What makes a star? Passion? Originality? Perseverance? For the Black music icons from Hamilton County, it started with a dream. Followed by the tenacity to never quit until that dream was a reality. Visit the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame when it opens this summer and experience greatness so close and personal…you can touch it.
Founded in 2021 by Hamilton County, the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame will debut at The Andrew J. Brady ICON Music Center at the Banks in Cincinnati.
“We recognize the music created by those with Hamilton County and Southeastern Ohio roots has impacted funk, opera, hip-hop, gospel, R&B, rock, and more,” said founder and Hamilton County Commission President Alicia Reece. “Our interactive walk celebrates the power of music, the artists, and the creative reach of our region.”
Media representatives and guests got to see a behind-the-scenes look on February 13 at the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame site.
The project, when it opens this summer, will feature some of Cincinnati’s finest artists, many who have become world famous.
“I wanted to do it in a way that it would be a tourism attraction,” “That people from not only around the city and the county and the state could come, but people around the world will come here and know the impact that artists and musicians and producers made, right from here.”
Gold stars will be on display with the names of many Cincinnati music legends, from Bootsy Collins, Otis Williams, Isley Brothers, Wilbert Longmire to Penny Ford, and now, as of February 13, Louise Shropshire.
Shropshire, the composer of hymns, befriended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote “We Shall Overcome, the key anthem of the American Civil Rights Movement.
“She sat down at the piano, and she started to play and she sang him the inspiring tune that she had written “If My Jesus Wills” and King asked her if he could use the words in the chorus of the song, ‘We Shall Overcome,'” committee member Joe Mallory said at the ceremony.
When you visit, Reece told the crowd, it will be educational and entertaining.
The walk will feature technology that offers an interactive experience, where you can dance with Bootsy or make your own beat, Reece said. There will be Braille and pulsations, making the experience inclusive and inspiring for all.
“I think their stories can be inspiring to an artist that says, ‘I don’t know if I should keep going on.’ You can come down here and see their story of when they were about to give up, but didn’t, and it gives them the encouragement to keep going,” Reece said.
The walk of fame will be open, and free to all.
A grand opening celebration is set for July 22.