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Legendary Hip-Hop DJ Mister Cee Has Died

After you write so many obits, it’s easy to become numb, probably as a way to protect your sanity since we have lost so many in our industry. However, there are those passings that carry an extra load when it’s someone beyond significant who has made enormous contributions to our industry, like Mister Cee.

mister cee

Mister Cee, courtesy of Hot 97

Mister Cee (Calvin LeBrun) worked for Hot 97 for 21 years. He was the DJ for Big Daddy Kane and an instrumental figure in launching the career of The Notorious B.I.G. He was also behind popular shows like “Throwback at Noon” and “Friday Night Live.” He is remembered for his influence on NYC’s hip-hop scene and for bringing joy to listeners.

Mister Cee was a legend to many, not just in the Hip-Hop community but also in the LGBTQ-Black community. He was outed when he crossed paths with a drag queen for the third time on the streets, who got on the socials and exposed him for trying to pick her/them up.

Mister Cee was made to believe he had a problem and that something was wrong with him, and he carried a heavy burden with the guilt that was associated with the arrests.

Finally, he bravely confronted the situation when he did an outstanding interview with Ebro Darden on Hot 97 about it. He admitted the infractions and broke down crying during the interview. He bared his soul. There are FEW moments that I can recall in radio that make you pull off the road to listen, and this was one of them.

I won’t post it here at this time, but knowing how homophobic the black community has been, especially in Hip-Hop, you could hear the angst in his voice as he was tired of hiding who he was. This situation was not the totality of who he was, but it certainly made headlines, and as we now know, he is not the only person in the industry or hip-hop who is attracted to trans people.

There are many awards given every year to radio people who, let’s face it, only get them because the company can sell ads for them. These people are not always significant; they just work for the right companies. Sadly, when you come across a REAL radio segment that is extremely deserving of recognition like something that you would hear on public radio, like this one, it’s swept under the rug. Mister Cee, Ebro, and Hot 97 should have been more recognized for the segment.

I’m not sure what kind of response that interview got. I know AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) contacted him and wanted him to be a spokesman for the organization to help curve skyrocketing HIV cases in the black community. Mister Cee did what he loved, but the love was not always reciprocal when it came to hip-hop, so he did what he had to do to survive. I did interview him a couple of years ago, and hopefully, I can find the interview to post this week. Well done, sir. Rest in Peace legend.

Kevin Ross
Kevin Ross
Kevin Ross is the CEO of Radio Facts. He is a music and radio industry vet who has been a programmer and a radio host in several markets like Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and more. He started The Industry Dot Biz in 1995 as a voice for Black industry executives to have a voice in the industry. Ross is a musician, writer, voice talent, and author. The Industry Dot Biz is currently the largest urban industry trade and site.

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