ROATAN – Dozens of excited youth met with legendary American blues singer Bobby Rush on January 21 to hear Rush’s personal story of overcoming racial, economic and educational challenges during the Civil Rights Era to become one of the most successful blues singers living. Rush, 77, had met with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while he was alive and participated in events demanding equal rights for African-Americans. To honor Dr. King Jr.’s memory, Rush shared those experiences at a community center with the participants during a one-day port call of the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise ship in Coxen Hole. The Embassy was happy to collaborate with Natelee Forbes, Bay Islands Coordinator for Intercultural and Multilingual Education and a past participant in an Embassy exchange program, to coordinate the visit.
Born Emmit Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana (November 10, 1933), he was the son of a rural pastor. While still a teenager, Rush donned a fake mustache to appear older so that he could play in juke joints and perfect his craft. He moved to Chicago in 1953 and became part of the local blues scene.
Rush’s album, Hoochie Mama was nominated for a Grammy award in the blues music section in 2000. In 2013, Rush was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the ‘Soul Blues Male Artist’ category. In 2014, Rush’s album Down in Louisiana, won a Blues Music Award in the ‘Soul Blues Album of the Year’ category, whilst Rush was also nominated in two other categories.