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Word & Image: August Moon, 67

Singer-songwriter, jitterbug dancer, founder, Sound of Soul Records

Drugs have took over our community, our kids running wild. The only thing you can believe in is God. I believe in God, and I stay focused, and little by little I'm going to be successful. I got a catalog, 150 acts and songs. I've been offered $3 million for my company. I turned it down. If I can get $3 million, I can get $3 billion if I hold on to it long enough. It ain't no money, man. It's money to you, but it ain't no money to me. I know the business. I've been in the business 42 years as a record executive. I'm the only black standing that distributes his own product. If you go to Motown, you got to go through a white person, because they sold out. But not Sound of Soul.

Like Michael Jackson. They want to take Michael's catalog from him. I wish him the best. You can put that down. I wish Mike the best. He going to beat the trial because they trying to frame him. They want the catalog. See, the catalog is big money.

I want to leave something to my kids, to the foundation, to poor people when I die. I'm not working this hard for me. I'm working this hard to help the downtrodden, and to help my grandchildren, to help my grandkids, to help my wife, to help the city I love, Richmond. I'm going to be the first black man in this city to have his own foundation. That's why Consolidated Bank, I hate to see it, it went belly-up. A.D. Price went belly-up. As long as I'm in the music business, I'm not going to be belly-up. The music business is not like no business in the world. Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, the Harmonizing Four, if they handle their business right, will go on forever and ever and ever. — as told to Scott Bass; photographed by Scott Elmquist

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