ABOVE: James Prince
Houston has definitely produced its fair share of success stories, and it would be hard to come up with a list of names that did not include Houston entertainment legend and entrepreneurial icon James Prince, most commonly known to the world as “J. Prince”.
In honor of his contributions to society and the entertainment world, J. Prince will be honored with an honorary doctorate degree from Texas Southern University (TSU) during their Commencement ceremonies at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019. He will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters at the ceremony, which will be held in the Health & Physical Education (H&PE) Arena.
The legendary rise of J. Prince began back in 1986, as he became the founder and CEO of Houston-based Hip-Hop record label, Rap-a-Lot Records, which allowed him to launch the careers of many iconic hip-hop artists. J. Prince is credited with putting the South on the Hip-Hop map, including introducing the world to one of Houston’s most famous acts – the Geto Boys.
“J. Prince is a Houston icon, and his connection to Texas Southern is strong,” said TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane. “In honoring him with this degree, we are expressing our appreciation for his ongoing support, and we are sending a message to all of the TSU community that following one’s dreams, against all odds, leads to great things.”
The diverse interests of J. Prince also include his involvement in the world of boxing, where he has been a successful manager to the likes of Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He has also experienced tremendous success in the areas of real estate investment, ranching and being a business partner with his adult children.
This past year, J. Prince authored his first book, The Art & Science of Respect, which is a memoir where he explains how he earned the reputation as one of the most respected men in Hip-Hop by staying true to his three principles – heart, loyalty, and commitment, as well as by having an unwavering faith in God.
TSU hosted J. Prince on its campus for his book release, where was able to speak to hundreds of TSU students about the lessons he has learned throughout his successful career. That experience at TSU, as well as multiple other connections he has made with the university, including the internships that Rap-a-Lot has provided to TSU students, led him to establish a generous $50,000 scholarship endowment last month for TSU students in need of financial support. As a matter of fact, J. Prince is quick to point out that KTSU, the University’s radio station, was one of the first stations to expose the music world to his talents.
“The love and support shown to me when I visited TSU was tremendous,” said J. Prince. “I’m honored to be able to give back to the university in a variety of ways, and I’m humbled to receive this degree.”
J. Prince has always been committed to giving back to the community where he was raised. While he has worked for the past three decades to promote the culture and art of Hip-Hop, he has also worked equally as hard to improve underprivileged neighborhoods and communities in inner-city Houston, including the Fifth Ward neighborhood where he grew up.
J. Prince is responsible for building a new recreation center in Houston’s Fifth Ward. The recreation provides a safe haven for kids and seniors to go and the facility is used to support the community for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Back to School and at other critical times. J. Prince led the charge on educating youth about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing with the launching of Strapped, in coordination with a string of initiatives addressing the issue of AIDS in the Black community. As a result of these and other efforts, he was honored with James Prince Day in Houston by former Mayor Bill White. Nationally, J. Prince was honored alongside Master P, Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland and Slick Rick at the VH1 7th annual Hip Hop Honors Awards for both his creative contributions and his philanthropic ventures.