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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


NFL Players Malcolm Jenkins & Derrick Morgan, India.Arie To Join NMAAM’s “Sounds of Social Justice” Event

 The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will host Sounds of Social Justice, a fundraising event focused on the intersection of music, athletes and activism, on Wednesday, April 24, at 5 p.m. at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, located at 611 Commerce Street.

The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University professor, activist, media personality and renowned author, with the following panelists:

* Malcolm Jenkins, two-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Pro Bowl safety (Philadelphia Eagles) and co-founder of Players Coalition, a nonprofit organization created to impact racial and social inequality

* Derrick Morgan, nine-year linebacker with the Tennessee Titans

* Dr. Dina Bennett, senior curator for NMAAM

Following the panel will be a live auction featuring artwork focused on the music and artists of the social justice movement. The night will conclude with a musical performance by India.Arie, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and national chair of NMAAM, local soul singer Jason Eskridge, and local female R&B trio The Shindellas.

“Music, like sports, can bring people from all facets of life together. Some of the most influential and popular musicians have successfully used their platforms to draw awareness to societal issues, such as racism and criminal justice reform, as well as to express frustration and hope with the goal to make the world a better place,” Jenkins said. “The National Museum of African American Music is honoring decades of musicians for their cultural influence. This event will challenge and reflect how music and athletes are contributing to societal change.”

NMAAM, set to open in early 2020 in Nashville, is dedicated to educating, preserving and honoring the legacy of African Americans and their contributions to music. With over 1,400 artifacts already collected, NMAAM will be the only museum in the world whose mission is solely focused on black music.

“Teaming up with athletes and artists who have made an impact through their activism is really exciting for us because we share their commitment to social equity and education,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, CEO and president of NMAAM. “The history of American music is one of struggle and triumph, just as it is with athletes. We’re honored to join forces in celebration of the ways in which music and sports can come together to advance our nation.”

As part of the event, a curated exhibit of artifacts from Sam Cooke, James Brown, Alicia Keys, Paul Robeson and Malcolm Jenkins, all of whom used their profiles to advocate for social justice, will also be on show.

All proceeds from the event, including ticket sales and money from the live auction, will go to NMAAM. The event begins at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by the panel discussion at 6 p.m. and musical performances at 7 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now for $100 at