Gary Byrd


Nana Imhotep Gary Byrd was born in Buffalo, New York. He was a precocious child and had an early interest in communications. His public speaking started at the age of 7 when he was assigned the daily responsibility of making announcements over the public address system in his elementary school. He won the citywide oratonical championship at the age of 13 and he won the Jane Keeler Scholarship for the Theater Arts at the age of 16. In the interim, Hank Cameron, a respected media personality trained Byrd at the age of 14. At the same time, Gerry Bledsoe hired him for an on-air job on WUFO-AM. He subsequently became the first person of African Ancestry to broadcast as a Black Pop cross-over D.J. in the Buffalo general market on WYSL-FM.

The "GBE" (The Gary Byrd Experience) started on WWRL-AM in 1969 making it the longest running show on New York City Black Radio. His early ingenuity and innovative techniques firmly established his as a forerunner of the rap music era. He commenced to skillfully mix music and messages back in 1969. his deliberate consciousness-raising messages are highlighted through his own works and the works of many artists including but not limited to Stevie Wonder's performances of "Dark and Lovely" and "Blackman," and George Michael's tribute to Nelson Mandela in "Village Ghetto Land" . "The Crown," an international rap hit recorded by Byrd on Stevei Wonder's Wondirection label is the longest playing 12 inch LP record to make the top 5 chart in the history of the British chart.

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