1.Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl “Fatha” Hines was one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz.
2. Billy Williams, singer, who had a successful cover recording of Fats Waller’s “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” in 1957. The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. His trademark hook for his songs was to shout “Oh, Yeah” at the end of lyrics.
3. Pop (Roebuck) Staples, was a Mississippi-born Gospel and R&B musician. A “pivotal figure in gospel in the 1960s and 70s,” he was an accomplished songwriter, guitarist and singer. He was the patriarch and member of singing group The Staple Singers, which included his son Pervis and daughters Mavis, Yvonne, and Cleotha.
4. Johnny (John Veliotes) Otis, was a musician, bandleader, arranger, songwriter, producer, booking agent, tour promoter, road manager, record label operator, publisher, disk jockey, and television personality. In his spare time, away from the music world he was a author, columnist, politician, actor, printer, painter, sculptor, and even bred rare birds.
5. Charles Neville, Singer/Musician, the second oldest Neville brother, has the most diverse musical background. His experience on saxophone has included rhythm & blues, funk, jazz, be-bop, popular and even American Indian music. He cites as influences Louis Jordan, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Professor Longhair. He is also the only brother that lived away from New Orleans for long periods of time, making places like New York, Memphis and Oregon his home.
6. Denzel Washington, actor, screenwriter, director and film producer. He has garnered much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone.
Washington has been awarded two Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award and two Academy Awards for his work. He is notable for winning the Best Supporting Actor for Glory in 1990; and the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2002 for his role in the film Training Day.
7. John Stephens, better known by his stage name John Legend, is an American recording artist, musician and actor. He is the recipient of six Grammy Awards, and in 2007, he received the special Starlight award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Prior to the release of his debut album, Stephens’ career gained momentum through a series of successful collaborations with multiple established artists. Stephens added his voice to those of other artists, assisting in them reaching chart-topper hits. He lent his voice to that of Kanye West, on Slum Village’s “Selfish”, and Dilated Peoples’ “This Way”. Other artists included Jay-Z’s “Encore”, and sang backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ 2003 song “You Don’t Know My Name” and Fort Minor’s “High Road.” Stephens played piano on Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything.”
8. Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Nichols) Actress, singer and voice artist. She sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before turning to acting. Her most famous role is that of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the popular Star Trek television series, as well as the succeeding motion pictures, where her character was eventually promoted in Starfleet to the rank of commander. In 2006, she added executive producer to her résumé.