Kenny Cox’s involvement in Strata took on many shapes, and he had no shortage of forums for championing the advancement of Detroit musicians and African-American art forms. Cox was equal parts musician, businessman and visionary, as substantiated by many of the items and articles in this exhibit. Cox operated under the belief that controlling one’s destiny and controlling one’s publishing rights were synonymous. Inherently business-minded, Cox sought to instill this trait in not only his peers, but in a rising generation of musicians at numerous universities through out the Midwest. The musicians of Detroit—whether Strata or Motown—were working-class members of Detroit’s music industry, and like their unionized brothers in the auto industry, they knew that any skilled laborer deserved to be compensated fairly for his output.

Cox was the public face of Strata Records, being its founding father and author of its initial release. Strata Records served as a vehicle for musicians in which to create freely without major label bureaucracy and the restrictions typically imposed upon commercial artists. As an artists’ gallery, Strata showcased the talents of local and national artists side by side. This helped ensure that Detroit maintained its appropriate prominence.

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