Memphis Pays Tribute To Local Stars At Recording Academy Honors

January 05, 2006 -- 4:28 pm PST
Craig Brewer, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Justin Timberlake and radio station WDIA feted

Filmmaker Craig Brewer, the songwriting team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter, singing star Justin Timberlake and radio station WDIA were honored Oct. 22 at the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy’s inaugural Recording Academy Honors event held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Nationally and internationally known celebrities with Mid-South roots — including rapper David Banner, actor Morgan Freeman and singer Lisa Marie Presley — helped recognize the achievements and contributions of those who have greatly impacted and enriched this local music community and the community-at-large.

Rapper and Mississippi native David Banner presented Craig Brewer with his award and credited the filmmaker for giving him his first movie role in the forthcoming Black Snake Moan. Brewer was honored for bringing the underground rap scene in the Mid-South to millions through his film Hustle & Flow.

"This city is really my family and you all helped me when I didn't have much," Brewer said. "If you don't have much, you do something with it, and all the artists I respected didn't have much, but did something with it. Memphis, you've helped me figure myself out."

Isaac Hayes was honored along with longtime hit-making partner David Porter. The pair — whose songs include "Hold On, I'm Comin'," "Soul Man," and "I Thank You" — were presented their awards by songwriter/producer Jimmy Jam and Memphis native Lisa Marie Presley.

"The greatest honor is to be honored in your own hometown, and we've been awarded all around the world," said Hayes, dressed from head to toe in royal blue and donning his signature sunglasses. "Memphis, open your eyes, ears, and hearts and realize what's in your midst."

Morgan Freeman, who will co-star in the movie Edison with Justin Timberlake, presented the young star with his award. "What company to be in — David Porter, Isaac Hayes — I'm too young to be up here, but I feel blessed to be able to do what I'm doing," Timberlake said. "You don't have to be a particular race or gender to have soul — soul is where you come from."

Timberlake exhibited some of his soul when he took the stage with Hayes, the Soulchildren, Porter, singer/songwriter Matt Morris, and others for an impromptu performance, which included renditions of Otis Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay," to culminate the evening.

The nation's first African-American staffed and programmed radio station, WDIA, was honored for changing the face of radio in the United States.

WDIA on-air personality Ford Nelson, who has been with the station for 55 years, joked that he came to WDIA in 1980 B.C...."Before computers. Radio has changed drastically, but we're still kicking."

Proceeds from the event will benefit MusiCares Hurricane Relief 2005. The fund assists musicians and artists affected by Hurricane Katrina with food, shelter, clothing, instruments, transportation and more.

Every dollar from the silent auction — which included such items as Converse tennis shoes autographed by actress Ellen DeGeneres, script pages from the movie Scarface accompanied by a photo of Al Pacino; and a cherry red guitar signed by B.B. King, Les Paul, and John Lee Hooker — will also aid Hurricane Katrina restoration efforts.