Ronald Nathan Bell
November 1, 1951 – September 9, 2020
Ronald Nathan Bell also known as Khalis Bayyan, was an American composer, singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, saxophonist and co-founding member of Kool & the Gang. The band recorded nine No. 1 R&B singles in the 1970s and 80s, including its No. 1 pop single Celebration. The group is honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020
Chadwick Aaron Boseman was an American actor. After studying directing at Howard University, he landed his first major role as a series regular on Persons Unknown (2010). Boseman's breakthrough performance came as baseball player Jackie Robinson in the biographical film 42 (2013). He continued to portray historical figures, starring in Get on Up (2014) as singer James Brown and Marshall (2017) as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Boseman achieved international fame for playing superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) from 2016 to 2019. He appeared in four MCU films, including an eponymous 2018 film that earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. His final film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, is scheduled to be released posthumously.
In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer. He kept his condition private, continuing to act while receiving treatment. Boseman died in 2020 from complications related to the illness.
December 5, 1932 - May 9, 2020
Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. He was an influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades. Nicknamed "The Innovator, The Originator, and The Architect of Rock and Roll", Penniman's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his charismatic showmanship and dynamic music, characterized by frenetic piano playing, pounding back beat and raspy shouted vocals, laid the foundation for rock and roll. Penniman's innovative emotive vocalizations and uptempo rhythmic music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk, respectively. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come.
"Tutti Frutti" (1955), one of Penniman's signature songs, became an instant hit, crossing over to the pop charts in both the United States and overseas in the United Kingdom. Penniman's next hit single, "Long Tall Sally" (1956), hit No. 1 on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues Best-Sellers chart, followed by a rapid succession of fifteen more hit singles in less than three years. His performances during this period resulted in integration between White Americans and African Americans in his audience. In 1962, during a five-year period in which Penniman abandoned rock and roll music for born again Christianity, concert promoter Don Arden persuaded him to tour Europe. During this time, Arden had the Beatles open for Penniman on some tour dates, capitalizing on his popularity. Richard advised the Beatles on how to perform his songs and taught the band's member Paul McCartney his distinctive vocalizations.
Penniman is cited as one of the first crossover black artists, reaching audiences of all races. His music and concerts broke the color line, drawing blacks and whites together despite attempts to sustain segregation. His contemporaries, including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, all recorded covers of his works. Taken by his music and style, and personally covering four of Penniman's songs on his own two breakthrough albums in 1956, Presley told Penniman in 1969 that his music was an inspiration to him and that he was "the greatest".
Penniman was honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2015, Penniman received a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music for his key role in the formation of popular music genres and helping to bring an end to the racial divide on the music charts and in concert in the mid-1950s changing American culture significantly. "Tutti Frutti" was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, which stated that his "unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music".
"My friend, a Rock & the Institution, Mr. Richard Wayne Penniman (Dec 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020), better known as Little Richard. Share the love with his family & friends all around the world. We will never forget u & ur music.Bootsy baby!!!"
- William "Bootsy" Collins via Facebook May 9, 2020
Kobe Bean Bryant
August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020
Gianna Maria Onore Bryant
May 1 2006 - January 26, 2020
Kobe Bean Bryant was an American professional basketball player. A shooting guard, he spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Bryant won five NBA championships, and was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, a 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), and a two-time NBA Finals MVP. Bryant also led the NBA in scoring twice, and ranks fourth on the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.
Born in Philadelphia and partly raised in Italy, Bryant was recognized as the top high-school basketball player in the U.S. while at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. The son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, he declared for the 1996 NBA draft after graduation, and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick; the Hornets then traded him to the Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season. Despite a feud with teammate Shaquille O'Neal, the pair led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.
After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded and Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points; the second most points scored in a single game in league history, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Bryant led the team to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, and was named NBA Finals MVP on both occasions. He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013, when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon at age 34. He subsequently suffered season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively, in the following two seasons. Citing physical decline, Bryant retired after the 2015–16 season.
Bryant is the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. He was also the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons. His 18 All-Star designations are the second most all time, while it is the record for most consecutive appearances as a starter. Bryant's four All-Star Game MVP Awards are tied with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history. He gave himself the nickname "Black Mamba" in the mid-2000s, and the epithet became widely adopted by the general public. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won two gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. In 2018, he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his 2017 film Dear Basketball.
Bryant died at age 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, due to blunt force trauma sustained from a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. A number of tributes and memorials were subsequently issued, while the All-Star Game MVP award was renamed in his honor.
Herbert "The Blues Man" Reese
October 26, 1936 - November 27,2015
Herbert Reese, known to many J100 listeners as the Blues Man, passed away on November 27, 2015 at the age of 79 after a brief illness. Those who knew Herb knew that he was a man of many talents. His love of being on radio never waned and many years ago, he resumed his hobby again on WDNC and WTIK in Durham, NC. He also developed a hobby of making music by teaching himself to play the piano. Herb loved gospel, blues and jazz music and one of his favorite musicians was B.B. King. Before becoming ill, Herb had released a CD entitled "Georgia Bounce" named after his home state of Georgia. We here at J100 will never forget Herb's talent behind the mic, his knowledge and love for music, and his passion for radio broadcasting. Rest Peacefully Blues Man.