1. Doris Troy (Doris Payne, Doris Higginson), R&B singer, known to her many fans as “Mama Soul”. She was born as in The Bronx, the daughter of a Barbadian Pentecostal minister. Her parents disapproved of “subversive” forms of music like rhythm & blues, so she cut her teeth singing in her father’s choir. She was working as an usherette at the Apollo where she was discovered by the ‘Godfather of Soul’, James Brown.
Troy worked with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick before she co-wrote and recorded “Just One Look”, which hit #10 in 1963. The song has been covered by The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Bryan Ferry, Anne Murray, Klaus Nomi, and Harry Nilsson, among others. As her solo career peaked, she did back-up for the Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd (on their seminal album The Dark Side of the Moon), George Harrison, Johnny Hallyday, Dusty Springfield, Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Carly Simon.
2. Van McCoy (Van Allen Clinton McCoy), an accomplished musician, music producer, arranger, songwriter, and orchestra conductor. He is known best for his 1975 internationally successful song “The Hustle”, which is still played in dance halls and by radio nowadays more than 30 years since his death. He has approximately 700 song copyrights to his credit and is also noted for producing songs for such recording artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Brenda & The Tabulations, David Ruffin, Peaches & Herb, and Stacy Lattisaw.
4. Kathy Sledge, singer who has had several hits on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, including “Take Me Back To Love Again,” which hit #1 in 1992. She is the granddaughter of former opera singer Viola Williams.
She is a member of Sister Sledge and enjoyed many pop, R&B and disco hits with her sisters Debra, Joni and Kim.
Sledge returned to the dance chart in 2001 as a featured vocalist for King Britt’s musical project Sylk 130 on the track “Rising”.
5. Eric Williams, Rhythm and Blues Artist (Blackstreet) 51 Years ago
6. John Singleton (John Daniel Singleton), film director, screenwriter, and producer. A native of South Los Angeles, many of his films consider the implications of inner-city violence like the critically acclaimed and popular Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning and Baby Boy. He has branched out into mainstream territory with the blockbuster 2 Fast 2 Furious and Four Brothers.
7. Shirley Brown, soul singer, best known for her million-selling single “Woman to Woman” which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975.