*Marks, MS – It’s been over 50 years since Billboard Magazine (08/17/68) announced that a group headed by Bill Cosby was to build an R&B Hall of Fame. That project never materialized, but what was once a lofty dream for R&B music lovers, is one step closer to becoming a reality. On Sept. 30th, Marks, MS will become the center of the R&B world, as the historic groundbreaking ceremony for the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame (NRBHOF) will take place.
The City of Marks and Quitman County’s officials are inviting music fans, local/national media, and the entire music industry from around the world to participate in this history-making groundbreaking ceremony.
The NRBHOF was founded in 2010 and it held its inaugural induction ceremony in 2013. Since then, the NRBHOF has enshrined 10 classes and inducted over 200 world-renown artists from the likes of B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Motown legends, and many, many more. The 11th Annual NRBHOF Ceremony Weekend will be permanently moving from the city of Detroit to the Mississippi Delta, starting in August of 2023.
After a FIVE decade wait, R&B legends are FINALLY getting their own hall of fame. Just like the Rock and Country Halls of Fame, once the NRBHOF is built, it should be one of the top entertainment tourist attractions. Founder/CEO of the project, LaMont “ShowBoat” Robinson, a music historian and former professional basketball player from Cleveland, Ohio, had this to say about the significance of this Hall of Fame: “It has been a long time coming for R&B artists who had to endure so much racism while touring the chitlin’ circuit during the Jim Crow era. Many of these R&B icons of the 40s, 50s, and 60s became famous in name only, but too many of them died broke and homeless, even though their music has influenced generations of artists spanning multiple genres of music. It’s important to build a permanent home in the Mississippi Delta, which is where the roots and influences of these artists and their music come from. Going back to the original source shows honor and respect to this great genre of music.”
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Mayor Joe Shegog of the City of Marks stated, “I’m very grateful to have Mr. Robinson come to Quitman County to bring the NRBHOF, which will be a tribute to all the music legends that hailed from the Delta. He sees this project as bringing awareness to our musical roots and heritage and a means to create opportunities within our community.”
Blues legend Bobby Rush commented on this momentous occasion: “I’m so glad that someone has decided to put a Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in Marks, MS/Quitman County, which is one of the birthplaces of the blues. With me being one of the oldest blues men still standing and living in Mississippi, I want to be a part of this great project. It’s going to be a history maker for this Delta town, bringing tourists from all over the world, as well as revenue to the city of Marks, MS.”
Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson was elated at the selection of his home state for the project. He noted: “The Quitman County stakeholders are to be commended for their hard work in coming together in solidarity to have Marks/Quitman, MS selected as “the home” for the NRBHOF. The NRBHOF will be the catalyst to Delta tourism growth and opportunities, and a means to attract business and industry. I am grateful to the founder and CEO LaMont Robinson and his board for having the vision to select Quitman County.”
According to the Founder/CEO, the goal is not to build the typical hall of fame or museum, but rather, to build a state-of-the-art, 75,000 to 125,000 sq. ft., high-tech, 21st-century complex. This building will be highly interactive with a virtual reality feel, that will give visitors a total musical experience, which will be similar to being at a place like Disneyland.
The building plans call for a 1,500-seat theater, 150-seat juke joint with a stage, 100-room theme hotel, walk of fame, studio, youth music academy, plus a community mixed-use banquet hall, and other amenities. The target date for this structure to be up and running is in the year 2024.
Submitted by Larry Buford/OBO NRBHOF