Photos by Michael Garcia.
Long Beach City College celebrated College Radio Day Friday by honoring World Famous VIP Records owner Kelvin Anderson for his contributions to the Long Beach community and music scene.
Anderson has been the owner of the record store, located on Pacific Coast Highway, for nearly 40 years, with the shop’s sign becoming an iconic symbol of Long Beach and west coast hip hop when it appeared in the music video for Snoop Dogg’s 1993 hit single “Who Am I (What’s My Name).”
“College radio is a place where careers are launched from,” Anderson told the Post. “There’s a lot of people that would never get the opportunity to be a part of a regular radio program and they can get their music played.”
Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson was on hand to award Anderson for his accomplishments, and other speakers shared their thoughts on how Anderson had helped them by providing the resources to launch their careers. Local artists then played their music for the audience.
Tromaine Ellis, better known as “The LBC Photographer” recounted how he came to Long Beach City College to study photography and film and how Anderson let him film a movie in his store’s parking lot.
“Kelvin Anderson allows you to do whatever you need to do, if you have any type of skill, he’ll let you do it,” Ellis said during the ceremony.
Vice Mayor Rex Richardson (right) presents Kelvin Anderson of World Vamous VIP Records with a certificate of recognition for his contributions to Long Beach.
“Over the years I had people walk up to me and say, ‘Did you know I was one of those kids in the back of VIP?’” Anderson said. “We had a recording studio and a stage, and we hope the museum can recreate that experience.”
“I want to have the history from 8-track to the hologram. I can imagine a great grandma coming into the museum with her great grandkid and explaining to him what an 8-track player is. As they go through the museum the great grandkid explains to her what a hologram is,” Anderson said as he laughed.
He also talked about how important social media is now for up and coming artists and how the music industry has changed.
“Social media is the key to success for artists launching their career,” Anderson told the Post. “It evens the playing field. Even the major record companies depend on social media to promote and sell their records.”
As for the future of World Famous VIP Records, Anderson said that the physical part of the business has disappeared. As customers are buying less physical media, the store will pivot to be more of a gift shop.