Benny Medina

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Benny Medina
BennyMedinaHWOFMay2013.jpg
Medina in June 2013
Born (1958-01-24) January 24, 1958 (age 64)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationProducer
Years active1979–present

Benny Medina (born January 24, 1958) is an American record executive, talent manager, and television producer.

Early life and education[edit]

Medina was born in East Los Angeles, California, of Dominican parents into a poor family. The death of his mother and abandonment by his father resulted in him being placed into a number of foster homes, which he repeatedly ran away from before he and his siblings were taken in by his aunt. In his early teenage years, Medina dealt cannabis and amphetamines.

He befriended a wealthy white teenager, whose family in Beverly Hills allowed him to live in a refurbished garage behind their property. Medina then attended Beverly Hills High where he met Kerry Gordy and was a successful student. Medina's experiences of transferring to this wealthy environment is the loose basis for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.[1][2][3]

Career[edit]

Medina started his career with the group Apollo, who released their self-titled debut on Gordy/Motown in 1979. He was the lead singer. Other members included Kerry Gordy (keyboards), Cliff Liles (bass), Lenny Greene (drums) and Larry Robinson (guitar). Medina co-wrote three of the seven tracks, including “Astro Disco,” their best known track. The album was produced by Ray Singleton, former wife of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

At age 24, Medina became the head of A&R for Motown, working as a protégé to Berry Gordy. Under Gordy, Medina wrote and produced for legendary Motown acts such as The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Billy Preston, Rick James and Teena Marie.

Medina then moved on to Warner Bros. Records, where executive Mo Ostin tasked him to build and cultivate the careers of the company's urban artists as VP/GM of its urban-music division. While there, Medina collaborated with artists such as Ray Charles, Babyface, Prince, Chaka Khan, Madonna, Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac. He also worked with Naughty by Nature, Queen Latifah, De La Soul, Biz Markie, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shanté, and Monie Love.[4]

After leaving Warner Bros., Medina and longtime friend Jeff Pollack formed Medina/Pollack Entertainment, which grew into a full service management and production company. Among their projects were Booty Call, Above the Rim, and Maid in Manhattan.[5]

In early 2009, Medina formed The Medina Company.[6]

Management clients[edit]

Medina managed Jennifer Lopez, and along with then-head of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola, Medina launched Lopez's pop music career in 1999, after which, in 2003, at the height of her popularity, Lopez fired Medina and filed a complaint against him with California's labor commission.[3] As of 2008, Medina officially resumed his role as Lopez's manager,[7] and is also a godparent to her twin children.[7]

Other clients were also managed by Medina, including Tyra Banks, P. Diddy,[3] Mariah Carey, Brandy Norwood, and Usher Raymond.[8] Medina also managed singer-songwriter Vanessa Daou from 1996-1998 while the artist was signed to Krasnow Entertainment/MCA Records. When Daou chose to leave with label head Bob Krasnow and find a way out of her contractual obligations to MCA in 1998, Medina and his company Handprint Entertainmant, along with Daou, co-released the artist's internet-only album release 'Plutonium Glow'.

Sexual assault allegations[edit]

In November 2017, actor Jason Dottley accused Medina of attempting to rape him in December 2008.[9] Dottley stated the event happened at Medina's Los Angeles mansion after Medina gave Dottley and fellow actor T. Ashanti Mozelle a tour of the home.[10] Dottley stated in an interview with The Advocate that Anthony Rapp's recent sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey inspired him to come out with his "shameful secret."[11] Through his attorneys Howard Weitzman and Shawn Holley, Medina said in a statement, "Benny Medina categorically denies the allegation of attempted rape."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Medina is gay. In March 2007, he was ranked as one of Out.com's Top 50 Gays, coming in at spot 48.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Randolf, Laura B. (April 1991). The Real-Life Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 30–39.
  2. ^ "Will Smith in Pursuit of Excellence". black-collegian.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  3. ^ a b c Holson, Laura M. (July 14, 2003). "When Jenny Dumped Benny". The New York Times. p. C1. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  4. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (August 13, 2005). "Jennifer Lopez: The Diva from the Block". Time. Archived from the original on September 23, 2005. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  5. ^ "The Fighting Temptations". jonathanlynn.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  6. ^ "Doppelganger and Telepictures Productions Launch 'The Tyra Banks Show'". virtualworldsnews.com. Archived from the original on 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  7. ^ a b "Is Jennifer Lopez Moving In With Manager Benny Medina? The Two Purchase L.A. Home". Fox News. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2008-12-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Warner, Kara; Fernandez, Alexia (10 November 2017). "Top Music & TV Exec Benny Medina Accused of Sexual Attack: 'I Could Not Fight Him Off' Alleges Actor Jason Dottley". People. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  10. ^ Mandell, Andrea (10 November 2017). "J.Lo's manager, Benny Medina, denies man's allegation of attempted rape". USA Today. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  11. ^ Artavia, David (10 November 2017). "Sordid Lives Actor Alleges Mogul Benny Medina Tried to Rape Him". The Advocate. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  12. ^ McNiel, Liz (10 November 2017). "Top music, TV exec Benny Medina accused of sexual attack: 'I could not fight him off' alleges actor Jason Dottley". Yahoo. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  13. ^ Oxfield, Jesse, Idov, Michael (4 March 2007), ‘Out’ Ranks the Top 50 Gays; Anderson Is No. 2 Archived 6 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine, New York Magqazine. Retrieved 28 June 2007.

External links[edit]