(Nationwide) March 30, 2021 – The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville, Tennessee honors Jody Watley for her contribution as a trendsetting pioneer in music, video, fashion and style.
NMAAM recently unveiled a bright, larger-than-life digital billboard of the beautiful iconic superstar at the top of their building on the historic 5th and Broadway Street in Nashville.
The first-ever museum dedicated to African American Music recently appointed Jody Watley as it’s first-ever membership ambassador.
The Grammy-winning trendsetter is one of the architects of 21st century pop.
From her groundbreaking marriage of Rap/Hip Hop/ R&B /Pop “Friends” in 1989 – a collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim. The ‘Club Couture’ themed video was also visionary showcasing high fashion with club culture before it was the thing to do.
Watley created a space where club kids, fashionistas, gays, B-boys, drag queens, and trans people, people of all types were all in harmony. Her vision-forward marriage of high fashion, street fashion and music in the ‘80s (long before it became the norm), to her fusion of jazz and underground club culture with keen pop instincts, and the ease with which she crossed and still crosses genre, Jody Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook.
Her self-titled 1987 solo debut – a showcase for her vocal chops and songwriting skills – was a beats & grooves tribute to her club kid roots, from the underground spots she frequented as a teenager to her stardom (while still a teen) as one of the most popular dancers in the history of iconic TV show “Soul Train.”
It yielded the chart topping hits like the Grammy nominated “Looking for a New Love” (which launched the Jody-penned phrase “Hasta la vista” into popular vernacular, becoming so huge that Arnold Schwarzenegger jacked it for his signature line in the movie The Terminator), “Don’t You Want Me,” “Most of All,” “Some Kind of Lover” and “Still a Thrill,” whose video was the first (and as yet unmatched) time a pop star flexed their skills at waacking, the underground Los Angeles dance that is a sibling to both breakdancing and voguing. ‘Still A Thrill’ was the first music video filmed at the prestigious Paris Opera House.
1989’s Larger Than Life, her blockbuster sophomore album, yielded the hits “Real Love” (whose influential music video – nominated for seven MTV Video Music Awards – was her second collaboration with acclaimed film director David Fincher, the first being her sleek video for “Most of All”), “Friends,” featuring Eric B & Rakim the first rap/ sung collaboration with Pop/R&B singer and rapper to crossover Top 10 Hot 100 , R&B, Rap/Hip Hop and Dance along with the sultry ballad “Everything.”
To date as an artist, Jody Watley has 6 Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten Singles, 13 Number 1 Dance Singles, 2 R&B Number 1’s, 15 Top 40 Singles, Gold and platinum albums, 2007 Billboard Dance Lifetime Achievement, 2017 recipient of the Black Music Honors Crossover Music Icon Award and nominations from the American Music Awards, MTV Awards, NAACP Awards and Soul Train Awards.
Watley, the goddaughter of music legend Jackie Wilson was also an original member of the trio Shalamar for 6 years during their most pinnacle years for 1 Top 10 Single (The Second Time Around), and 3 Top 10 R&B Billboard singles.
She is also a trailblazer in the fitness arena as the first African American women to have a Number 1 workout video, “Dance To Fitness.”
The National Museum of African American Music is the first and only museum of its kind in the U.S. It’s 56,000-square-foot facility features seven galleries that use artifacts, objects, memorabilia, clothing, and state-of-the-art technology to walk guests through the history of African American music, from the early 1600s to present day.
“More than 50 genres and sub-genres of American music are explored from spirituals and gospel, to jazz, blues, R&B, hip-hop, and more.”