|Country of origin||United States|
Blackground Records is an American record label owned by entertainment attorney and artist manager Barry Hankerson and his son Jomo Hankerson. It operated as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, and was distributed by Interscope Records in 2009.
In 1993, Hankerson formed the label, and Aaliyah became its first signee. At the time, Hankerson was managing R. Kelly, and was able to get his label Jive Records to distribute Blackground's releases. In 1996, Blackground obtained a lucrative distribution deal with Atlantic Records, just before the release of Aaliyah's second album, One In A Million.
Often playing distributor hopscotch, in 2000, Blackground switched over to Virgin Records. One year later, it moved again, this time finding a home at Universal Motown Records Group. In 2001, after the death of Aaliyah her self-titled and final album Aaliyah rose to number one on the Billboard 200 and became the first album who reached number one and best-selling record from Blackground Records. Aaliyah sold over 32 million albums worldwide.
In 2003, JoJo was signed to Blackground. JoJo released her first self-titled album JoJo in 2004, went number four on the Billboard 200 and was certified with Platinum. In 2006, she released her sophomore album The High Road, which debuted number three on the Billboard 200 and was certified with Gold. To date, JoJo sold over 5 million records worldwide. Her singles "Leave (Get Out)" produced by Soulshock & Karlin and "Too Little Too Late" produced by Billy Steinberg were her huge hits worldwide.
In 2010, Blackground partnered with former Universal Motown Senior Vice President of Promotion Gary Marella to distribute his new label Roma Records. Their first signing is Jordy Towers, who formerly went by the name Optimus. He is now doing his own thing in the new band SomeKindaWonderful. Later this year, Blackground signed a new artist Crystal Nicole better known as Cri$tyle, who began her career as a songwriter and has written songs for Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Keke Palmer and many more. In June 2011, Crystal released her first single "Pinch Me", which was produced by Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox.