VP Records joins forces with Celebrity Apprentice to give back to charity as the company purchases $7000 worth of items at an art auction during the show’s “The Art of the Deal” episode, which aired on April 3, 2011 on NBC.
The label’s CEO Christopher Chin, President Randy Chin and Vice-President Cristy Barber participated in the auction to help raise money for Celebrity Apprentice contestant John Rich (of acclaimed country music group Big & Rich), to benefit his charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, based in Memphis, Tennessee.
The label bought Gary Busey’s painting for $5000 – a sale Busey personally brokered with the label’s heads, as seen in the episode. The painting now hangs in the VP Records board room in New York. Additionally, Barber purchased Richard Hatch’s final painting for $1000, to help the men’s team, Team Backbone, sell every single painting in their auction. She also nabbed a New Era baseball hat, artistically decorated by John Rich. The hat was donated to Rich’s young son, Cash.
This Celebrity Apprentice involvement materialized because of the partnership between Cristy Barber and John Rich, who have teamed up for a trailblazing project where the name says it all – Reggae’s Gone Country. The highly-anticipated compilation album features various artists from both reggae and country music and is scheduled for release this summer as a joint venture between VP Records and Rich’s label, Warner Brothers Nashville.
Barber produced the Grammy-nominated Def Jamaica, a star-studded meeting of the minds from the Def Jam hip-hop roster and Jamaican dancehall music, back in 2003. Now with this unprecedented fusion of reggae and country music from some of its biggest producers and stars, she is again seeking to make in-roads and bring the reggae genre to a new fan base, and perhaps the largest musical audience whose ears give country music its powerful backbone.
“Classic country music is very big in Jamaica, which is what influenced me to do this project of having reggae artists cover classic country songs,” reveals Barber. “It was natural to go to my friend John Rich, whom I have known for six years, to be my partner in this dream project.”