian, A Tribe called Quest, Us 3,Tone Loc, Miles Davis and many others.
Another family member, Don Mizell, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, graduated from Harvard Law School and was co-founder of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) in 1979. Don was VP/General Manager at Elektra Records where he launched the JazzFusion label in 1977 (a term he coined which became a Grammy category in 1980). During his tenure at Elektra, he served as Executive Producer for the albums of many significant artists, including platinum Grammy-winner Grover Washington, Pieces of a Dream, Lee Ritenour, DeeDee Bridgewater, Sergio Mendes, Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, Patrice Rushen and more. After Elektra, Don was hired in 1980 by Stevie Wonder as VP/ General Mgr/Program Director of KJLH-FM in California, served as chief strategist/marketing consultant and speechwriter in Stevie's persuasive campaign which had a direct impact on Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday becoming a national holiday. He was one of the first recipients of the NAACP Image Award for his work on the MLK Day campaign. In 1990, he produced the platinum-selling “Sebastian” (sequel to the “Little Mermaid” soundtrack) for the Walt Disney Company.
Although the spelling of her last name is slightly different, Cindy Mizelle is definitely a member of the family. She currently tours as a key background vocalist with platinum pop artist, Luther Vandross. Former tours have included the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston and Dave Mathews. Among her solo credits is a full length self titled CD which features a duet with Gerald Levert. Cindy’s skills as a studio recording artist are legendary. Her voice can be heard as a background vocalist on over 114 CDs recorded by major artists including Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Aretha Franklin, Vanessa Williams, The Rolling Stones, Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Will Downing, Phyllis Hyman, Jonathan Butler, Johnny Gill, Mariah Carey, Duran Duran, Kool & The Gang, Al Green, B.B. King, L.L. Cool J., Al Jarreau, Freddie Jackson, Grace Jones, Ronnie Spector and Angela Bofill.
At age 10, Lil’ Mama, born Sharell Lewis is probably the youngest member of the family to go on tour. She’s claiming her fame as the first little princess of hip-hop while still making the honor-roll, cheerleading, and running track at school. She has graced the stage with a few popular artists, such as Busta Rhymes and more recently opened shows for Lil’ Romeo, with appearances and performances in Brooklyn, Queens, Miami, Atlanta and many more cities. She’s performed on the “Jenny Jones Show” and is also scheduled to play a leading role as Aisha in an upcoming movie, “Jabari and the King’s Heart,” which is based on a fictional children’s novel, written by E.G. Lovett. Currently, Lil’ Mama is on a promotional tour covering most of the skating centers around the country, and accumulating a huge fan base in every city she visits with kids who are magnetized by her presence and performances.
Locally the Mizells have also made significant historical contributions to both Dade and Broward Counties. In 1985 Dewey Knight, Jr. became the first person and the first black to serve as Deputy County Manager of Miami-Dade County. From 1970 – 1985, he served as the first black assistant county manager. He was also the first black department director of what was previously known as the Welfare Department for the county. Highway 112 which leads from Miami Airport to I-95 has been named in his memory.
Isadore Mizell built the first school for blacks in Broward in 1915. A boulevard in Dania bears his name. His son, Dr. Von D. Mizell, founded and led the Broward chapter of the NAACP through the tumultuous years of the civil-rights movement. Dr. Mizell fought to get health care and a hospital at a time when blacks were literally being treated on the front lawn of Old Memorial Hospital because they were refused services. He pressed to keep black schools open during the harvest seasons so that black children could be educated properly. And if that weren’t enough, he led the wade in that integrated the beaches and other public facilities. A Broward county library in Ft. Lauderdale is named in his honor.
Today, the Mizells have several high profile local family members including, Dewey Knight, III, Vice-President of Knight-Perry International, a governmental consulting group based in Miami and President of World Wide Concessions based in Miami Int'l Airport. He was selected by Ebony Magazine in 1993 as one of 30 leaders of the future.
Cheryl Mizell is the Sunday afternoon On-Air Personality, Public Service Director and host of the talk show, “Community Voices” on WEDR 99 JAMZ, Miami’s number 1 Arbitron rated radio station for nearly 12 years. Besides her position at WEDR she is a national freelance voice-over actress whose clients include Proctor & Gamble, Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Marshalls, The Discovery Channel, Flori Roberts, Windmere, Federated Dept. Stores and more. As a writer, she authored “In-Store Play,” a former retail column in “Jack-the-Rapper,” a national radio and records trade publication
Milton Anthony Mizell, a talented graphic artist, is the Superintendent of the City of Miami's Graphic Reproductions Division. He is credited with designing the first official tourism poster produced by the City of Miami, redesigning the Miami Police Department fleet signage and Art Direction and design on over 50 CD covers for various local and national artists.
Derek Andrews, a native of Dania, FL is the co-owner of Con Artist Recordings, located in Hollywood, Fl. Since 1991, his company has sold over a half million records independently and expanded their fan club to over 20,000 people. Derek produces all the CDs for Con Artist Recordings which are mainly bass, techno, instrumental and dance music. As a writer, he wrote his first book at age 27, a text book entitled "African Americans in the Classroom and Individuality," published by Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich.
In 1983, Beverly Mizell led her family owned business, Mizell Records, to become a Billboard Reporter and nationally noted among independent Black retailers before closing in ’94. Mizell Records was located in Miami and with exposure to over 3000 people in the average week, was largely recognized for its ability to break new music and its annual showcases featuring local and national talent. Mizell Records was celebrated with many gold and platinum records for their sales and praised publicly through newspaper articles and national trade magazines.
Mamie Lingo is an Art Director for “The Miami Herald's” in-house marketing division, "Herald Creative." This area is responsible for promoting the Herald through print, web, television and radio and extends its services to outside accounts throughout Florida. Mamie has been in design for more than 20 years, working at two Miami based ad agencies prior to her 11 years at the “Herald.” Freelance clients include public relations firms, business organizations and private accounts throughout South Florida. Awards and honors include the International Ad Federation's “Addy Awards.”
Sheila Milner is the Director of Maxximum Force, a state of the art dance studio located off of I-75 in Weston. She served as a guest choreographer for the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders squad and went on to become the charter director of the Junior Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. There she established a quality dance and cheer programs for young ladies ages 6-14. Under her direction, the program performed for many audiences throughout the South Florida area, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
Today, the Mizells have learned how to combine their knowledge, skills and strengths to establish their family reunions as an effective nationwide network to benefit the entire family. They will hold their bi-annual family reunion and conference Aug. 7-11 at the Radisson Deauville on Miami Beach. The reunion-conference is designed to promote the growth and development of all family members. In addition to the traditional reunion events, the Mizells include a dreambuilding session that partners youth with adults with common career interests, a family financial seminar, a health dialogue, storytelling, family history play, and a family expo to display to books, music and other important family accomplishments.that help to build family pride.
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