The idea for the name "Black Jaguar" was inspired by that particular feline breed while I had been on a class field trip to the Brookfield Zoo in mid April of 1982.
As one of my childhood educators (and greatest mentors), Mr. Melvin Gaynor, led our class on a fun-filled tour of the legendary zoo, we all came to an enclosed wild cats exhibit, which contained any
number of large and exquisite jungle cat, including jaguars. And I can remember that all but two of the jaguars on display that day wore spotted coats. The two cats (one a cub, the other a female adult) that had not been like all of the others wore solid black
coats. And it was the adult female who would eventually go on to be the inspiration behind the namesake of my future company. I loved the big cat on sight, as she had been uncommonly beautiful with solid gold eyes and a sleek, ebony coat. I couldn't stop staring
at her; the animal was purely gorgeous. And I had even mentioned to the zoologist, the guy conducting our tour, that 'my god-mother had a life-size replica of that same panther at home.' She had purchased it in the 1970s, ya know. She had said that it 'reminded
her of Black women.' (Laughs)
Well, after I'd gotten home, I told my beloved women (my mama and my god-mama) all about the zoo trip and all the exhibits my class and I had
visited, yadda, yadda. And while witnessing, my eyes immediately went to the porcelain panther, poised ever so gracefully, in our front room. We had that statue for years. And I loved it dearly. I just loved the look of it.
So, enthralled and inspired, I had, at that very moment, decided that the company, about which my musical mentor (Dottie Luckett) and I had discussed starting for weeks prior, would not be named the Cat Ellington Music
Shop (cringing at the name now), but rather, Black Jaguar Songs.
I had eagerly informed my Dottie the day after the field trip of my desire to go ahead and start what she
had called a 'music publishing company.' 'A company of this sort,' she had gone on to explain, 'Is for the sole purpose of selling and licensing your music...' Like a sponge, my young mind absorbed the education that I was receiving, word for word. And I was
ready to go, full throttle, into research mode. Seriously, folks, I was jacked up.
Dottie used to talk about me to certain members of the faculty, telling them that 'Cat
is an old soul.' In fact, there were actually times when she'd forgotten that she was dealing with a child. She would always classify me as being a 'very gifted child,' but a child nonetheless. Oh, how I loved that woman.
The "old soul" that I was hungered for the more music industry knowledge. And in addition to the hefty amount of information that I'd collected per Dottie, a gifted songwriter in her own respect, I spent countless hours
in libraries reading about the music industry, studying it. I craved to know as much as I could about the industry and how it operated, particularly where songwriters were concerned. Of course, I didn't understand a lot of it, but I sure did ask a bulk of
questions, like what certain terms in contractual clauses meant. I'd even gone out and purchased for myself a Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and looked up every term that I ran across. Yes, I wore the poor librarians out with my constant inquiries, but I
couldn't relent; I had a company to start. And I also had a fiery belly.
I was serious as malignant cancer about my lyrics and music then, and I possess the same tenacity
in regards to my works now. Then, a music publishing company had been urgently needed to contain my eleven-year-old ego. That, and all THREE of my song works.
As the days
progressed, I began to study trademark and copyright laws, again not understanding the more complicated stuff, but still picking the brain of every librarian I happened upon, as well as that one of Dottie. Once, I'd even phoned an attorney (selected at random
in the Yellow Pages) and questioned him, under the pretense that I was working on a school assignment.
To make a longer story short, Black Jaguar Songs, as my company's original
name had been, was founded on May 09, 1982, about a week after I completed the composition for my work titled "Gluttony (The Shell)." An emotional piece, "Gluttony" is my "At Seventeen," because the story was inspired by my struggle with childhood obesity,
as well as by my having had been a very unpopular person among some of the other kids as the result of it.
Twenty-three years later, in 2005, I would change the name of my
beloved business to the Black Jaguar Music Company, to be accompanied by the motto: Where The Blank Page Is First Priority.