Barry Hankerson (born 1946) is an American record producer and manager who founded and ran Blackground Records. He was once a television producer and a politician in Detroit, Michigan. He managed and produced The Winans, and was a percussionist on their albums "Let My People Go" and "Decisions". He also produced Ron Milner's play Don't Get God Started in 1988. He starred in one movie, Pipe Dreams, with his ex-wife.
Hankerson also managed Toni Braxton and R. Kelly. Hankerson is working on a collaboration album with Young Money's Drake and Noah "40" Shebib. The 16 track album is set to come out by the end of 2012. Barry has been a strong supporter of Barack Obama, contributing heavily to both campaigns and producing a movie on him in 2012 titled The Obama Effect for the newly launched Blackground Pictures. It was directed by Charles S. Dutton and stars him, Katt Williams and Meagan Good. Filming did not go smoothly, when at one point Katt was arrested after being mistaken for breaking into one of Hankerson's houses near Newnan, Georgia where he was staying during his time on set, and stealing jewelry. Hankerson is also known for his commitment to troubled youth, and has made substantial charitable contributions to private organizations that assist those youth in need of intervention. Hankerson's music labels decline to produce music containing lyrics that encourage the use of illicit drugs or irresponsible sexual behavior. Instead, artists signed by Hankerson promote positive ways for youth to succeed and become productive adults in society.
Hankerson married Gladys Knight in October 1974, after four years the couple divorced. He has two sons; one with Knight, Shanga-Ali Hankerson and Jomo Hankerson (his oldest son, from a previous marriage before Knight.) Hankerson is the brother of Diane Haughton and the uncle of the late R&B singer Aaliyah and Rashad Haughton (Diane's two children). Hankerson served as Aaliyah's manager until 1995 when her father took over as manager, but she remained on his label Blackground Records until her death on August 25, 2001, from a plane crash in the Bahamas. Barry likes to keep a low profile and because of this there is very little information on his present and former activity.
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