1. Harmonica Fats (Harvey Blackston), a former Louisianan who learned the blues growing up on his grandfather’s farm; his longtime partner, Bernie Pearl, a native Angeleno, learned the blues from the musicians who frequented the fabled Ash Grove (a folk and blues club run by Pearl’s brother Ed), including Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb.
In the early ’50s, Fats took up harmonica as self-prescribed therapy while recuperating from an auto accident. Once confident, he formed a band, playing clubs around Los Angeles, and was known then as “Heavy Juice.” Just as carefully, he perfected his songwriting, scoring on the R&B charts in 1961 with the self-penned single “Tore Up.” After changing his name to Harmonica Fats, this success led to work as a studio musician, playing dates with performers as diverse as Bill Cosby, Ringo Starr, and Lou Rawls. He even did a stint as a traveling solo musician, seeking gigs as he drove in a station wagon around the country.
2. Guitar Shorty (David William Kearney), is a blues guitarist. He is well known for his explosive guitar style and wild stage antics. Billboard magazine said, “his galvanizing guitar work defines modern, top-of-the-line blues-rock. His vocals remain as forceful as ever. Righteous shuffles…blistering, sinuous guitar solos
3. Willie Tyler, ventriloquist, comedian and actor. Most of the time, he is credited as Willie Tyler and Lester. He has appeared in many television commercials, sitcoms, and movies. Tyler has had guest roles in The Parent ‘Hood, Pacific Blue, What’s Happening Now!!, The White Shadow and The Jeffersons, as well as serving as host of the popular Saturday morning children’s anthology series The ABC Weekend Special throughout the early 1980s. He appeared in the 1978 movie Coming Home. He appeared as himself in the 2004 BET Comedy Awards, Frank McKlusky, C.I., For Da Love of Money, In the House, the 4th Annual Black Gold Awards, The 1st Annual Soul Train Music Awards, Motown Returns to the Apollo, Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, Powerhouse, The White Shadow, American Bandstand, Vegetable Soup, The Flip Wilson Show, and The Hollywood Palace. On September 18, 2006, Tyler was the first ventriloquist to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman’s Ventriloquist Week.
4. Marc Gordon, an American R&B singer. With Gerald and Sean Levert, performed in the R&B trio LeVert.
5. Larenz Tate, film and television actor., Following appearances in such television series as 21 Jump Street and The Wonder Years, Tate was cast in the television movie The Women of Brewster Place before receiving the recurring role of Steve Urkel’s nemesis, Willie Fuffner, in the family comedy series Family Matters (1989). He was also a cast member on the CBS series The Royal Family, starring Redd Foxx and Della Reese, which ended prematurely when Redd Foxx suddenly died. In the video game 187 Ride or Die, Tate voices the main character, Buck.
Following numerous small-screen roles, offers began pouring in for Tate, and in late 1992, collaborative filmmaking siblings Albert and Allen Hughes approached him to star in their debut feature Menace II Society. A jarring vision of inner-city desperation and decay, the film found Tate channeling his substantial energy into creating “O-Dog”, a trigger-happy teenager. Following up with the little-seen but often-praised television series South Central, Tate would later appear in the family comedy-drama The Inkwell (1994) before re-teaming with the Hughes brothers for Dead Presidents (1995) and taking on the role of a love-stricken young poet in the romantic drama Love Jones (1997). Larenz Tate also played the role of Kenny in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the episode “That’s no Lady That’s my Cousin”.