Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan Among Soul Greats Receiving Rhapsody & Rhythm Award

The award was also presented to Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

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Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for DuJour

Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers have received the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music.

The presentations took place at Thursday’s (17) seventh annual Celebration of Legends Benefit Concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The event was sponsored by Amazon and was broadcast as a livestream, with limited in-person attendance.

Said Richie in his filmed acceptance speech: “This award is the heartfelt confirmation that when I have kids that walk up to me and say, ‘I wanna be like you,’ that’s when I figured I did the right thing.” He added: “I want to thank each and every one of you for putting me in this museum, and of course when I’m in Nashville, you know I’m coming to check the place out.”

Lionel Richie Performs "One World" on the American Idol 2021 Season Finale

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Khan, whose award was presented by Bobby Brown, was at the event to declare: “This award goes to not just myself, but so many women who went before me. Some were my contemporaries, others were not, from Billie Holiday to Whitney Houston. This award goes to them, my sisters on this planet and in this field. I’ve had a beautiful career so far and I’m not finished yet.”

Jones, for his part, commented: “It is with great humility and gratitude that I accept this award from the National Museum of African American Music and I share it with all the great singers, songwriters and musicians that I’ve worked with over the years.

“But most importantly, I want to say thank you to all the men and women who worked to make this museum a reality, from the carpenters, bricklayers, electricians to the business leaders, government officials and corporate donors.”

Paying further tribute to the National Museum of African American Music, which had its grand opening in January, he added: “I did want to take a moment to share how honored I am to be recognized with this award and how proud I am that the doors of the National Museum of African American Music are open.”

Speaking ahead of the event, museum president and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III said that he felt that the honorees “wanted to be a part of celebrating the inaugural year of the museum actually being open. We’re pleased to be able to honor such an august group of folks who are legends, and who will become legendary as things continue to unfold. We’re really delighted with that.”

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