Illmore Records

Never forgetting where we come from. 

Katherine Alicia Walker Black-Alleyne

March 29, 1957-April 6, 2000 

RIP African Queen 

 In the time that I had with my mother during her short lifetime, I feel there are three words that could accurately describe her to a stranger; they would be hard-working, devoted and selfless. Katherine was a highly dedicated woman, who poured her full self into everything that she did and this started with the five children that she would have in her lifetime. Curtis Lee Black(3rd), Eric Lamonte Black, Dessiree Denise Black, Jeremy Scott Black & Aaron Alexander Alleyne. The first four were with her first husband Curtis Lee Black the 2nd and her youngest was with her second husband famed Canadian Jazz musician Archie Alleyne.  She also mothered four other children, Tyyra Alleyne, Trinaa Alleyne, Tessama Alleyne and Ronnie Alleyne. Now she has fifteen grandchildren trotting the globe. What was amazing about her to me was the amount of love that she had to give and her bottomless intellect. She always seemed to be putting everyone else first even when it was to her own determent and there was nothing out there that she didn't know something about. Any subject that you brought up, she could school you on it or talk confidently on the subject matter and add to whatever conversation. Katherine was a great writer, who had everything from started scripts, finished but unpublished books and her magazine, Ember, which did launch back in 1991. This was her baby, which was released with success and she always had plans to reboot it after a short hiatus. Look for her daughters Dessiree and Tessama to reboot the magazine with an online version of it, in May 2012. Katherine managed to push this magazine out despite the obstacles of juggling a mortgage, working full time, going to university to upgrade herself and raising a bunch of young children. Even with that said she even met with resistance from established magazines as she looked for guidance, on entering this competitive field. No support for the new kid on the block. The thing I find most inspiring is that Katherine,-my mother- battled through whatever life tossed her way in forty-three years and pretty much came through each challenge smelling like roses and with a smile. She still tackled her dreams and got them, despite the obvious hardships. Even with the successful launch and coming reboot of Ember, the greatest story that Katherine ever wrote, will be her love and drive to keep the family dynamic together. Her children are her legacy and this story continues to write itself. Katherine lives on in all of us as she is the backbone in myself, Illmore and all future endeavours. Katherine still lives on and her Ember shall always burn bright!

      

Article on my Mom and her magazine around the time of it's release. 

Blood is thicker than water. 

Curtis Lee Black the 2nd

April 26, 19??- Still going strong

 

 Spending forty plus years in the music industry is abit more than paying your dues; it means that you have earned every accolade that you have every received, that you have a don't quit attitude and that you have an intense love for what you're doing. If anyone could bring the lunch pail, hard hat mentality to the music industry, it definitely would be Curtis L Black the 2nd. Born in Alabama and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., the blue collar background and surroundings definitely shows up in Curtis' work ethic. A very hard-working father of four. How many times during the holidays can I remember my dad, after work, taking a quick cat nap, where ever he could find a space, at Christmas dinner, before joining the festivities. Plus this would probably be preceding him heading off to work that night at either a bar or radio station. When people made jokes about individuals having three or four jobs that was no joke to me, because that is my father. While he balanced a full time job in the financial sector, Curtis put just as much time and energy into his real passion, music. It started at age 10, with his first guitar lessons and since there's been no stop to his grind within the industry. Rather it was singing(bass & baritone), playing in school bands and choirs, directing church choirs, or the slew of bands that he was a part of in the 70's & 80's. As 1990 rolled around, Curtis joined the team at legendary radio station WUFO and has been a fixture there ever since. Working at the radio station allowed him to gain further industry knowledge and contacts. Noticing that the stations were not playing much local or soul blues, Curtis took the initiative to start his own radio and television shows both titled the "Rhythm & Blues Revue". This gave a voice to not only the local community and events but also national blues and r&b artists, who often don't get the exposure. His tv show has continued to grow and is viewable not only in Buffalo (on channel 20 8pm Thursdays & 11pm Sundays, while 11:35pm Wednesdays in the suburbs)but also in Manhattan, N.Y., Chicago, Tennessee, California & parts of Canada. His radio show still airs on WUFO 1080 on Saturdays between 3pm to 6pm. So rather it's his local work or national work-interviewing artists, doing historical documentaries for the school system, endless commercials or helping bring the Memphis in May celebration or the W.C. Handy blues awards to the air,etc- he continues to work tireless and it is these efforts that deservedly landed him in the Buffalo Hall of Fame, back in 2004. Now adding video production and animation to his resume-under B.I.B. Productions- and with his show now titled CLBTV, gaining views on youtube as well, Curtis is still on the move. With this being the first part of my dad's journey into the music/industry, I can't wait to see what the second part has to bring!







A picture of Curtis Lee Black, with his brothers James(on the left) and Frank (on the right) receiving his Buffalo Hall of Fame award.