On Thursday (June 17), the National Museum of African American Music honored Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones and Smokey Robinson with the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award during the seventh annual Celebration of Legends Benefit Concert in Nashville, in recognition of their decades-long contributions in music.
Khan delivered a heartfelt, in-person speech after Bobby Brown presented her with the honor. She began, “This award goes to not just myself, but so many women who went before me. Some were my contemporaries, others were not, from Billie Holiday to Whitney Houston. This award goes to them, my sisters on this planet and in this field.”
She continued: “I’ve had a beautiful career so far and I’m not finished yet,” to which the audience applauded. Khan went on to reveal that she was tearful when she learned of her honor. “I love you, bye, bye,” she concluded.
During Richie’s previously recorded speech, he spoke about some of the challenges he faced during his early years while trying to define his own sound in music. “This award is the heartfelt confirmation that when I have kids that walk up to me and say, ‘I wanna be like you,’ that’s when I figured I did the right thing.”
Jones was the last to virtually accept his award. He said, “I did want to take a moment to share how honored I am to be recognized with this award and how proud I am that the doors of the National Museum of African American Music are open.”
The star, who began his musical career at just 14, also noted that he was wearing a shirt that was gifted to him by the late Nelson Mandela 46 years ago. Jones said, “I know he’d like to be here with us, so I brought him with me.”
“It is with great humility and gratitude that I accept this award from the National Museum of African American Music and I share it with all the great singers, songwriters and musicians that I’ve worked with over the years,” Jones said. “But most importantly, I want to say thank you to all the men and women who worked to make this museum a reality, from the carpenters, brick layers, electricians to the business leaders, government officials and corporate donors.”
Sponsored by Amazon, the Thursday benefit concert and honoree presentation featured live and virtual tribute performances with limited in-person seating for the live-streamed event.
soul, classic soul, motown,