After being away from radio for more than a year, Philly radio legend and community leader Lady B is back on new Philly station Classix 107.9. A public outrage over her dismissal from her longtime former radio slot helped show media company Radio One how much of a Philly institution Lady B is.
“Lady B is the unofficial mayor of the city and has been a vocal supporter of the community her entire career,” said Colby Colb Tyner, vice president of programming at Radio One.
“It broke my heart last year that the young ones were saying, ‘Why aren’t you on the radio?’ and I had no answer for them,” Lady B said, whose real name is Bahiyyah Clark. “Usually we teach our children when you get fired there is some sort of insubordination or you did something wrong and I didn’t have an answer for them. A year ago, it hurt real bad, especially because I wasn’t expecting it.”
Lady B was relieved of her responsibilities at Radio One station WRNB 100.3 for what civil rights attorney and Lady B supporter Michael Coard connected to Lady B’s passion for speaking about socially relevant issues.
“I’m not here to condemn anybody, but I am here to throw a little bit of shade,” Coard said. “The community will forgive but we will not forget. We appreciate what [Radio One] is doing now and believe its sincere apology, however apologies mean nothing without changed behavior. We believe that today’s apology means that there will be no further disrespect to Lady B. It’s not just the music that she plays but her community consciousness. That’s unique in the radio industry.”
Chuck D of the iconic hip-hop group Public Enemy phoned in his own congratulatory thoughts for Lady B. “Lady B is a worldwide icon and Philadelphia is always being watched,” Chuck D affirmed. “You want someone that will be a light and show that women can be leaders in society, not just alongside men. You have hundreds of thousands of people in a big city that came up on Lady B. I don’t have to say anything. All you have to do is ask people in the city and they’ll tell you: Let Lady B do her thing forever.”
As one of hip-hop’s first woman stars, Lady B’s propensity for discussing issues relevant to the community has earned her generations of listeners. She is supportive of newcomers like rapper Cardi B that want to use their voices for social change. “I say this to youngins all of the time: Understand the power of the microphone and understand there is a generation laying on their every word, so be responsible with the microphone,” Lady B said. “Don’t take advantage of the power of the microphone and try to use it for good and not so much popularity. We live in a world of likes and followers now and I don’t think that’s cool. I think it hinders us from coming together as one. It changes and messes up the balance of things.”
Entrepreneur Charlie Mack has worked with entertainer Will Smith and other talents since the ‘80s is an ardent supporter of Lady B’s return to radio. “There are certain voices that speak and represent what we represent and who we are as a people,” Mack said. “I think Lady B represents everything that we are in Philadelphia. I know things are more corporate now and times change, but Lady B knows us as a people. You’ve got to have people [on radio] that speak the language of the people and Lady B speaks the language of the people.”
Lady B will be on Classix 107.9 for a midday show Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for her famous Basement Party show Friday and Saturday nights from 6-10 p.m.