Music Executive Vernon Slaughter Dead at 63

Vernon L. Slaughter, a pivotal pioneer of the modern black music industry, died on April 22 of kidney failure in Phoenix. He was 63.

Born in Omaha on Nov. 10, 1950, Slaughter broke into the industry as a college rep for CBS Records and later became a local promotion manager for the label in Baltimore/Washington, D.C. When CBS launched its black music marketing department in 1977 -- the first such dedicated marketing division at a major label -- Slaughter was appointed VP of the department. Heading up black music and jazz promotion over the next 10 years, he helped foster the growth and development of many artists, including Michael Jackson and Herbie Hancock.

After leaving CBS, Slaughter segued to A&M Records as VP of R&B promotion and then to LaFace Records as VP/GM. Leaving the industry to earn a law degree, Slaughter practiced entertainment law for the next 20 years. That second career included stints with Greenberg Traurig and Patterson & Associates.

Slaughter is survived by sons Christopher and Michael, among other relatives. Services are still being arranged but will take place in Omaha.


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