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Cincinnati Black Music Walk Of Fame stars on display at CVG airport until next summer

Cory Sharber
The Hall of Fame's first four inductees are Otis Williams of The Charms, The Isley Brothers, Dr. Charles Fold, and Bootsy Collins. Their stars will be displayed at CVG Airport until summer 2022.

The first four stars of the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame were unveiled Wednesday at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Those receiving stars are Otis Williams of The Charms, The Isley Brothers, Dr. Charles Fold and Bootsy Collins.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Collins became a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Award winner, and a platinum record selling bass player. He's performed with acts spanning multiple genres, including most notably Parliament-Funkadelic, James Brown and Buckethead.

Collins says he owes his success to those who paved the way for artists like him. When he was only 15, he became a staff musician at Cincinnati's legendary King Records.

Cory Sharber
Otis Williams (left) and Bootsy Collins (right) jumpstarted their careers at the legendary King Records in Cincinnati back in the day.

"I learned how to learn from these great people," Collins said. "I never looked at myself as great, to this day. None of that means really anything to me. I'm just glad to be amongst my people."

Otis Williams recorded with his group The Charms for King Records back in the day. During his career, he landed multiple top 10 hits on the R&B charts.

Otis Williams (left) posing with his star at CVG Airport.
Cory Sharber

"Cincinnati has been very good to us and we've been good to Cincinnati," Williams said. "We've done a lot of work here and we'll do more."

Williams' son, Kent Butts, serves as the chair of the King Records Legacy Committee. He says the Walk of Fame isn't just about preserving the city's Black musical history, but educating future generations.

Cory Sharber
King Records Legacy Committee chair Kent Butts addresses the media about the importance of teaching future generations about the legacy of Black music in Cincinnati.

"They don't need a gun in their hand, they need a trumpet in their hand," Butts said. "They need a saxophone in their hand. They need something that they can do and understand there's another way."

CVG will host the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame stars at its baggage claim area while the outdoor interactive park is being constructed.

In July, a kick-off ceremony announced the inaugural inductees. The new space will be dedicated exclusively to recognizing influential Black musicians from Southwest Ohio. Commissioners voted to use $9 million in federal stimulus to build the park in front of the ICON Music Center. It's expected to be complete by July 2022.