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Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame announces its 2023 inductees

james brown
Gospel-soul singer James Brown is shown with his Award of Merit presented at the 19th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Ca., Monday, Jan. 27, 1992.

The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame announced its third class of inductees Wednesday, which includes the R&B group The Deele, gospel composer Louise Shropshire, lead vocals for The Spinners Philippe Wynne, and the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown.

Brown stands out on the list of inductees for a few reasons. He's one of the most prominent and influential figures in all music, and he's not from Cincinnati.

Still, the Black Music Walk of Fame added him as an honorary inductee because of his connection with the Cincinnati-based King Records, where Brown released some of his early hits under the label.

Others like The Deele, which formed while its original members — including record executive L.A. Reid — attended Hughes High School, were fitting selections for the class. The group would later add vocalist Babyface from Indianapolis a few years later.

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Louise Shropshire was the first 2023 inductee announced in February and is known for her friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. and for creating the music that would eventually influence the Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome."

Philippe Wynne is another Cincinnati native who got his start in gospel music and went on to work with artists like fellow Walk of Fame inductee Bootsy Collins before joining the group The Spinners. As a lead vocalist, Wynne was a major part of the group's success in the '70s, and left a lasting impact on the music industry with hits like "The Rubberband Man."

During the announcement, the Walk of Fame recognized dozens of other artists from Cincinnati as "music influencers." Many of these influencers are producers, musicians and vocalists who work behind the scenes or alongside major acts and had a hand in creating some of music's most popular records. They received medals for their contributions to Cincinnati's music heritage.

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The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame will hold its grand opening and induction ceremony July 22 at The Banks, which coincides with the Cincinnati Music Festival taking place inside neighboring Paycor Stadium the same weekend.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.