Barry Hankerson

Barry Hankerson
Born 1946 (age 6970)
Occupation(s) Record producer
Years active 1988–present
Labels Blackground

Barry Hankerson (born 1946) is an American record producer and manager who founded and ran Blackground Records.[1]


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.[1] He managed and produced The Winans, and was a percussionist on their albums Let My People Go and Decisions. Hankerson also managed Toni Braxton and R. Kelly.

He was once a television producer and a politician in Detroit, Michigan. 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.[2] He starred in one movie, Pipe Dreams, with his ex-wife. He also produced Ron Milner's play Don't Get God Started in 1988.

Personal life

Hankerson married Gladys Knight in October 1974; after four years the couple divorced.[3][4] He has two sons; one with Knight, Shanga-Ali Hankerson[3] and Jomo Hankerson[4] (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 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.


  1. 1 2 Asante, David (8 October 2012). "That Grape Juice Interviews Barry Hankerson ( Aaliyah's Uncle / BlackGround CEO)". That Grape Juice. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  3. 1 2 "Gladys Knight". HighBeam™ Research, Inc. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Neither One of Us". Blast from the Past. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
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