Tribute Honors Georgia Music Legend Johnny Jenkins: Guitarist, Songwriter, Bandleader, Musician
MACON, Ga., June 7, 2013 – Johnny Edward Jenkins soon will join a celebrated group of individuals with close ties to Macon and Central Georgia, when he is inducted into the Douglass Theatre’s Walk of Fame. The installation ceremony will be on Friday, June 21, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. A live concert featuring some of Macon’s premier musicians will be held following the installation ceremony.
Mr. Jenkins is the fifth inductee into the Walk of Fame, located in the courtyard just outside of the front entrance of the Douglass. He joins other notables: Little Richard (2001), Otis Redding (2007), Hamp Swain (2008), and James Brown (2012). The panel containing the etching of Jenkins’ portrait, created by artist and Macon native David Moore, will be installed adjacent to the panel that honors Little Richard.
“It is fitting that we honor Johnny Jenkins, a giant from the early days of R&B, during June, which is Black Music Month,” stated director Gina Ward. “Like the other Walk of Fame inductees, he was a high-profile artist on the local music scene who often performed at the Douglass.”
Accepting the honor on behalf of Mr. Jenkins will be his daughter, Maria Jenkins. Family members also expected to attend include his sons Johnny E. Jenkins and Kevin Jenkins, siblings Terry Jenkins and Sandra Bryant, and others.
Johnny Jenkins, who died in 2006, had strong ties to the Douglass Theatre, where he and his bands frequently held concerts. It was where he first met an aspiring singer, Otis Redding, whose career he helped launch. He also influenced the careers of many other young musicians, the most famous being Jimi Hendrix, who, as a teenager and beyond, would pattern his guitar playing after Jenkins’ performance style.
Maconite Newton Collier, a trumpet player with Jenkins’ Pinetoppers band and later with R&B duo Sam & Dave, remembered Jenkins as a mentor and leader in the neighborhood. “Johnny is the reason I became a professional musician,” he stated. “He was like a big brother to me. I was a teenager when we first met, but he convinced my mother to let me travel with the band. And he was a pioneer. All the things you saw Jimi Hendrix do, all the behind the back playing and trick moves with his guitar, were copied from Johnny.”
The Douglass Theatre accepts nominations for the Walk of Fame from the general public. Under consideration for future inclusion is author and independent producer Oscar Micheaux, regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker. Charles Douglass frequently screened Micheaux’s productions in the theatre.
The media and general public are invited to attend the ceremony and concert, both of which are FREE. To obtain more information about the event and the nomination process, call the Theatre at 478-742-2000.
About the Douglass Theatre:
A historic venue used for live performances and motion pictures in downtown Macon, the Douglass Theatre originated as part of a chain of 40 theaters that served the vaudeville circuit for many African-American artists and performers in the 1920s and 1930s. The Theatre closed its doors in 1972 after showcasing diverse entertainment for more than 52 years, but reopened in 1997 after an extensive renovation. Now, the Douglass, which offers state-of-the-art stage lighting, sound and cinema equipment—including 35mm and 70 mm film formats with digital surround sound—brings a variety of film, performances and cultural events to all citizens in the Central Georgia community.
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