After five years in the city of Detroit, the National R&B Hall of Fame is headed south to the home of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
With the Augusta Commission and Mayor Hardie Davis’ Resolution of Support for the NRBHOF’s location to Augusta, LaMont Robinson has fully committed to building the R&B Hall of Fame in Augusta, according to a news release from NRBHOF’s Foundation. Robinson is also bringing the Music HOF Weekend to Augusta, along with the induction ceremony, in August 2021.
Now that the NRBHOF has found a permanent home, the next steps are to meet with the mayor, local county officials and the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau to work on important details, such as planning for the induction ceremony and a location to build the HOF.
The organization already has filed incorporation papers in the state of Georgia. Also in the works are meetings with Georgia state politicians and Gov. Brian Kemp to seek state support for the project.
Although the actual physical building may be further down the road, plans are currently being made for Augusta to host the Music HOF Weekend, which consists of a three- to four-day series of events leading up to the big induction ceremony.
Some preliminary names being considered for the 2021 class are Chaka Khan, The Isley Brothers, Patti LaBelle, CHIC, Major Lance, Jermaine Dupri, Charlie Wilson, Peabo Bryson and Toni Braxton.
Danny Ray, James Brown’s cape man, also will be honored, as well as Tyler Perry, who will be receiving a humanitarian award.
The event will also be highlighted by a tribute to the FORE (Four) Fathers of Georgia music, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Little Richard and, of course, James Brown. The families of those four legends will be in attendance.
More details will be coming soon, but founder LaMont Robinson has vowed to install an exclusive wing of the HOF called The James Brown Experience and donate a dollar from each ticket sold to the local Richmond County school system.
Reactions from across the music world have been very positive and supportive, according to the release. Dionne Warwick, inducted in 2016, not only remarked about performing in Augusta in her early days and going on tour with James Brown, but she also had this to say: “This is the ultimate appreciation of one’s craft and an incredible tribute to R&B music. When one is honored by their own and given the esteem of being placed in a place of permanent honor of lifetime reverence, there is nothing that can be considered anything more than that. It is a legacy that lives forever! My support will be continual.”
Mary Wilson of The Supremes, the estates of David Ruffin of The Temptations and James Brown and Marshall Thompson of The Chi-lites also expressed strong support for the R&B HOF’s move to Augusta.
Motown legend Martha Reeves not only sent well-wishes, but she fondly remembered singing a duet with James Brown on the Dennis Miller Show, where Brown had to constantly remind her that he was from Augusta and not Atlanta.
Local support has also been strong. District 6 Commissioner Ben Hasan said, “We are excited about the project! Augusta is ready to make it happen!”
District 9 Commissioner Marion Williams echoed those same sentiments, “I’m excited about what’s going to happen with the R&B HOF in Augusta. I think it will change the dynamics of the city. This is the type of growth that I’ve been waiting on all my life.”
The NRBHOF looks to follow the lead of Mayor Davis as he guides this process for the betterment of the city.
Robinson expressed his confidence in the city of Augusta by saying, “If the Rock HOF can draw 600,000 tourists and generate 100 million dollars for the city of Cleveland, then I’m sure Augusta can do the same with the R&B HOF. With the support of the people and county officials, combined with a beautiful waterfront location and adequate parking, the sky’s the limit!”