SOURCE: Rhythm & Blues Foundation

January 18, 2007 11:47 ET

Memorial Evening to Honor the Legendary Ruth Brown Set for Monday, January 22 at 6:00 PM in New York City

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 18, 2007 -- The life of the incomparable Ruth Brown, whose musical legacy was matched by her fight for royalty reform for herself and other artists, will be celebrated in a memorial service held on January 22, 2007, at 6:00 PM at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 Odell Clark Place, New York, NY, it was announced by Kendall Minter, Chair of The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.

The evening event will feature tributes from Brown's musical peers, including Little Jimmy Scott, Mabel John and Chuck Jackson. In addition, Little Richard will attend as well as other contemporaries and well-known fans.

Known internationally as "Miss Rhythm," Ruth Brown's long and celebrated music career began in the late 1940s. In the early 1950s she was Atlantic Records' best-selling female performer and the record label became known as "the house that Ruth built." Some of her enduring hits were "5-10-15 Hours," "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean," "Teardrops From My Eyes," "So Long" and "Don't Deceive Me." Ruth Brown had sixteen Top Ten blues records that included five Number 1 hits.

Brown's musical career was resurrected in the mid-70s when she earned accolades for her theatrical performances. Her stage career began when she played gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the civil rights musical "Selma." She also appeared in Allen Toussaint's Off-Broadway musical "Stagger Lee." Three years later she appeared in the hit musical "Black & Blue" in Paris. "Black & Blue" moved to Broadway where Ms. Brown won the Tony award for "Best Actress in a Musical." Director John Waters gave Brown the chance to create the role "Motormouth Mable" in the cult classic film "Hairspray." She was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 1993.

Brown is remembered for her ardent fight for royalty reform, as well as for her musical contributions. By testifying before Congress, Brown brought public attention to the practices of record companies that left many early rhythm and blues artists impoverished. Her efforts resulted in remuneration for herself and other artists, and to the formation of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

Ruth Weston Brown, who died on November 17, 2006 from complications following a heart attack and stroke she suffered after surgery, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on January 12, 1928. She was 78 years old. Ms. Brown learned to sing at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where her father directed the choir. At 17 she ran away from home to begin her career as a singer and later married trumpeter Jimmy Brown.

The Rhythm and Blues Foundation, part of the legacy of Ruth Brown, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of Rhythm and Blues music. Founded in 1988, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation provides archival, educational and performance programs to build appreciation of the contribution of Rhythm and Blues to the world's musical heritage. The provision of financial and medical assistance to distressed artists is also a cornerstone of the Foundation's services. As a Founding Director and a champion for artists' rights, Ruth Brown played a central role in shaping the Foundation's mission, programs and services.


Contact Information

    Lindajo Loftus
    310-455-9181 Office
    310-497-8108 Mobile