Photos by Asia Morris.
On the last day of African-American Music Appreciation Month, World Famous VIP Records founder Kelvin Anderson, Sr. took a major step forward in preserving its internationally-known hip-hop legacy by submitting an application at City Hall to declare the iconic sign as a historic landmark.
“There’s a lot of meaning to the sign, it’s for the people whose careers are associated with it, it’s hope for the community,” Anderson told the Post. “I still have kids who tell me that they’re lifelong dream was to be a part of the VIP family and seeing and knowing and looking at the success of artists like Warren G and Snoop and the career that they have had, they know that the music industry is an industry that could sustain them as a career.”
Final approval of whether the sign will be designated as a historic landmark will come from Long Beach City Council in August. Following approval, the sign will be moved and prepared for restoration. Where the sign will land is still to be decided, however Anderson’s team has identified a couple possible locations.
Mayor Robert Garcia was also present for the submission of the application, and spoke of the importance of preserving VIP Records’ Long Beach heritage. Preserving the sign will give locals and visitors alike a chance to interact with the sign, and is also a step toward ensuring VIP as an institution remains a part of the city, Garcia said.
The plan still remains to secure the sign over a museum and multimedia center. Anderson hopes to create a space where kids can learn how to operate a recording studio and radio station, as well as learn computer skills, he said.
“I did some good things in the past, but we’re moving it to an era where we’ll be able to do some great things,” Anderson said. “[…]I’ve saved a few lives in the past, but we want to save a lot of lives and lay down a solid foundation for direction for the kids in the community and other areas.”