A Close Look at 'Q'

Was it a success? For Quincy and his family, there was a bitter aftermath, as "I had just begun to connect with Tupac Shakur, who was dating my daughter Kidada before he was gunned down in Las Vegas. Though we got off to a rocky start, as I came to know and feel him I saw his enormous potential and sensitivity as an artist and as a human being. I'll never forget that when he made an appointment to meet me at the Bel Air Hotel, he arrived promptly at ten, then left a message with the maître d' that he'd be back in a suit and tie. He wanted to greet me respectfully, not just as an artist and entrepreneur but as the father of the woman he loved. This is the side of Tupac that the media and his fans never saw, because of the mythology of the gangsta prose."

The deeper Quincy got involved in international humanitarian efforts, the more he came into close contact with several of the most powerful politicians of the late twentieth century. It's one thing to share studios with Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson; it's a whole different ballgame to be ushered into the confidences of heads of state throughout the globe. These included not just Nelson Mandela and Colin Powell, but also Archbishop Desmond Tutu and French president Jacques Chirac. Not the least of his high-powered friends is Bill Clinton, at whose 1993 inaugural celebration Quincy served as executive producer, in which film footage of Martin Luther King, Jr., was followed with a live performance by rapper LL Cool J.

"I was very pleased when Bill mentioned how he dug the correlation between Dr. King's protest of the '50s and LL Cool's protest of the '90s," says Quincy Jones in retrospect. "It's the same cloth." He's also pleased not only "that the president understood it, but that 500,000 other people did. They jumped to their feet when he hit that stage. They leaped off the ground when LL came out after Dr. King. It fit so organically, it was like a glove." Quincy later was executive producer of An American Celebration, a televised 2000 millennium concert, for Clinton as well.

"I think Quincy understood that if were really going to be the first kind of modern president, it wouldn't be enough to be the first rock'n'roll president, because that was my childhood," is how Clinton himself reacted. "I had to be the first president of all those young people who were old enough to vote and were, among other things, into rap music."

As you'd guess, Quincy's also teamed up with other music-minded folks in his philanthropic efforts, and in recent years, Quincy's often worked alongside Bono, the two sharing a passion for using their music and celebrity for positive sociopolitical change. "Bono is my brother from another mother," says Quincy when recalling how the pair met. "Bono told me how he had been influenced by [British band] New Order, who was on my [Qwest] label, from Manchester. We sat and talked until daylight, just totally bonded like that, and have ever since. We go all over the world together. He brought his whole family to the Millennium [extravaganza] when I produced it, to just sing one number, the song 'One.' We are partners in crime; there's nobody like him."

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