As a 5-year-old child, LaMont Robinson stood enthralled during an October 1966 performance as his favorite musician, James Brown, danced on stage, his illustrious hair bouncing to the beat. While performing “Please Please Please,” Brown kneeled as crew members draped a cape over his shoulders.
“When he dropped down on his knee and they put the cape on him, that just had a major effect on me,” Robinson told the Mississippi Free Press.
Nearly three decades later, Robinson met his childhood hero and took a photo with Brown in Augusta, Ga., in 1994. “I love him dearly, and I’m glad I had a chance to let him know that. And I’m friends with his daughters,” he said.
An American professional basketball player and businessman, Robinson founded and presently owns the Harlem Clowns, a team for which he is also a player. His talents have earned him a place in the 2019 American Basketball Hall of Fame.
During a visit to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the basketball player noticed that the 150,000-square-foot facility included information on the effects that R&B had on rock ‘n’roll, but as someone whose parents had instilled in him an appreciation for the genre and its greats such as The Temptations and Aretha Franklin, the Cleveland, Miss., native felt like the museum could have touched more on R&B’s history and cultural legacy.
LaMont Robinson (left) is pictured here with NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan (right) in 1994. Robinson is a professional basketball player and has been inducted into the American Basketball Hall of Fame. Courtesy LaMont Robinson
“Rhythm-and-blues music sparked all genres of music outside of the gospel and the blues, and it should have been more recognized,” Robinson said. “That sparked me to take my interest in 2010 and start putting together a rhythm-and-blues hall of fame because country music has one in Nashville, and a rock hall of fame (exists) in Cleveland. Where’s the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame at?”
That visit solidified his decision to open the R&B Hall of Fame and turn his vision into a reality. In
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