Nashville’s National Museum Of African American Music Names Four National Chairs

Pictured (L-R): H. Beecher Hicks III, NMAAM President/CEO, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Singer/Songwriter/NMAAM National Chairperson Darius Rucker and Kevin P. Lavender NMAAM Board/Fifth Third Bank attend NMAAM National Chairs And Fundraising Progress Press Conference at Nashville Visitor Center on May 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for National Museum of African American Music

Pictured (L-R): H. Beecher Hicks III, NMAAM President/CEO; Nashville Mayor Megan Barry; NMAAM National Chairperson Darius Rucker; Kevin P. Lavender, NMAAM Board/Fifth Third Bank. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for National Museum of African American Music

The National Museum of African American Music named Darius Rucker, CeCe Winans, Keb Mo and India.Arie as National Chairs during a press conference on Monday (May 2) at the Nashville Visitor Information Center at Bridgestone Arena. The museum will be located at 5th and Broadway, across from the Ryman Auditorium.

“It’s an honor to serve and to have NMAAM right here in Nashville,” said Rucker. “I’ve done a lot of music, rock, R&B and country and I enjoy bringing people together, like the music that I love. NMAAM will tell the rich story of the development of American music from the beginning of our country’s formation up through the birth of Hip-Hop and beyond. I am passionate about doing everything I can to help as are my fellow National Chairs. We’re looking forward to our work together and ensuring that NMAAM succeeds.”

Pictured: Kevin P. Lavender NMAAM Board/Fifth Third Bank and Singer/Songwriter/NMAAM National Chairperson Darius Rucker attend NMAAM National Chairs And Fundraising Progress Press Conference at Nashville Visitor Center on May 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for National Museum of African American Music

Pictured (L-R): Kevin P. Lavender, Darius Rucker. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for National Museum of African American Music

Senator Steve Dickerson (R) told attendees that the State Legislature’s approval of the 2016-2017 budget included a $2 million gift to NMAAM. This gift caps a year were the organization has received more than $4 million in commitments in the last several months.

“This type of commitment really demonstrates the confidence that we have in [the museum] and we acknowledge the significance that the organization will have for the State’s tourism branding,” said Dickerson. “As we all know, Nashville is Music City, but the soundtrack of American music is made in Tennessee.”

Mayor Megan Barry echoed this sentiment, reiterating the City’s $10 million commitment and the anticipated impact NMAAM will have on Nashville’s tourism and music industries. Additionally, she stated how excited she was to have the museum on 5th Avenue, at the start of Nashville’s Avenue of the Arts, in the heart of downtown.

“Fifth and Broadway is truly one of the busiest streets in our state and it will be great to have NMAAM on 5th Avenue, facing the Ryman Auditorium,” said Mayor Barry. “I believe this is the ideal location for this museum and I am thrilled that we have finally found the right home for NMAAM. Nashville will now have this as a signature piece to this corridor, bringing new tourists who will enjoy our city and experiencing NMAAM.”

Kevin P. Lavender, Executive Vice President of Fifth Third Bank and NMAAM’s Chairman of the Board, moderated the press conference.

“The momentum that we are experiencing and support in telling a story, never before told, is exciting and impactful” said H. Beecher Hicks, III, NMAAM’s President and CEO. “Each of these artists understands the vision and mission of our organization and has a true desire to help us educate the world about the impact African Americans have on American culture.”

NMAAM also announced its newest members of the organization’s Board of Directors and National Advisory Board.

New Board of Directors members include:
• Karl Dean, Former Mayor of Nashville
• AC Wharton, Former Mayor of Memphis
• Anasa Troutman, CEO, Eloveate
• Damon Williams, SVP, Programming Strategy & Partnerships, Music Choice
• Stacey Garrett-Koju, Founding Member and Board of Directors Chair, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
• Jerry Maynard, II, Former Council Member-At-Large and President of the Maynard Group
• Catherine Brewton, Vice President of Writer Relations at BMI
• Phil Thornton, Vice President and General Manager of E-One Entertainment

New Advisory Board members include:
• Debra Langford, Head of Diversity Inclusion Initiatives at the University of Southern California’s School of Business and CEO of the Langford Group
• Richard Smallwood, Award-winning Gospel Recording Artist
• Dene Oliver, who will serve as Chair of NMAAM’s National Advisory Board; serves as President of Oliver McMillan, a partner in the development of the Fifth + Broadway project

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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