Two of music’s biggest names who were perhaps closest to Andre Harrell have broken their silence.
Both Diddy and Mary J. Blige took a few days to gather their thoughts on their shared mentor but they opened up about losing the Uptown Records founder on Monday (May 11). Via Instagram, Diddy shared a touching tribute to Harrell, including a video of the Bad Boy impresario thanking Harrell for giving him his initial opportunity at Uptown.
“Dre, I’m only standing up here because you gave me a chance,” he says tearfully. “But most importantly, what we all have to do, as a black man, you took me underneath your wing and was patient with me and you taught me and you talked to me and you taught me about the game … you believed in me.”
The sentiment remained in his caption as he wrote, “I honestly still can’t believe it. I’ve got to give myself the reality of this in doses. Because I can’t even handle this. I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me.”
Mary echoed Diddy’s sentiments. Harrell had signed Blige as a background vocalist to Uptown Records in 1989, the first woman signed to the imprint. Three years later, she exploded on the R&B scene with “Real Love” and began a historic career of hip-hop soul dominance. She shared a video to her Instagram account of a talk show appearance in the ’90s where Harrell explains how he saw Blige evolve from a young woman to “a real lady.”
She captioned the post, “I don’t know where I would be if you didn’t believe in me. RIP @andreharrell … This can’t be real. Thank you for helping me and loving me until the last days of your life. Rest easy my musical father. I will continue to do my very best to make you proud and continue to find joy and inspiration in your life and legacy. Another angel watching over me.”
Harrell passed away last Thursday (May 7) at his West Hollywood, California home of heart failure. He was 59.