1. Richard Samuel Roberts, still photographer, To have “a true likeness” of oneself was just as necessary as every other necessity in life. Born in South Carolina, he was a self-taught photographer, who operated his own studio in Fernandina, FL, where he gained a reputation as a portrait maker. Success was achieved as a result of long hours of study that could only be done after he had finished his day’s work as a stevedore and later as a fireman laborer. He read books and magazines on photography, becoming familiar with the nuances of lighting, angles, shadows, and backgrounds. His dream was to become a master portrait-maker, with every picture a true reproduction of the subject.
2. Shelton Brooks, Lyricist Extraordinaire, Writer, music composer, Brooks wrote some of the biggest hits of the first third of the 20th century. His compositions included “All Night Long,” “At the Darktown Strutters’ Ball,” “Every Day,” “Some of These Days,” “Somewhere in France,” “Swing That Thing,” “That Man of Mine,” “There’ll Come A Time,” and “Walkin’ The Dog.”
3. Melvin Edwards, sculptor, based in New York City. He has had more than a dozen one-person show exhibits and been in over four dozen group shows. He has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey. His works, characterised by the use of straight-edged triangular and rectilinear forms, often have a political content.
4. Ron Carter, jazz double-bassist. His appearances on over 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history, along with Milt Hinton, Ray Brown and Leroy Vinnegar. Carter is also an acclaimedcellist who has recorded numerous times on that instrument.
5. Tyrone Davis, soul singer with a distinctive style, recording a long list of hit records over a period of more than 30 years. His biggest hit came in early 1970 when “Turn Back The Hands Of Time” also reached #1 in the R&B chart and went up to #3 in the Hot 100 pop chart. Written by Jack Daniels and Bonnie Thompson, this disc also sold over one million copies, and received a gold discawarded by the Recording Industry Association of America in May 1970.
6. Nicholas Ashford, Singer and Songwriter (Ashford and Simpson), write such hits as “Reach out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Becoming a solo act in 1973, Ashford and Simpson will have a string of successful albums including “Send It,” “Solid,” and “Real Love.”
7. Jackie Jackson, singer and musician, a member of The Jackson 5, and the second child in the Jackson family.
8. Oleta Adams, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Jazz, and Gospel singer and pianist. In 1985, Adams was discovered by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, founders of the English band Tears for Fears, while performing in a hotel bar in Kansas City, Missouri whilst they were on a US tour. They chatted with Adams after her performance, and two years later they contacted her to invite her to join their band as a singer on their next album, The Seeds of Love.
In 1989, the album was released and the single “Woman In Chains” – sung as a duet by Adams and Orzabal and with Phil Collins on drums – became her first hit. Adams embarked on a world tour with Tears For Fears in 1990, performing by herself as the supporting artist at the start of each show, and remaining onstage throughout the Tears For Fears set where she would provide piano and vocals.
9. Kimora Lee Simmons, a fashion model, author, and former president and Creative Directorfor Phat Fashions.