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More stars added to Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame ahead of July unveiling

the artist hi-tek sits against a brick wall wearing a yankees cap and a jean jacket
Danielle Da Silva Photography
Flickr Creative Commons

Musicians from Cincinnati that span many genres will be honored with stars on the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame.

The 2022 inductees for the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame were announced Wednesday at the Hard Rock Casino in Pendleton and include Penny Ford, Midnight Star, Hi-Tek and Wilbert Longmire.

The 2022 Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame inductees are Penny Ford, Midnight Star, Hi-Tek, and Wilbert Longmire.
Gameday PR
The 2022 Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame inductees are Penny Ford, Midnight Star, Hi-Tek, and Wilbert Longmire.

Penny Ford is the lead singer of the German Eurodance group, Snap!, most famous for their platinum hit record, "The Power." Ford began performing in local talent shows in and around Cincinnati. During her 1979 summer break, Ford went out on tour with Dayton, Ohio, funkateers Zapp as a part of Parliament-Funkadelic's World Funk Tour. She still performs to this day and currently lives in Germany.

Hi-Tek is a hip-hop producer and rapper most famous for making beats with artists such as Mos Def and Talib Kweli as Black Star. He’s also one-half of the group Reflection Eternal with Kweli. Hi-Tek went on to become a staff producer for Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. Other artists he’s worked with include 50 Cent, The Game, and Anderson .Paak. It was announced he’s acquired the masters to his recordings during Wednesday's announcement.

Midnight Star formed after the band members met at Kentucky State University in the 1970s. Throughout the 1980s, the band achieved success with their double platinum album, No Parking On The Dance Floor, and their Billboard Top 20 hit “Operator.” Cincinnati natives Reggie and Vincent Calloway later formed their own group, Calloway, who recorded "I Wanna Be Rich,” which went No. 2 on the Billboard 100 in 1990.

Wilbert Longmire played in the early 1960s around Cincinnati. His first recordings were made in 1963 with the Hank Marr Quartette. Longmire was well known in jazz circles and performed with George Benson, and other jazz notables like Billy Eckstine, Lou Rawls, Jimmy Smit, Art Farmer, Herbie Hancock and Larry Corryell. He worked as a session musician for King Records with Red Prysock and Jack McDuff. He died in 2018 at the age of 77.

During Wednesday’s announcement, Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece says the Walk of Fame is about giving Black artists from Cincinnati the credit they deserve.

“Too many people think that our artists are from other parts, they think they’re from the East Coast and the West Coast, but they’re from right here,” Reece said. “So we wanted to build a Black Music Walk of Fame that was a missing piece of the puzzle so that people know that these artists came right here from our town, our communities, our neighborhoods, our schools, and encouraged others to do it.”

In July 2021, a kick-off ceremony announced the inaugural inductees of the Black Music Walk of Fame, which included Otis Williams of The Charms, Bootsy Collins, The Isley Brothers and Dr. Charles Fold. The new space will be dedicated exclusively to recognizing influential Black musicians from Southwest Ohio. Hamilton County commissioners voted to use $9 million in federal stimulus to build the park in front of the Brady Music Center. It will be officially unveiled Saturday, July 23 at noon, the same weekend the Cincinnati Music Festival takes place.

This story has been updated.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.