Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell
Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell is a businessman, community activist, author, television personality, radio host, artist and was the first Southern rapper to appear on Billboard’s Pop charts. In addition, he was the first music business exec to start a TRUE independent rap record label. Where he owned his own distribution, warehouse, EVERYTHING. Known as the “Godfather of Southern Hip Hop,” it was Luther Campbell who was the first in the music industry to take the responsibility of providing “parental advisory” stickers, self-censoring his own product to help to ensure his music was only bought by those of a certain age. Soon thereafter, the entire music industry made it mandatory for elicit material to provide advisory stickers. Being honored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 as a member of the 2 Live Crew and fighting the good fight all the way to the Supreme Court to ensure freedom of speech with the creation of parodies in recorded material – and won. Campbell’s endless philanthropic efforts have given to refugees on the shores of Miami and those less fortunate than himself. He was also honored with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Campbell is also a sports radio host, long-time columnist for the Miami New Times and owner of several Wingstop franchises. Along with executive producing “Warriors of Liberty City,” Campbell is currently in the process of producing a biopic on his life with Lionsgate as well as several other television projects.
Hip-hop’s original bad boy, pop culture icon, and consummate businessman, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, is one of the few American celebrities who has had an indelible impact on the worlds of rap music, sex, business, law, and politics simultaneously.
Luther “Luke” Campbell is a pop culture icon with fans extending within every race and nation. As a solo artist and the founder of the groundbreaking, multi-platinum rap group 2 LIVE CREW, Mr. Campbell’s music has sold millions of copies worldwide and inspired the love of countless fans, the ire of politicians, and even the advent of the “Parental Advisory” sticker. His highly publicized obscenity trials and 1994 Supreme Court parody case Campbell vs Acuff-Rose are First Amendment victories upon which the entertainment industry still thrives. In the entertainment realm, Campbell is considered a trailblazer. With business acumen that can be attributed to his creativity, hard work and persistence, Campbell’s entrepreneurial spirit is one that can also be traced back to his early years.
Campbell also discovered International Superstar "Pitbull" and signed him to Luke Records.
Campbell was the The first Southern rap star to emerge on the Billboard Pop Charts with “Move Something”. Campbell established the first and only African American owned record label in 1983. (Luke Records -originally named Skywalker Records).
Campbell made national headlines in the early 1990s as a part of The 2 LIVE CREW when he led one of Hip-Hop’s most noted victories in society — the right of Freedom of Speech in our music. His highly publicized obscenity trials and Supreme Court parody cases were First Amendment victories upon which the entertainment industry still benefits.
In 2000, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored Campbell’s contribution to hip-hop by including photographs of him and items of his clothing in its “Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes and Rage” exhibit.
In 2004, Luke won the very first Free Speech Coalition “Celebrity Freedom Fighter Award” for his free speech clashes with the federal government. Campbell’s fight for artist freedom of expression paved the way for the lyrical freedom enjoyed today by artists. A constant trendsetter, Luther Campbell’s brand exceeds far beyond what you’d imagine. He is not just a company he is an enterprise.
Luther Campbell was the Coach to high school students at Miami Northwestern High School in Miami FL, after several letters of support from area parents, community leaders, etc., “Uncle Luke” is already leaving positive impacts on his players’ lives. In addition he is the coach to the young players in the National Youth Football League, which is, affiliated with The Liberty City Warriors, a youth football organization he co-founded in his hometown to keep wayward boys out of trouble.
After spending nearly two decades as the mentoring inner city youth as a co-founder of The Liberty City program, Campbell felt it was time to do even more for South Florida’s youth football team. The Liberty City Warriors’ won the Pop Warner National Championship in 2005 but Campbell considers the real accomplishment the progression of the kids academically. “The majority of our kids in the Liberty City program show progression in their academics from year to year. In fact, one of our kids was a failing student at the start of the season, but by the time we reached the Super Bowl he was an all ‘A’ student. With the academic progress reporting system that we have implemented, I’d like to think that we are not only helping develop great athletes but scholars as well.”
No matter what your personal views about Luther Campbell, you can’t discount his influence on the entertainment industry, his business acumen, and his place as the Godfather of Southern Hip-Hop. If the mark of greatness is when everything before you is obsolete and everything behind you bears your mark then his Luther “Uncle Luke,” Campbell has left his mark on the American culture as a whole.
If you ask Uncle Luke, he simply wants to be respected for his contributions and acknowledged as “the man who brought artist entrepreneurship into hip-hop and fought for your First Amendment right!