Childhood & Early Life
Tracey Edmonds was born on February 18, 1967, in Los Angeles, California, to scholar parents George and Jacqueline McQuarn. She grew up in an upper middle-class African–American family.
As a child, Tracey showed extraordinary academic abilities. She had the goal of becoming a doctor and knew that she would have to study hard for that.
After graduating high school at the age of 16, Tracey wanted to take a break for a while to decide what she wanted to do in life. Meanwhile, she joined a pre-medical college at ‘Stanford University.’ She graduated in psychobiology.
Her parents separated before she went to college. Although her impeccable academic performance had earned her a scholarship, that did not cover all the costs of studying in a high-profile university such as ‘Stanford.’
Following her graduation, she was knee-deep in debt because of student loans. By then, she had become less interested in pursuing her early interests of becoming a psychologist or a doctor. She had to make enough money to support her family and soon began working as a broker.
After earning enough money, she decided to open a real-estate sales office in partnership with her mother. The mother–daughter duo successfully ran the company in Newport Beach, where they faced a few racist incidents. Tracey got tired of this and asked her mother to relocate her real-estate office to Los Angeles. Soon, the family moved to Los Angeles for a fresh start.
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In 1990, she met a musician and singer named Kenneth Edmonds. This was a life-changing event for Tracey. He was an established name in the music industry and gave Tracey ideas about how starting a music-publishing company could turn out to be a highly profitable venture. She thus started her company, ‘Yab Yum Entertainment.’
One of the very first artists who got signed under the label was Jon B. Soon, several more musicians joined in and the company prospered. By that time, she had married Kenneth and they became co-partners of the company.
Tracey’s aspirations were not limited to being the owner of a successful music label and she desired to venture into film production, too. This led to the formation of the ‘Edmonds Entertainment Group’ in 1993. The company was initially involved in various aspects of film production. Apart from being equipped with the brains to run a successful business, Tracey also had a good knowledge of the art of filmmaking.
She produced her first film, ‘Soul Food,’ in 1997. The film was a major critical and commercial success. All the characters in the film were black. It showed the African–American community in a good light.
The film ended up winning highly positive reviews and several awards, including the ‘NAACP Image Award’ for ‘Outstanding Motion Picture’ and the ‘Acapulco Black Film Festival’ award for the ‘Best Film.’
Motivated by the success of her debut film, Tracey produced another film, ‘Hav Plenty,’ which again featured an all-black cast. The film was made on a tiny budget but managed to rake in more than 10 times its original budget. Distributed by ‘Miramax Films,’ the film also managed to earn some great reviews, making it a clear winner in all aspects.
In 1999, she ventured into commercial film production with ‘Light It Up,’ which had a budget that surpassed that of her previous two films combined. However, the film could not perform according to expectations. The film also dealt with the theme of racism but mixed it with commercial elements.
In 2000, Tracey made a small-budget independent film named ‘Punks,’ which had a limited release. In 2000, she ventured into TV with ‘Soul Food: The Series,’ a family drama. It turned out to be one of the most critically acclaimed TV series of all time and earned the ‘NAACP Image Award’ for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Thrilled with the success of her debut TV project, she produced two more TV series, ‘Maniac Magee’ and ‘College Hill.’ Both were critically and commercially successful.
In 2007, Tracey produced the film ‘Good Luck Chuck,’ which was her first feature film to have an all-white cast. The film had an interesting premise and was a box-office success. However, it was severely panned by critics due to its plot.
Tracey’s success as a film producer had her earning several major positions in organizations related to the American film industry. She has served as a member of the board of governors of the ‘Producers Guild of America.’ She has also been a member of the board of trustees of the ‘American Film Institute.’
She also happens to be a member of the ‘Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.’ She has also led the humanitarian organization ‘CARE’ that aims to diminish world poverty. The group’s focus is on African countries, especially those with a promise of impeccable growth, such as Sierra Leone.
Currently, she serves as the CEO and the president of the ‘Edmonds Entertainment Group.’
Tracey married Kenneth Edmonds, better known as “Babyface,” in 1992, after dating him for two years. They had two sons named Dylan and Brandon. The couple got divorced in 1995.
Following her divorce, Tracey had dated actor Eddie Murphy and sportsperson Deion Sanders.