A.D. Washington, a veteran R&B/hip-hop record promotion executive, died Nov. 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas of undetermined causes during a brief hospitalization. He was 77. Funeral services are pending.
As senior VP of promotion at MCA Records, Washington helped usher in the New Jack Swing era in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s with Guy and its frontman Teddy Riley. While at the label, Washington also worked on projects by acts such as New Edition, Patti LaBelle, Bobby Brown, Mary J. Blige, Jody Watley, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Jodeci and Heavy D. Washington’s career resumé includes senior executive positions at Warner Bros. and Capitol Records. At the time of his death, he was operating his own entertainment consulting company, AD Barak Corporation.
Born on July 10, 1940 in Scott, Arkansas, Washington attended St. Bartholomew’s High School before receiving a bachelor of social science degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway. That led to Washington joining the Arkansas Housing and Urban Development department under then-Governor Bill Clinton in the ‘80s. He segued into the music industry with a job at Stax Records before relocating to Los Angeles to work at MCA.
Washington was the longest-serving chairman of the Living Legends Foundation, guiding the non-profit music industry organization from 1998-2011. He was also a life member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and the NAACP.
Washington is survived by his father William Ferguson, son Kevin Jones, sisters Classie Ferguson and Irma Ferguson and a host of extended family and friends. His wife Elese and his mother Ida Belle preceded Washington in death. Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.