NMAAM Announces Sixth Annual Celebration of Legends Gala

The National Museum of African American Music will present George ClintonDoug E. Fresh and Gloria Gaynor with the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award at the museum’s sixth Celebration of Legends Gala the evening of Thursday, June 27, at the Music City Center’s Karl Dean Ballroom in Nashville. The gala celebrates African American musical and cultural icons who have made significant contributions to American music across all genres.

Vanderbilt University is the presenting sponsor for this year’s event, and Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos will be in attendance. The late David Williams, who served as Vanderbilt University’s vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics and athletics director, was an avid supporter of NMAAM and chairman of its campaign steering committee and will also be honored at the event.

“The Rhapsody and Rhythm honorees span the breadth of African American music, representing disco, hip hop and funk,” said NMAAM President and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III. “Their artistry is innovative and influential, and carries an impact that can still be felt today. Even the museum’s tagline, ‘One Nation Under A Groove,’ is an homage to George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic’s quintessential song. We are expecting the largest attendance at the Legends Gala yet, so that makes us even more excited to spend the evening recognizing George, Doug and Gloria.”

As the lead musician of the eclectic Parliament-Funkadelic collective, George Clinton was an early pioneer of funk music. After more than 40 years in the music industry, he is best known for his colorful hair, unique fashion and “psychedelic” artistry. Clinton and members of Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and most recently, they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

Doug E. Fresh, known as the “Original Human Beatbox,” is an artistic trailblazer whose 30-year career has been groundbreaking for hip hop. As the creator of the beatbox art form, Fresh, along with the Get Fresh Crew, captivated audiences around the world with his vocal simulations of drums and other musical instruments. Among the many awards Fresh has accumulated over the years, he is a Hip Hop Hall of Fame inductee, the 2004 recipient of The Source Awards’ Lifetime Achievement honor and the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards’ Icon honoree.

Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is one of the most well-known songs to come from the 1970s disco era. Released in 1978, the single earned Gaynor the title of the “Queen of Disco.” Gaynor received the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording in 1980 and landed on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Her discography also includes contemporary R&B and Christian albums.

The event will feature performances by Fatman Scoop and DJ Mars, honoring Doug E. Fresh; Louis YorkThe Shindellas and Mr. Talkbox, honoring George Clinton; and Avery Sunshine honoring Gloria Gaynor. Additionally, to highlight local emerging artists, there will be performances by a trio curated by Patrick Dailey, The Stanley Brown Band and Leondria Lott. The gala will be hosted by Grammy Award-winning producer SHANNON SANDERS.

WHO: Rhapsody & Rhythm Award recipients George Clinton, Doug E. Fresh and Gloria Gaynor; Performances by Louis York and The Shindellas

WHAT: Sixth Annual Celebration of Legends Gala

WHEN: Thursday, June 27 Doors open at 6 p.m.

WHERE:  Music City Center

                     Karl Dean Ballroom (Ballroom C)

                     201 Fifth Ave.

                      Nashville, TN 37203

Individual tickets for the Legends Gala are $250, and more information is available here. The gala benefits NMAAM’s educational and community programs for all ages, including From Nothing to Something, Fine-Tuning Master Series, Music Legends & Heroes, The Emerging Artist Series, and Sips & Stanzas. The gala will contribute to expanding the museum’s reach and engagement to provide unique learning experiences for all ages. For information about sponsorship opportunities, email Vincent PremDas at