Ted Lucas created millionaires in the music business, and now he is looking to do the same in a new industry.
He has already proven to do this as the founder of independent label Slip-N-Slide Records. Becoming a businessman was an answered prayer and helped Lucus to make his foray into what he calls his “first passion in life.”
“I wanted to be in the music business, but I knew I couldn’t rap. I couldn’t sing. I wasn’t a producer. But I knew how to seek talent and people before they seen it in themselves,” Lucas said during an interview with AFROTECH.
Positioning himself as a founder of a record label was his goal post. He knew his aspirations were possible, he says, because it was accomplished by 2 Live Crew producer Luther Campbell, who created Luke Records in 1985, per Rap Music Guide. Witnessing Campbell’s efforts encouraged Lucas to want to seek and position artists in Florida.
“It’s just something that I’ve seen early. I just didn’t know how to get in, but I always take my hat off to Luther Campbell [and] 2 Live Crew, because I’ve seen that he showed that you don’t have to just be an artist,” Lucas explained. “You can be an entrepreneur. You can own your own record company. You can be a businessman, and to see a Black man from Miami own his own record company, that was for me.”
He added, “I wanted to be the one behind getting the deals and getting the deals done. So, I found my niche, how I work, and what works best for me to be in the music business.”
Slip-N-Slide Records, established in 1994, has launched the careers of artists including Trick Daddy, Trina, Rick Ross, and Plies, among others. Lucas says he is most proud that the artists have stood the test of time and have formed their own empires.
“When Rick Ross came out and said, ‘Everyday I’m hustling, I’m hustling,’ that was a ball smooth,” Lucas said. “Nobody knew what was being said at that time. But to look at what he’s been able to accomplish today, be the boss that he is, and still relevant today is incredible to me. For Trina, to come out and say ‘I’m the baddest’ and you know 25 years later, all these young females are basically inspired in some way or form, those are the things that excite me.”
He added, “A lot of artists came out, but they not relevant no more. These guys have businesses that they are able to provide for their family after 20 years of being in the business.”
Involvement In Tech
Today, Lucas’s impact has not only reached artists but has also extended into the tech industry. His interest was sparked during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when he noticed a considerable move toward the technology sector and aimed to position the minority community in Miami, FL.
“Sitting at home in the middle of pandemic and seeing the transition happening right in front of us, a lot of people didn’t understand that,” he explained. “Rest of the country was shut down, but people were moving to Miami and opening up tech companies.”
He continued, “I said ‘If I don’t get out in front of this, people that look like me are not going to be educated. They’re not going to know what’s going on in the tech space, and they’re not going to be able to get jobs. They are not going to be able to afford to live in Miami’ and I just took it upon myself.”
Technolij Innovation Center
Lucas connected with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to inquire how they could better serve the local area. This led to the creation of Technolij Innovation Center at Florida Memorial University, the state’s only Historically Black College and University (HBCU), in January 2023.
The goal is to create entry ways to technology while equipping students through philanthropic events, educational workshops co-created with partners as well as conversations moderated by entrepreneurs and nationally recognized technologists.
Information from Florida Memorial University’s Instagram page states the lab will aid in providing diversity to the talent pool of corporations and organizations. Additionally, students who complete their time in the lab will receive internships or job placements.
The testimonials of the lab are already ringing in. Most recently, 29 students were recognized for completing the Technolij Innovation Center’s first six-week B2B Tech Sales Bootcamp!
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“To go out to an HBCU and open up an innovation tech hub that they didn’t have before the pandemic, to allow students on the campus to get jobs in the tech space, to be able to pay for the tuition, to be able to send money back home to their families, those are the things that excite me,” Lucas expressed.
To honor Lucas’s efforts in the community, which also include the establishment of a foundation benefitting the youth and young adults, the city of Miami Beach has even declared Dec. 14 as “Ted Lucas Day.”
“I was able to help musicians to be millionaires,” he expressed. “Now it’s time to make as many millionaires in the tech space as possible. That’s what drives me in the morning to get up and work hard. I’m going out cracking the code daily. And as I find that code, I want to pass that knowledge on to someone else.”