August 16, 2022

Classix 107.9 Philly Radio Personality Lady B Honored with Street Renaming Ceremony

Philadelphia honored veteran radio personality and hip hop icon Lady B on Saturday by renaming the block where she grew up on in the Wynnefield section of the city as "Lady B Way." The neighborhood is also the boyhood homes of actor/rapper Will Smith and director Lee Daniels.

"You're always there to support me, always there to brag about that we're from the same hood," Lady B told the crowd and the reporter from 6abc Action News WPVI-TV.

"I grew up on this block. I played jump rope and hopscotch on this block and to have the street named after me is truly a blessing," she said while standing in front of her childhood home.

Lady B became one of the first women to release a rap record and one of the first DJs to feature the genre on the radio in 1980 at Soul and R&B music station 1340 AM WHAT. Her determination to get rap played on the radio and the popularity of the show caught the attention of the program director of a fairly new FM station playing contemporary R&B music, WUSL-FM/Power 99 FM.

She was recruited to Power 99 FM and launched an iconic hip hop show called Street Beat that gave shine to a whole generation of rappers. One of them just happened to be The Fresh Prince aka Will Smith. Lady B went on to join the Backspin channel on Sirius. She returned to the Philadelphia airwaves with the cluster of Radio One stations 107.9 WRNB, 100.3 WRNB which became Old School 100.3. Having exited the station around 2015, Radio One brought her back to host her ever popular Bassment Party and become the afternoon host on Classix 107.9 replacing The D.L. Hughley Show.  Her career has covered a span of more than 40 years. A well deserved honor. 

However the number of STREET RENAMING ceremonies in PHILLY this summer has gotten a little weird... a couple more came about within the last week. But Why??? 🤔

Up until about a year ago ceremonial street renaming in Philadelphia had been reserved for former politicians, community activists, and celebrities such as Patti LaBelle and the legendary Philly International Records founders Gamble and Huff. Not one radio personality except for the great on-air disc jockey, talk show host, and Civil Rights leader Georgie Woods. He has a stretch of Broad Street named in his honor outside of the now non-operational Uptown Theatre (Philly's equivalent to Harlem's Apollo). The influential and nationally known legendary disc jockey Douglas "Jocko" Henderson, whose peak years were in the 1950's and 1960's, has not received this honor to our knowledge.  

Then last year in October, WDAS-FM personality Patty Jackson was honored with a street renaming on the block she grew up on in South Philly to celebrate her 30+ years in radio in Philadelphia. A well deserved honor.

Then we noticed that around the time Lady B's upcoming ceremony was announced, support for a change.org petition from March 2022 to rename a street in West Philly to honor veteran WDAS radio personality Mimi Brown showed up in our social media feed. (Algorithms are amazing aren't they?)

Mimi, the host of Live Saturday Night Classic Hip Hop show on WDAS-FM began her radio career on the station in the mid-70's. She was one of the forces at that time that changed the direction of Black radio as listeners in Philly and Black audiences across the country gravitated from Soul/Rhythm & Blues AM radio to the Progressive/Urban Contemporary stereo sound of FM radio. A well deserved honor for Mimi. This honor came about a week ago.

But now it seems street renaming ceremonies are being given out like running to buy lottery tickets. 

Somewhere between last weekend and this weekend, the city of Philadelphia also managed to rename a street for Power 99 personality, DJ Diamond Kuts. She's made a name for herself as a mix DJ for various R&B/Hip Hop artists and on the radio. She hosts mix segments on the station, but the popular mix DJ has never held down a regular drive time radio shift. She hosts mix shows late night on Friday and Saturday. She's also featured on the reboot of Yo! MTV Raps. She's been featured on Power 99 for about ten years. . ..A street renaming, touring with Nicki Minaj. DJ'ing for President Obama more than once, and appearing on The Breakfast Club...  Quite a few great accomplishments!

Perhaps she's a little young to get a street renaming, but it is what it is. Her best years of course are ahead of her. But she's definitely not going to turn down an honor like that, even if there was no petition to generate interest in the renaming of a street, she admittedly only spent a small portion of childhood growing up on. This ceremony came on the heels of a large event called "The Best Vibe Ever Fest" sponsored by the local city council member.

So what is it with these frequent street renaming ceremonies???

The thought that these ceremonies, has a connection to the Philadelphia mayoral election next year, has crossed our minds
. These ceremonies, or as we see it, photo ops initiated by members of the city council and state representatives are ways for them to get their name and face out before the public and increase their presence in the community. Namely the African American community. It is one way to campaign for mayor but not really saying you're campaigning for mayor.   

Let's see which one or more than one of them is going to run for mayor in 2023.

But have you ever had the feeling... these multiple ceremonies in such a short period of time cheapens the honor in which they were intended.

These great ladies of Philadelphia radio are really good friends outside of their jobs as radio personalities at, in some cases, competing stations. They appeared at each other's ceremony.

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