Ohio’s newest tourism attraction is the new Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame. The Historic Grand Opening of this $24M project will take place Saturday, July 22, 2023. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bootsy Collins, a 2021 Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame Founding Inductee, will once again be in attendance for this year’s induction ceremony in grand style. Additional 2021 Founding Inductees include The Isley BrothersDr Charles Fold, and Otis Williams.

Alicia Reece, Hamilton (Ohio) County Commission President, and founder of the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame, announced the third class of Inductees for the new Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame at the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati. The 2023 Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame Inductees are: The Deele, featuring L.A. Reid and Babyface, Louise Shropshire, Philippé Wynne and James Brown. “This new state-of-the-art interactive tourism attraction celebrating the rich culture of Black musical artists, producers, and songwriters will educate, entertain, and attract tourists worldwide while bringing together multi-generations of families to enjoy this free park,” said Reece.

Over 60 top musical influencers who have made significant contributions to the music industry are being celebrated at the grand opening and included in the new Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame. Those groups and individuals include 2022 inductees Midnight Star, featuring Reggie and Vincent CallowayPenny Ford, Hi-Tek, and Wilbert Longmire.

Originally conceived at Hughes High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, The Deele, was an R&B band formed in 1981. It was originally comprised of local Cincinnati musicians such as drummer, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, bassist, Kevin “Kayo” Roberson, vocalist/percussionist, Darnell “Dee” Bristol, lead vocalist, Carlos “Satin” Greene, guitarist/keyboardist, Stanley “Stick” Burke, and guitarist, Steve “Tuck” Walters. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, hailing from Indianapolis, later joined the band in 1981. Such memorable hits from The Deele include “Body Talk,” which became The Deele’s first hit, reaching #3 on the R&B Chart and #77 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. In 1987, The Deele reached the apex of their career with the release of their third album, Eyes of a Stranger, which produced two top-10 hit R&B singles, “Shoot ‘Em Up Movies” and their best-known song, “Two Occasions,” which reached #4 on the R&B charts and cracked the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Louise Shropshire (February 15, 1913 – November 26, 1993) was a composer of hymns and best known as the original composer of the iconic Civil Rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome.”  The granddaughter of slaves, Mrs. Shropshire as a young girl demonstrated a gift for music and composed many hymns as a member of the African American Baptist Church. In the early 1950s, Louise Shropshire met Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and eventually became lifelong friends. She penned the song, “If My Jesus Wills,” which was the basis for the song, “We Shall Overcome,” that Dr. King adopted for his Civil Rights marches and activism.

Originally from the Cincinnati neighborhood of Madisonville, Philippé Wynne (April 3, 1941 – July 14, 1984) was best known as the lead vocalist for the famed musical group, The Spinners. Mr. Wynne voiced such notable hits as “Love Don’t Love Nobody,” “How Could I Let You Get Away,” “The Rubberband Man,” and “One of a Kind (Love Affair).” After leaving The Spinners, Mr. Wynne was featured in hits by other artists such as “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Funkadelic.

James Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an iconic musician who recorded many of his hit songs at King Records located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The primary originator of Funk music, Mr. Brown was known as “the Hardest Working Man in Show Business” and the “Godfather of Soul.” In an illustrious career that spanned for more than 50 years, Mr. Brown voiced such memorable hit songs as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “It’s a Man’s World,” “Get Up,” and “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Mr. Brown was one of the first ten Inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 23, 1986. He is an Honorary Inductee for the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame.

The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame will feature augmented reality activations, an experiential drum machine, a musical waterfall, nightly jam sessions, as well as interactive kiosks that honor the contributions of Black musical artists from Southwest Ohio (i.e., Cincinnati, Dayton, Hamilton, Middletown, and Springfield). The grand opening on July 22, 2023 will feature the 2023 induction ceremony, guided tours of the attraction as well as a free concert by the Ohio Players. The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame sits on the Ohio Riverbanks next to the Andrew Brady Center and across from Paycor Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and the Cincinnati Music Festival.

The 2023 sponsors of the historic Grand Opening of the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame are P&G, The Kroger Company, Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, All in Cincinnati, First Financial Bank, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Cincinnati Music Festival, and the Cochran Firm. For more information on the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame, visit https://www.cincyblackmusicwalkoffame.org.

This post was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder and editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga or The Burton Wire on social media @Ntellectual or @TheBurtonWire. 

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