Music Masters: The National Museum of African American Music Celebrates Gloria Gaynor, Doug E. Fresh & George Clinton

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville held its sixth Celebration of Legends Gala at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

The swank soiree held during Black Music Month honored dance icon Gloria Gaynor, hip-hop innovator Doug E. Fresh and funk legend George Clinton. Each honoree was presented with the forthcoming museum’s Rhapsody & Rhythm Award, although Clinton wasn’t in attendance (he sent a video presentation) and had a member of his Parliament Funkadelic group on hand to accept in his honor.

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NMAAM gala sponsor Nissan and their guests on the red carpet at A Celebration of Legends in Nashville

Despite his absence, Clinton was saluted in a musical medley by The Legend’s Band, the in-house band providing the music of the evening. Music duo Louis York concluded the tribute being joined by Mr. Talkbox and The Shindellas to perform Clinton’s classic, “One Nation Under A Groove,” which is also the official theme song for the museum.

Gaynor was celebrated in song by soul and jazz vocalist Avery Sunshine, who brought down the house with a powerful rendition of the dance empowerment anthem “I Will Survive.” Legendary TV personality and Grammy winner Dr. Bobby Jones presented her actual award.

VIDEO: Watch Avery Sunshine perform “I Will Survive” in tribute to Gloria Gaynor.

Fresh was celebrated in an energetic performance by Fatman Scoop and DJ Mars. Last year’s NMAAM honoree Keb Mo presented the overwhelmed originator of the human beatbox with his trophy.

Jawn Murray, Gloria Gaynor & Dr. Bobby Jones

“The Rhapsody & Rhythm honorees span the breadth of African-American music, representing disco, hip-hop and funk,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, NMAAM’s President and CEO. “Their artistry is innovative and influential, carrying an impact that can still be felt today.”

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The event attracted a diverse mix of Nashville music executives, museum patrons, media guests, influencers and the who’s who of the Nashville social scene.

I attended the gala as a guest of Nissan, one of the night’s corporate sponsors. Nissan continues to support events and endeavors that connect this Japanese-bred automotive maker to the African American community because they make up a great portion of their consumer base.

The stage for A Celebration of Legends Gala by NMAAM in Nashville

VIDEO: Watch Louis York, The Shindellas & Mr. Talkbox tribute George Clinton.

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