Sidney Miller Jr., the Black Radio Exclusive (BRE) magazine and conference founder, died at 89. An exact cause of death hasn’t been revealed, EUR Web reports.
Miller is credited with launching one of the first major magazines focused on Black music. He started playing trumpet as a pre-med major at Florida A&M University while booking bands at clubs along the East Coast on the side.
After graduation, All Access reports that the Pensacola, Florida, native served in the US Army and continued playing and booking artists as a side business. Miller was close friends with the Adderley brothers, Cannonball and Nat, who he would assemble as bands and book them and others gigs and live shows.
After launching BRE, Miller solidified himself as a pioneer within the Black music scene. His magazine helped broadcast the talent and accomplishments of Black artists who were often ignored and overlooked by the predominantly white mainstream audience at the time.
Miller worked at Capitol Records with the Fame label imprint as a music executive. As A&R under Artie Mogull, he helped introduce diverse acts such as Helen Reddy, Joe South, The Fortunes, and Cannonball Adderley.
Miller quickly moved up from the Capitol branch in Atlanta to the Los Angeles tower and eventually led the entire promotions division, including country, western, pop, and R&B artists. In 1976, Miller launched BRE after sacrificing his house, car, and investing his savings into the publication.
Through BRE Magazine, it expanded into the annual BRE conference where superstars like Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Sade, L.L. Cool J, MC Hammer, and more have all performed.
Throughout his career, Miller served on the board of directors for The Living Legends Foundation, Nara’s MusiCares Foundation, The Evander Holyfield Foundation, The National Black Programmers Coalition, The New Orleans Music Commission, The Atlanta Music Commission, and The Washington, DC Music Commission.
Miller’s list of accolades includes an NAACP Image Award and a 2019 Living Legends A. D. Washington Chairman’s Award.