History of R&B Hall of Fame
The National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame was founded in 2010. Its name, in the beginning, was called the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame. The project was founded and developed by, a former professional basketball player and a 2019 American Basketball Hall of Famer and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 2018-2022 nominee, also an R&B activist, and author, music historian, and entrepreneur, LaMont “ShowBoat” Robinson.
Robinson is a player/owner of the Harlem Clowns and a former player for the former Harlem Globetrotter great Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All-Stars 1988 then a tour with Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals summer of 1989, then as an owner of his first team in the fall of 1995 “ShowBoat” Robinson’s Harlem and Road Kings. Robinson’s love for R&B and Soul music began at an early age. He would often attend music practice sessions with his musician uncle, a house band member at Leo’s Casino a Cleveland, Ohio nightclub. It was one of the premier clubs in the Midwest during the 1960s for R&B, jazz, and African American comedians such as Redd Foxx, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor,and Moms Mabley. Otis Redding‘s last live performance on December 9, 1967, was at Leo’s. This love inspired him to start collecting memorabilia and artifacts that reflect the history of the Rhythm and Blues era. Robinson collected many of these exclusive and rare items while traveling all over the world to play basketball with the Globetrotters and other teams.
Realizing that his collection had grown to a size worthy of a museum, he wanted to share or donate some of his collection to an officially recognized location. However, he was unable to locate a place that exclusively displayed, celebrated, and collected information about the great accomplishments of R&B artists besides the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his hometown Cleveland. While donating some items to the Rock Hall, he realized that a lot of well-deserving R&B artists will never be given the type of recognition or honor that they deserve. He then decided to pursue creating such a place, acquiring the support of friends, some of which are Rhythm & Blues and Jazz musicians.
After many years of planning, a mobile museum debuted in February 2012. An annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony followed, honoring artists, non-musical individuals, venues, events, and anything that has influenced the world of R&B music. A permanent physical museum was ultimately planned.
The Inaugural Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on August 17, 2013, at the Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University in Cleveland. The first class of inductees included recording acts The Supremes, The Temptations, The Marvelettes, The O’Jays, Martha & The Vandellas (Martha Reeves, Rosalind Holmes, and Annette Helton), The Dramatics, Ruby & The Romantics, and The Dazz Band Featuring Jerry Bell and Little Jimmy Scott; historic venue Leo’s Casino; international journalist Larry Cotton; and radio host Tom Joyner and Tim Marshall. On December 20, 2017, 17 names were added to the list of inductees as 20th Century Early Music Influences such as Sammy Davis, Jr, Ruth Brown, Bill Haley, Louis Armstrong, and others. On February 17, 2018, the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame founder Lamont “ShowBoat” Robinson lifelong Temptations fan and collector give a tribute concert for the late great Dennis Edwards, called The Dennis Edwards Tribute to honor him for all his musical work and for his family and fans in Detroit, MI at Bert’s Entertainment Complex to a packed house. Edwards was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2013 with the Temptations and in 2015 with his own group The Temptations Review feat Dennis Edwards.
In a statement, released by the Founder/CEO LaMont Robinson said, “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame will replace the live annual induction ceremony with a special online salute honoring the class of 2020 Inductees on its official website @ www.rbhalloffamemarksms.com The National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame induction committee group will combine the 2020 and the 2021 classes together and will have a special class of 16 inductees this year called the 2020 Posthumously Class of Pioneers.
The National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Foundation and the city of Marks, Mississippi have come to sign an agreement on May 3, 2022, to build the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in Quitman County in Marks. Also, the 2022 Music Hall of Fame Weekend will resume next August 2023. The National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame induction class for 2022 will be a virtual posthumously class of pioneers. The 11th Annual Music Hall of Fame Weekend & Induction Ceremony Black Tie Gala, now will be moved from the city of Detroit, Michigan to Tunica, Mississippi until the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame is built in Marks, Mississippi.
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