LA City Council Recognizes The Whispers for Black Music Month

Los Angeles City Hall, California, USA

Photo: Nigel Killeen / Moment / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - In honor of Black Music Month, Los Angeles City Council members Friday presented the R&B group The Whispers with certificates recognizing their contributions and achievements.

Council members Heather Hutt, Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson led the presentation in Council Chambers. The elected officials spoke about the significance of The Whispers' hit records since the late 1960s, including their two No. 1 R&B singles, "And the Beat Goes On" in 1979 and "Rock Steady" in 1987.

Hutt also welcomed members of JazzZone Jazzabration, Inc., an organization that celebrates Jazz & Blues while preserving the legacies of artists in that genre.

"The Whispers, their harmonies and melodies have touched hearts for decades, solidifying their places as icons in Black music history," Hutt said. "Black music itself has always been the heart and soul of a cultural expression uniting people across the world."

Originally from Watts, the group was formed in 1963, consisting of identical twin brothers Wallace "Scotty" and Walter Scott, Gordy Harmon, Marcus Hutson and Nicholas Caldwell. The Whispers left L.A. for San Francisco in 1966.

In 1973, after Harmon injured his throat as a result of a driving accident, he was replaced by a former Friends of Distinction member, Leaveil Degree.

The Whispers later signed with a small Los Angeles record label, Soul Clock, run by producer Ron Carson.

"The Whispers unique style and timeless hits have captured the essence of love, life, and unity in the world of R&B for almost 50 years," Hutt said.

In 2014, The Whispers were inducted into the official R&B Music Hall of Fame, and have received numerous awards and accolades.

Councilman Price noted that Black Music Month, also known as Black Music Appreciation Month, is an annual celebration of African American music in the U.S.

Former President Jimmy Carter initiated the celebration in 1979, but it wasn't until 2000 that Congress officially approved it -- with some persuading from activist Dyana Williams, Kenneth Gamble and Ed Wright.

Walter Scott thanked the council for recognizing their legacy and sharing their personal stories about how The Whispers impacted their lives.

"We will carry this for the rest of our lives, and we are so grateful for being here for over 50 years, and to all the fans that have been with us," Scott said. "We never dreamed that when we started this that 50 years later we'd still be here seen."

Councilwoman Hutt is expected to honor singer and actress Debbie Allen as part of Black Music Month. The ceremony is set for June 18 in the Council Chambers.

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