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Attorney L. Londell McMillan is a purpose-driven man of the people

Nayaba Arinde | 1/9/2014, 1:32 p.m.
Londell L. McMillan: an attorney, media mogul, entrepreneur and community activist.
Londell McMillan

Regarding The Source, he said, “I own the biggest media brand in hip-hop in the world, so there is a considerable amount of responsibility that goes with that. The magazine deals with youth culture—particularly males who are very much affected by music and technology. I am very proud with how we have turned it around, and we have made it clean and free of anything lewd or degrading. And then there is the Jones magazine and website, digital and social media that deals with beauty and style for women of color. My media businesses are more based on culture than justice; my law business is based on business and justice. Our culture has been given a blow of injustice and that is something I am very focused on.”

It sounds like he might be running for office in the not-too-distant future. He laughed and said, “When I was in law school, I was director of the National Black Law Students Association. President Barack Obama would attend my meetings, and from undergrad at Cornell to my law school years at NYU, many would have projected that I would have become a congressman or senator, but my path led me to serve my clients. I think there are many ways to serve and have influence, and having influence behind the scenes is one way to serve.”

But there’s more: The Brooklyn man was also one of the co-owners and investors in the New Jersey Nets basketball team and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards development project. He said, “Promises were made in terms of affordable houses and minority-owned businesses that haven’t been fulfilled. I want to make sure those agreements will be honored.”

This busy man was also Michael Jackson’s lawyer. The attorney is noticeably humble about it. “I started representing Michael Jackson years before representing his family. I was hired to save Neverland Ranch and the Beatles catalog. It was an honor to work with Michael Jackson and to protect him and his assets at a very pivotal time,” McMillan said.

“He was much more giving and philanthropic than many give him credit for. He set his expectations far beyond what most people can even think and imagine, and he never wanted to settle for less. He was also someone who was concerned about his community—as much as he wanted to be a member of the world community—and that’s interesting because in many of our circles, some would consider that a contradiction, and it’s really not. For him, there was no inconsistency between wanting to be helpful to the Black community and wanting him to be helpful to the world.”

McMillan has worked alongside some of the greats. “Johnny Cochran was a mentor of mine who would seek out my advice when it related to entertainment matters,” he said. Cochran once told this reporter that his ambition was to create a “conscious cadre of lawyers.”

McMillan said there has always been one goal he has kept. “People do not understand that lawyers were engineers of social justice, and we need to go back to those days where lawyers were the vanguard of human rights and social justice—long before the Civil Rights Movement, long before Dr. Martin Luther King in 1955; it was Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954, which means that there were many cases before 1954 before the Supreme Court.”