Nashville’s Best Music Event of the Year: National Museum of African American Music’s Legends Gala

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 27: Chrissy Walter, Doug E. Fresh and Gloria Gaynor attend The Celebration of Legends Gala 2019 at Music City Center on June 27, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the National Museum of African American Music)

The sixth annual Celebrations of Legends gala took to play this past Thursday night at the Music City Center in Downtown Nashville. The honorees this year sung and performed songs during their careers that many of us grew up singing and dancing to like “Atomic Dog”, “I Will Survive” and “The Show”. The gala was put together to recognize George Clinton, Gloria Gaynor and Doug E. Fresh but the interesting thing is there were a couple of people who spoke on how these three affected their careers.

Shannon Sanders, music producer and owner of 102.1 The Ville here in Nashville, had a lot to say about how all three affected him and his career. 

“I remember the first time I heard Doug E Fresh. I’m a producer of course, but I started as a beatboxer when I was a kid and a lot of that was because of Doug E Fresh,” said Sanders, who hosted the event.

And as far as George Clinton, Sanders had a story there too.

“Atomic Dog is one of the first records that I bought with my own money. I made my grandmother drive me to record store. I came home and I wore a hole in that 45.”

“I Will Survive is just such an iconic record and I actually had the pleasure of working with her in the last few years. She has a gospel album coming out right now and I’m proud to say I have two songs on that album. Just who she is and how she is in the studio and just the way she approaches her craft, I learned a lot from her as a creator.”

Sanders spoke very highly of all three and their effects on him as a producer in his career path, but the words of Fat Man Scoop on Doug E Fresh really took it there when it came to Doug E Fresh.

“If there is no Doug E Fresh, there is no Fat Man Scoop,” he said as he paid tribute to Doug E Fresh by performing some of Doug E Fresh’s hits.

The event, which was started by the National Museum of African American Music, is important because it allows us to celebrate stars while they are still here with us. And, of course, will create even more momentum when the museum opens in 2020 in Nashville. 

Doug E Fresh, George Clinton, and Gloria Gaynor are stars in their own right, but they are also pioneers that helped create people like Shannon Sanders, Fat Man Scoop and many more. And it will be great to see how the National Museum of African American Music not only highlights that but highlights the wide-ranging effects of African Americans on music in all genres when it’s doors open. The Gala was just a glimpse of what we have coming in the future to us with the museum and the effect it has had on the careers of many. 


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