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R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum 'Can't forget the Motor City!'

With powerhouses like mortgage lender Quicken Loans, and Ilitch Holdings...as potential investors and supporters, the possibilities seem endless
By Larry Buford

Detroit-- The city of Cleveland has the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Nashville has the Country Music Hall of Fame, so it makes sense that Detroit - the home of Hitsville USA - should be the mecca for rhythm & blues, right? And with powerhouses like mortgage lender Quicken Loans, and Ilitch Holdings - owner of the Detroit Tigers, the Red Wings, and the Fox Theater - as potential investors and supporters, the possibilities seem endless. That's exactly what the purveyors of the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum (R&BHOF) are hoping for, and the reality seems to be in the offing.

On July 16, 2014 at 10:30AM, a press conference will take place at Detroit's Charles Wright African American Museum. Music legends from Detroit and around the world are invited to show their support in having the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum built in the 'Motor City' to preserve the national history of rhythm & blues and Detroit's music legacy. The conference will be facilitated by popular WPON radio host David Washington. In addition, the organizers will have a mobile music hall of fame museum on display.

One of the components of the proposed museum concept will be the Motor City Music Experience Center/Motor City Music Walk of Fame designed to tell the complete story of Detroit's music history from the artists, to the legendary record companies, to the night clubs where all those show-stopping performances took place. The project will boast: State of the Art; Highly Interactive; Virtual Reality; 3D; and Hologram Experience. The R&BHOF - a non-profit organization registered in the state of Michigan - will bring jobs; promote tourism, economic development, cultural awareness, diversity, and education, say officials.

R&BHOF Executive Chairperson Cheryl Ruffin - daughter of the late, great David Ruffin of The Temptations - says, "I believe the R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum should be in Detroit right along with the Motown Museum, United Sound Studios, and other historical sites." Over the past year Ms. Ruffin has been contacting and getting thumbs up from many Motown alumni, other Detroit music legends, and the families of the departed.

R&BHOF officials maintain that of the thousands of abandoned buildings in the Detroit area, one of those buildings - all factors considered - could very well become the home for their project. Provided that the land or building is donated by the city, state or county, the cost could run from 10 to 15 million dollars. As it stands, there is not a rhythm & blues hall of fame museum anywhere in the world dedicated to the history of rhythm & blues artists. This will be the first.

Earlier this year it was reported that Canton, OH city officials had given the green light to build in that city - which will still host the 2014 induction ceremony - but the first choice had always been Detroit.

On August 17, 2013 at Cleveland State University in Ohio, many Detroiters and Motown alumni were inducted into the R&BHOF inaugural class such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Dramatics, and Jackie Wilson to name a few. This year's induction ceremony will be held August, 24th in Canton, OH at the Canton Palace Theater, and will include Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, The Whispers, Marvin Gaye, The Funk Brothers, Gene Chandler, Joe Jackson, and The Sweet Inspirations. Confirmed attendees (among others) are Duke Fakir (The Four Tops), Kim Weston, Cissy Houston, Martha Reeves, Joe Jackson, and the families of Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and David Ruffin.

Says Ms. Ruffin, "Detroit's music legacy made it the music capital of the world so we feel this is the right place for the R&B museum…we hope that we can soon make an official announcement that our project has found a home here in Detroit where we are planning to hold the 2015 induction ceremony."


Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub.) www.amazon.com. Visit the author at www.editorialbylarry.com

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