Music icons Alicia Keys and Grandmaster Flash will soon be recognized by the Black American Music Association. for their creativity and contributions to the music world and black culture.
The organization announced Wednesday that Keys, Grandmaster Flash, super-producing team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith, film and television producer Suzanne de Passe and Universal Music Group executive Jeff Harleston have joined the The first imperial crown will be honored with the Medal of Honor for Excellence.
“We are thrilled to create the ICE Medal of Honor and recognize these outstanding individuals who have left a lasting impact on the world through their art and creativity,” BAM co-founder Michael Mauldin said in a statement. “This celebration is a testament to the power of Black American music to shape culture and inspire generations.”
The ceremony will take place on October 15 at Morehouse College in Atlanta. BAM describes itself as “committed to preserving, protecting and promoting the legacy and future of authentic Black American music.”
Grandmaster Flash was one of hip-hop’s earliest pioneers (he celebrates his 50th anniversary this year) and rose to mainstream prominence with the socially conscious 1982 track “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The groundbreaking “The adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the wheels of steel” from 1981 was the first record to feature the scratching and mixing routines that were a hallmark of ’70s hip-hop park jams. In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
With her hit “Fallin’” from 2001, Keys made her breakthrough into the music scene. Her debut album, Songs in A Minor, reached the top spot Billboard 200 Diagram. The “If I Ain’t Got You” singer was nominated for 30 Grammy Awards and has won 15, including song of the year and best new artist.
Jam and Lewis got their start in the music business in the early 1980s with the Minnesota-based group The Time, opening for Prince. They were eventually fired by Prince himself during a tour. The duo then became known for their magical flair in the recording studio and produced primarily for Janet Jackson – including on her hit albums “Control” and “Rhythm Nation”. The couple was nominated for 23 Grammys and won five.
De Passe is considered the first black female president of Motown Productions Convince Berry Gordy to sign the Jackson 5 and help secure the Commodores. She has won two Emmys and received five additional nominations. The trailblazer was also the first black American to be nominated for an Oscar for original screenplay in 1972 for “Lady Sings the Blues.”