It was a big night for disco funk music legend Nile Rodgers, singer John Legend and producer DJ Mustard on Aug. 28 at the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) 2015 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Beverly Hills.
Rodgers received the BMI Icon Award for his extensive career of producing over 200 songs, 17 BMI Awards, three Grammys and countless other recognitions through his nearly 40 year career span.
“It’s an honor to receive this award tonight. Since the beginning of my career, I’ve been keeping myself in the position to be creative,” said Rodgers. “That’s how I’ve been able to continue to create music for all these years. I wake up thinking about music and go to bed thinking about music. It’s a blessing and a challenge for me.”
John Legend received the Song of the Year award for his song “All of Me,” which had two million performances over the last year, according to Billboard.
25 year-old DJ Mustard made history when he won both the Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for the first time in BMI’s 76-year existence. Some of the awards were given for his production work on Tinashe’s “2 On,” Ty Dolla $ign’s “Paranoid,” and Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell Em.”
“ It’s been an honor to work with DJ Mustard. I’ve learned so much about producing and my sound from him,” said rapper RJ “Mr. LA”.
The award show gave an hour-long tribute to Rodgers with music director of American Idol Rickey Minor who led the band with a rendition of the Chic classic “Dance, Dance, Dance.”
Rodgers famously got his start when he co-founded the group Chic with Bernard Edwards. He went on to work with some of music’s biggest stars like Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Lady Gaga and Daft Punk.
Deborah Cox also paid homage to Rodgers when she sang his produced hit “I’m Coming”. “Niles was one of the artists that really inspired me when I was growing up,” said Cox on the red carpet. “That’s why I am so honored to be paying tribute to him tonight.”
Alongside his musical career, Rodgers is also a former Black Panther and with the recent events of rapper Azealia Banks not wanting the Black press to cover her career moves, Rodgers believes its time for the black press to be recognized.
“Just like the importance of Black Panthers, the Black press is needed,” said Rodgers. He went on to state the importance of having the community and Black press back up musicians work and enrich the community.”
Several other celebrities took to the BMI red carpet to address the issues of Banks.
“Well, I agree with Azealia,” said rapper/singer Kevin McCall. “I mean what does it mean to be the Black press? We have to remove the labels and just be labeled as press.”
Rapper Rick Ross had a different mentality about the coverage of music. “[Artists] have to realize that all press is needed. That’s what gets us where we are at right now,” said Ross.
After flipping the script to correlate music composition with the activity of the press, the night came to a close with a performance from Chuck D and the crowd loving every part of it.