ENTERTAINMENT GIANT AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST DIES AT THE AGE OF 71
William “Bill” Cherry, a promotions icon who worked with the best artists/musicians/politicians/comedians for the past fifty (50) years — forcing a nation to recognize blacks and their roles in society and in the entertainment industry — died today at his Durham, NC home. The 71-year-old entertainment icon died doing what he loved – working at his computer to promote entertainers!
“He had the ability to make people stars and not get in their spotlights. He was a master builder,” Reverend Al Sharpton said of Bill Cherry’s promotions work. “I’ve known Mr. Cherry since I was 13-years-old. He has helped me literally all my life: he helped me with my first run for President; he got Richard Roundtree (Shaft) to do a fundraiser to get me started with my New York Bread Basket; and at that time, Shaft was the biggest thing in the world. He (Bill) believed in people and he believed in the cause of the African-Americans, said Sharpton. “Bill Cherry was a renowned man, an excellent promoter who used ‘show business’ to organize social justice. He realized the cause was more important than the money.”
Reverend Jesse Jackson, a friend for more than forty (40) years said Bill Cherry was a creative genius. “After Dr. King’s assassination there were marches, riots, and a chance for some terrible violence; but, Bill Cherry was on the other side of that. Bill Cherry used his creativity to turn the situation around and to begin building coalitions, to heal wounds and to create warmth and productivity”. Reverend Jackson said Mr. Cherry’s work in the entertainment field was unmatchable. “Bill had knowledge of the industry. He worked with the Supremes, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes and the Barkays. He also had a working relationship not just with the artists, but with their managers and agents. And his relationships made him a superb communicator and an excellent coordinator. I thank his family for sharing him with us for so many years. He meant so much to so many of us!”