Andre Harrell was known for putting on some of the biggest acts in hip hop and R&B during the 1990s, however his eye for talent wasn’t limited to just music.
Harrell was the producer of the 1991 film Strictly Business, which featured a future Oscar winner in her debut role: Halle Berry.
In the film, Berry played the role of Natalie, an ambitious club promoter with dreams of one day owning a venue herself. During a 2010 interview with Los Angeles radio station 100.3 The Beat, Harrell recalled how he came to cast Berry in the movie. He says real-life experiences inspired the film’s plot, and Berry’s role.
“I was working with Pam Gibson and Rolondo Hudson and they were video directors and they did a lot of videos for myself and Def Jam and Cold Chillin’ Records at the time,” he said. “They wanted to be in the movie business, I wanted to be in the movie business.”
He continued, “So I had a story about a girl I was working out with and her name was Beverly Bond,” Harrell continued. “When she would go to these parties and start dancing, she had from wall street guys to white guys to Black hustlers – everybody liked her, so I wanted to make a movie about a woman who brings people together and creates opportunity, and that’s Strictly Business.”
“Halle Berry played a girl who was a club promoter, who put Tommy Davidson, who was in the mailroom and Joseph Phillips, who was a wall street broker together,” he concluded.
See a scene from the classic film with Halle Berry, below:
Harrell also helped produce the soundtrack for Strictly Business, which was released on his Uptown Records label the same year the movie was released. It even landed on the charts, peaking at No. 64 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums list.
In 1994, Harrell also went on to become an executive producer for the hip-hop police drama, New York Undercover.
His illustrious producing career included the cult classic 2003 film Honey and the 2017 Bad Boy documentary called Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story.
Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images and Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images