ASU alum, retired professor selected to speak at Southern University Law Center's Symposium

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Lee and asbourne
Dominque J. Lee, left, and Dr. William Ashbourne

By Hazel Scott/ASU

Talent and experience are just two of the reasons the Southern University Law Center tapped into Alabama State University’s pool of experts for its Virtual Sports and Entertainment Symposium on Sept. 18-19 on Zoom.

Dr. William Ashbourne, entertainment attorney and recently retired coordinator of the Recording Industry Program at ASU, and branding consultant Dominque J. Lee, ASU alumnus (2011) and founder/CEO of the New York City-based entertainment brand management firm “8th Wonder,” will speak at the symposium.

 “When the symposium was being created … I immediately thought of Dr. Ashbourne and Dominique Lee because of their current roles and experiences,” said Jasmine D. Hunter, director of External Affairs at Southern University Law Center.

At the two-day seminar, attendees will get up close with  some of the industry’s power players such as Attorney Donald Woodard, deputy general counsel and chief business affairs officer of USA Track & Field Inc.,. Woodard has represented clients in different genres of the entertainment industry.

Panel sessions will focus on various topics such as “Music Industry 101,” “Intellectual Property,” “Women in the Industry” and more.

Lee is part of a panel discussing “Brand Protection: Creating and Protecting Your Personal and Professional Brand,” on Friday, Sept. 18, at 11:15 a.m.  

“It’s an honor for me to be invited to sit on and be part of this event. To sit among other professionals in the industry, curators and people of influence, I’m humbled. My topic is universal, it can benefit students, entertainment personnel as well some personal businesses.  I’m looing forward to a great symposium,” Lee said.

Ashbourne’s topic, which he will present at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, is “The Role of Entertainment Attorneys.”

“It’s a continuing legal education for CLE class for lawyers, the same class I primarily taught at ASU,” Ashbourne said.  “I’m the lawyer for the lawyers. I’m honored to help because when I was coming up in the music business there was nobody to help us. So, to help these young adults is an honor.”

Ashbourne and Lee has had a varied and lucrative career in the industry.

Ashbourne’s entertainment credentials, which span more than 44 years, include representing such celebrities as actor and rapper LL Cool J, Grammy award-winner and songwriter R. Kelly and Grammy-nominated Tag Team. The New York native was an original member of the Juice Crew, a group of 1980’s hip-hop artists that included Roxanne Shante, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap. He negotiated the first use of rap artists on the video game “Madden 01.”

“When at ASU, I brought nationally recognized music business professionals and entertainers to ASU's campus to lecture to students, including Grammy winner Tank and radio personality D.J. Envy, Grammy winner Trey Song and music producer D.J. Toomp."

Retirement hasn’t slowed Ashbourne.

“I still practice law and do speaking engagements. I just closed a deal this week with Roc Nation, an entertainment company,” Ashbourne said.

Lee has more than a decade of experience working with personal brands for stars such as “American Got Talent” season 8 contestants Tone the Chiefrocca and DJ Coly Cole and vocalists RALL and Whitney, Ciara, Kess, Bando Jones, Tamar Braxton, Future and Yo Gotti. He worked on campaigns for Laura Izibor, Flo Rida, Sean Paul and Trey Songz, and coordinated productions for Grammy award-winning artists Chrisette Michele, Fantasia and Rudy Currence. He interned with Warner Music Group’s Atlantic Records and was the acting Urban Marketing Coordinator for Sony Music’s Epic Records. He is also a published author.

“I’ve also worked with freedom fighter Sheyann Christburg, who is a big influencer of Alabama State University and the Civil Rights Movement,” Lee said.

Hunter, an ASU alumna (2012), remarked that the entertainment industries are evolving, and the symposium is one way to ensure that professional, seasoned and budding young people are up-to-date on trends and issues.  

“The symposium creates a space for professionals to network and learn from each other. I enjoy working for an institution that develops leaders and provides access and opportunity for persons to grow,” Hunter added.