From Left: Kelvin Anderson, Mayor Robert Garcia, Cletus Anderson, Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews at a ceremony to honor the owners of World Famous VIP Records. Photo: Jason Ruiz
Dozens of supporters gathered at the original home of World Famous VIP Records Thursday afternoon to witness Mayor Robert Garcia’s presentation of proclamations to Kelvin and Cletus Anderson, the brothers that founded and operated the iconic record store that helped shape the history of hip-hop in Long Beach.
The mayor’s proclamations come the same week that the city council voted unanimously in support of an ordinance being drafted to designate the sign that sits on top of the original home of the business, which has since been converted to a 7/11 convenience store, as a historic landmark.
“It’s really important that we recognize historical landmarks across the city but it’s also important that we recognize Black history in Long Beach, Black culture and the Black experience,” Garcia said. “And VIP was a very big part of that.”
The historic sign will soon be taken down to be restored but a permanent resting place for it has yet to be determined. Shirin Senegal, president of VIP Records, announced that the group is leasing a property a few blocks north of Pacific Coast Highway on Long Beach Boulevard but said that the sign will not make its home at the multimedia center and business incubator the group intends to operate there.
Senegal added that the goal remains for Anderson and VIP to purchase the land across the street from the original location at the intersection of PCH and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The group is part of multiple bids trying to secure that property.
“We don’t just want jobs, we want businesses,” Senegal said of the group’s focus with the center. “We got in there with every penny we had so we need you guys to help us get the place decorated, get some things fixed, get the equipment in there, the talented people mentoring people. I need you in there helping people and then getting them back into jobs and starting businesses.”