In the News: Harlem Legend Dies at 93

Bobby Robinson left his mark on R&B and rap; all from his tiny Harlem record shop

The South Carolina native who opened the first black-owned business on 125th Street died on Friday at the age of 93.

Bobby Robinson opened Bobby’s Happy House in 1946 and sparked six decades of music history in Harlem. Five years after the shop opened, Robinson launched several record labels—Red Robin, Whirlin’ Disc, Fire, Fury and Enjoy.

The local business connoisseur has worked with legendary artists such as Gladys Knight and the Pips and Elmore James, and he became one of the first label owners to record rap music, working with artists like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Spoonie Gee and Dougie Fresh.

Robinson moved the shop from the original location in the late 1990s, but closed for good on Jan. 21, 2008, due to redevelopment plans issued by the landlord.

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