Mississippi Helps Blues Musicians

Mississippi Helps Blues Musicians
March 10, 2010
Rev. Keith A. Gordon

Honoring the legacy of the blues that has earned the state's identity as "the birthplace of the blues," the state of Mississippi has passed legislation that will assist blues musicians. House Bill 1160 authorizes the Mississippi Blues Commission to raise private funding to be used to assist the state's native artists.

Basically, the new legislation amends the law that originally created the commission, which promotes Mississippi's blues heritage, allowing the commission to "raise and expend grant funds to provide assistance to any blues musician in need." The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2010.

In a press release about the legislation, commission member Luther Brown expressed support for the amendment, citing numerous instances of Mississippi musicians needing help with medical or other expenses. "I just had an e-mail this morning about Willie King, who is from Prairie Point, Miss. He died about a year ago and his grave is unmarked," Brown says. "He's a legitimate performer who has performed all over the world and has had albums out, but there's no money to put up a grave stone." Brown also points to the recent passing of Lil' Dave Thompson, of Greenville, Mississippi, who left behind a wife and five children after his tragic accident.

This is a good thing, folks, the sort of artist assistance that the kind folks at the Music Makers Relief Foundation have been doing for years. When the bill goes into effect, I'll keep my eyes open for news of a fund being established to accept donations for Mississippi blues artists. Stay tuned!
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