Music pioneers Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and the Fisk Jubilee Singers have been chosen as the 2021 recipients of the National Museum of African American Music’s Rhapsody & Rhythm Awards.
The presentation will take place during NMAAM’s seventh annual Celebration of Legends Benefit Concert on June 17.
The fundraising event will also double as NMAAM’s kickoff to its three-day celebration of Black Music Month (June 17-19), hosted by the recently opened Nashville venue and Amazon.
In announcing the honorees and forthcoming celebration, NMAAM president/CEO Henry Beecher Hicks III stated, “NMAAM showcases Black music excellence every day, but this year’s Black Music Month will be a special one as we celebrate the museum’s opening with phenomenal music icons and Black music fans across the world. We can’t wait to open our doors and share in the joy of Juneteenth weekend with our supporters, fans and a few musical legends, as well.”
Sponsored by Amazon, the Thursday benefit concert and honoree presentation will feature live and virtual tribute performances with limited in-person seating for the live-streamed event. Previous Rhapsody & Rhythm honorees include CeCe Winans, Nile Rodgers, Gloria Gaynor, George Clinton, Jody Watley and Keb’ Mo’.
“One of Amazon’s core values is to think big,” commented Courtney Ross, Amazon Nashville’s senior manager of External Affairs. “We know that we can only do that when we all work together to recognize, elevate and celebrate all voices. We are excited to be NMAAM’s partner and the presenting sponsor for this year’s Black Music Month celebration. The work the museum is doing is essential to helping our wider community expand the way it thinks, and it’s an honor to be a part of it all.”
The weekend celebration continues on Friday (June 18) when NMAAM will present its first State of Black Music Summit. Artists, industry executives and culture creators will participate in various panel discussions being planned for the live-streamed, one-day gathering. Then on June 19 — coinciding with this year’s Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) festivities across the country —NMAAM will close out the weekend with a museum dedication ceremony during the day, followed by a block party that evening.
For more information, about NMAAM and its Black Music Month celebration, visit www.BlackMusicMonth.com.