Grammy Award Winner Jeff Redd Elected as Mount Vernon School Board Trustee in New York

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Music Legend Turns His Attention Towards Helping Young People During Tumultuous Times

Grammy Award Winner Jeff Redd Elected as Mount Vernon School Board Trustee in New York

Music Legend Turns His Attention Towards Helping Young People During Tumultuous Times

In the wee hours of the morning while many citizens slept, Jeff Redd was elected as a Mount Vernon School Board Trustee during one of the most competitive races in the city’s history.

Mount Vernon, which is considered the “jewel of Westchester County” is in a moment of rapid transformation and rebirth. The police department is currently under major scrutiny for abuses and corruption, bringing unwanted but necessary attention during a time of law enforcement reformation.

After an exhausting mayoral scandal, the four-square mile city elected its first- ever female candidate Shawn Patterson-Howard. Howard who is an experienced, influential African-American leader, was sworn into office in January leaving residents hopeful for real, tangible change during a time of uncertainty.

Jeff who is a Grammy Award winning executive producer and life-long resident, decided it was also time to be a part of the city’s change in his own way. After years of contributing to programs such as Summer Breeze, researching and planning different approaches, he began focusing his attention on the youth of the city. “If there is going to be any real change, our young people are going to help lead the way,” Jeff stated. He sees the nation’s youth organizations as a bridge to not only reaching young people, but also parents and caregivers. This connection can ultimately help stabilize the current and future state of generations to come economically, educationally, and socially.

With little time, Jeff decided to jump into the mail-in ballot race which had three vacant seats up for election. After receiving well over 4,000 ballots, Jeff was chosen along with one of his running mates Cynthia Turnquest.

To provide context, an appointment to the school board is significant because board members oversee and control a $256 million dollar budget which affects the lives of thousands of students, their families and organizations that provide services for them.

A LIFE OF HOMEGROWN DEDICATION
Jeff was born in White Plains, New York and moved to Mount Vernon with his parents, Samuel and Mary, and big sister Jacqueline (“Jackie”) when he was only two years old. Jeff’s father worked for the city of Scarsdale as a maintenance engineer and his mother was a homemaker for most of his life.

Samuel endured long working hours to make a house a home for his family, but always found joy at the end of the day listening to his two children sing some of his favorite songs. Both parents believed that their son had talent from an early age but during the racially tense times of the 60s and 70s, visions came with fear and apprehension. Mary was always fearful that the music industry was filled with drug abuse and did everything to protect her son from falling prey to it.

The family experienced a devastating setback when Samuel passed away at the early age of 32 in 1971, leaving Jeff with the burden of believing that he was now the man of the house. He struggled to deal with the sudden loss but found solace even more so in his love of music.

A PASSION FOR THE ARTS
One evening a friend of the family took Jeff and his sister to a show at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. It was the night that changed Jeff’s life forever. He was only 10 years old and had no idea of what to expect. The lights dimmed and a man’s voice yelled out, “Are you really ready for some super dynamite soul?” Then the crowd exploded after seeing the one and only James Brown. At that moment, Jeff knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Sing, perform and become a star.

Jeff went solely to Mount Vernon public schools throughout his childhood, pursuing music-related opportunities wherever possible. He attended Mount Vernon High School and later as an adult, he stayed close to home to take care of his family. He never gave up on his dreams of a music career and one day during a show at the historic nightclub, The Palace in New Rochelle, he was approached by a young music entrepreneur by the name of Andre Harrell. After seeing Jeff perform, Andre knew that he had to sign the velvet-voiced singer to his emerging music label, Uptown/MCA Records. Jeff worked on his first album called “A Quiet Storm” which was released two years later in 1990. The label contributed to the 1991 soundtrack for the movie Strictly Business starring Halle Berry and Tommy Davidson, making Jeff’s “You Called and Told Me” one of the most recognizable and beloved R&B songs of all time.

During his 30-year career of music and entertainment, Jeff never forgot how hard it was to become an artist, always taking time to help others “make it” as well. Even though he was working on his album, he still retained his job at General Motors in Tarrytown, New York. One day, his coworker, “Lil Jimmy” told Jeff that his talented daughter could really sing. Jeff accepted her cassette and after listening to a beautiful rendition of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture”, he knew that he had to get the tape to Andre. That young lady was Mary J. Blige. Andre then signed Mary to Uptown Records. The rest is R&B history.

Jeff and other label mates such as Mary, Heavy D, Al B. Sure, Jodeci, Horace Brown, Christopher Williams, Father MC and others went on to make their impact on the industry, thanks to the groundwork laid by its founder Andre. Shockingly, he died suddenly last month. Andre was in the midst of bringing the label’s story to life last month for an eagerly anticipated upcoming BET docuseries. His abrupt departure left family, friends and fans heartbroken wondering if the story would ever be told.

A BUSINESS LEADER DEDICATED TO HELPING OTHERS
Over the years, it is clear that Jeff not only has a passion for music but the business of it. He took a break from singing to become SVP of MCA Records, helping to produce artists such as Salt & Pepa, K-Ci & Jo-Jo, Bobby Brown, Regina Belle, Allure, Field Mobb and a host of others. His roster speaks of countless awards which continues to grow with the love and resurgence of 90s R&B and New Jack Swing music.

The proud father of four sons still performs for fans whenever possible. When asked if he has grown tired of performing, Jeff emphatically says NO. He enjoys entertaining and has used his music to also give back to others. For decades, Jeff has helped raise funds by contributing his talents to organizations, singing, hosting and being a spokesperson at events. He has even assisted political campaigns for many community leaders. His background as a music executive allowed him to be responsible for multi-million-dollar budgets which in turn aided in the way he has advised others on programs and curriculums.

A NEW NORM IN A POST PANDEMIC WORLD
Jeff is extremely concerned about how the pandemic has and will continue to affect students and their families. He has been researching the needs of the city’s young people for years and sees the School Board as a gateway to leveling the playing field for many. When students are disenfranchised, hungry and underserved, it can create a lifetime of feeling disconnected. Jeff feels that he received a solid education from his beloved city, but in the era of social distance learning and rapidly growing technology there is room for major improvement. “Our students need help now, not later. We must have ongoing structures and services in place to keep them safe, secure and healthy, mentally, socially and physically,” Jeff emphasized.

The candidate elect is also very encouraged by the revolutionary, global mindset of today’s young people. He honestly believes the young people will lead the way towards a brighter future, and no great change comes without struggle. Jeff’s purpose and passion arrives as a breath of fresh air and will most definitely contribute to the city’s continued success.

Contact: Theresa O’Neal
Global Spectrum Group LLC
theresaponeal@gmail.com
917-445-7495

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THERESA O'NEAL
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