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BMI Salutes R&B Pioneers

Posted in News on November 7, 2001

BMI proudly congratulates the honorees of the 12th Annual Pioneer Awards, presented by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation at a gala ceremony on November 8. Honorees included BMI legendary songwriters/artists Al Green, Big Jay McNeely, Dee Dee Sharp, Holland/Dozier/Holland, the Emotions, Louis Jordan and Allen Toussaint. A major sponsor of the Pioneer Awards since its inception, BMI represents more than 85% of the honorees.

The event, postponed from October 4 due to the September 11th terrorist attacks, was hosted by BMI songwriters Dionne Warwick and Isaac Hayes and was held for the first time at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. Gospel and R&B singer Fontella Bass and communal funk group Sly & The Family Stone were also honored.


Host Dionne Warwick; BMI's Charlie Feldman; Evelyn Stone, widow of late BMI songwriter Jesse Stone; and BMI's Sydnee Stewart and Kimberly Dawkins

The Pioneer Awards ceremony honors legendary artists whose lifelong contributions have been seminal in the development of Rhythm and Blues music. Founded in 1988, the R&B Foundation provides emergency medical and other needed financial assistance to Rhythm and Blues music legends of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The Foundation also promotes the educational outreach and historical and cultural preservation of R&B music through various grants and programs.


BMI songwriters Dionne Warwick and Isaac Hayes hosted the gala awards ceremony


BMI's Jean Banks (center) congratulates brothers Eddie and Brian Holland on their extraordinary career with writing partner Lamont Dozier (not present) that includes such Motown classic hits such as "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'," "Love Is Like a Heatwave," "Stop, In The Name Of Love" and "Can I Get a Witness"


BMI writer/producer Richard Frierson aka Young Lord (center) meets with BMI's Sydnee Stewart and Kimberly Dawkins at the pre-show cocktail reception held at the Magic Johnson Theatres in Harlem


Singer Dee Dee Sharp, who performed her 1962 hit "Mashed Potato Time," and BMI's Charlie Feldman


R&B Foundation Board member and Emmy Award-winning "60 Minutes" anchor Ed Bradley with BMI's Alison Smith


Tenor sax player Big Jay McNeely makes his way to the Apollo stage to perform his 1949 hit, "The Deacon's Hop"

photos: Gary Gershoff