DUARTE, Calif. — City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, announced today that its Music, Film and Entertainment Industry group will present its highest honor – The Spirit of Life® Award – to Sylvia Rhone, Chairman and CEO of Epic Records and one of the most successful executives in the music industry. The award will be presented at a gala dinner in the fall that is attended by the who’s who of the entertainment world. For additional info visit CityofHope.org/spiritoflife.
The award is one of the most prestigious in the music industry and has been given to such noted figures as Jon Platt, Mo Ostin, Clive Davis, Quincy Jones, Frances W. Preston, Shelli and Irving Azoff, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Doug Morris and Sir Lucian Grainge.
“I'm honored to receive The Spirit of Life Award and proud to be included in such a distinguished group of past honorees,” Rhone said. “City of Hope's extraordinary commitment and unparalleled approach to cancer and diabetes research and discovery of life-changing medical breakthroughs has impacted so many lives. I’m humbled to become part of such a heartfelt, inspiring mission and personally gratified to support its groundbreaking vision.”
“City of Hope is proud to honor Sylvia Rhone for her passion, her ability to inspire others, and her collaborative and inclusive leadership,” said Robert Stone, president and CEO of City of Hope. “A visionary leader of extraordinary character, she has blazed a trail across the music industry, and we are excited to recognize her outstanding work with our most prestigious philanthropic award.”
About Sylvia Rhone
Rhone is regarded as the most influential female executive in the history of the music business. Recipient of nearly three dozen honors and awards, Rhone is currently the Chairman and CEO of Epic Records, a division of Sony Entertainment. In an acclaimed career spanning more than four decades, Rhone has helmed senior positions at all three major record companies and was the first woman ever to be named CEO of a major record label owned by a Fortune 500 company, the first African American woman in history to attain such a title. Under Rhone’s leadership, the label has placed three artists simultaneously in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 Albums chart twice, with Travis Scott’s historic album “Astroworld” debuting at the top spot and returning to No. 1 again at the end of 2018. Rhone has guided multiple artists to the top of the charts at Epic Records, including Travis Scott, Camila Cabello, 21 Savage, Future, DJ Khaled, French Montana, Meghan Trainor and others. She has also been recognized for bringing unprecedented hip hop success to the label.
Rhone’s career reads like a virtual litany of groundbreaking accomplishments. In 1990, she became the first African American woman to head a major record company when she was named CEO/president of Atlantic's EastWest Records U.S. division. She masterminded multiplatinum successes of artists including En Vogue, Pantera, Levert, Das EFX and others. She became a major force at Atlantic Records in the 1980s and ‘90s. Her keen vision and business sense reinvigorated the label’s black music mission and contributed to the imprint being named No. 1 Black Music division by Billboard Magazine in 1988.
Rhone also has been credited for championing pivotal female hip hop trailblazers during her career, including the first female rapper to ever release a full-length album, MC Lyte, who released “Lyte as a Rock” in 1988. Rhone’s success in breaking through the artistic glass ceiling is emblematic of the empowered, genre-transforming female icons cultivated by her at multiple labels. Rhone launched five of the “31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop,” as designated by a 2014 Billboard Magazine article, including seminal groundbreaking artists Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Rah Digga, Yo Yo and Nicki Minaj.
In 1994, Rhone was appointed chairman/CEO of the Elektra Entertainment Group, the first African American woman to be named chairman of a label owned by a Fortune 500 company. During her decade-long tenure, she transformed the boutique label into one of the most eclectic and successful rosters in music. Rhone guided the careers of legendary artists such as Missy Elliott, Metallica, Tracy Chapman, ACDC, Third Eye Blind, Natalie Merchant and Busta Rhymes, among others.
Acclaimed throughout her music business career as a female executive trailblazer with few peers, Rhone is the recipient of more than three dozen awards and honors from the music business and the greater community at large, including being ranked 35th on Billboard’s Annual Power 100 List in 2019. In 2017, she was honored with the Harlem Business Alliance Award. In 2014, she was the first woman to receive the Music Business’ Association Presidential Award for Sustained Achievement. Her other awards include the 2012 Essence Black Women in Music Trailblazer Award and the 2011 Keepers of the Dream Award.
News and entertainment outlets have recognized Rhone’s contributions. In 2001 Ms. Magazine named Rhone Woman of the Year, along with Jane Fonda and Yoko Ono, among others. Rhone was one of four women recognized in Jet Magazine’s 50 Years of Progress issue, which chronicled the business achievements of prominent African Americans in the previous half century. Additionally, she has been featured on Entertainment Weekly’s Most Influential People list six times and The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power list nine times.
Rhone has been credited by noted Los Angeles Times writer and legendary music business journalist Chuck Phillips for “breaking the male bastion” of the music business. Phillips wrote, “Rhone’s ascent from secretary to label chief was no cakewalk, but rather a hard-won victory rife with racist and sexist encounters.” Additionally, a Miami Herald article designated Rhone as one of the “Twenty People Who changed Black Music” and heralded that she is “a living legend,” noting that her “knack for finding quality musicians and pairing them with quality projects is the legacy that Rhone will leave, though she is a far cry from leaving her final imprint on the business.”
About City of Hope’s Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group
Inspired by the guiding humanitarian principles of City of Hope and motivated by the institution's commitment to innovative medical research and compassionate patient care, a group of key industry executives founded the charity’s Music, Film and Entertainment Industry group in 1973.
In its 46-year history, the group has raised more than $124 million for City of Hope and has honored some of the most important figures in the music and entertainment industry.
Recent past honorees include Jon Platt, Warner/Chappell Chairman and CEO; Coran Capshaw, founder of Red Light Management; Joel A. Katz, chair of Global Entertainment and Media Practice of Greenberg Traurig; Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group; Frances W. Preston, former president and chief executive officer of BMI Music; Shelli and Irving Azoff, chairman and chief executive officer of Azoff MSG Entertainment; Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Apple's Internet Software Services; Rob Light, head of the music department, partner and managing director of Creative Artists Agency; and Doug Morris, former chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is ranked one of America's "Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
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