Sabrina Shealy grew up in the Boxwood neighborhood idolizing three rising stars.
Kelvin “K.B.” Bradshaw, Walter “Mucho” Scott and and Lloyd “Spec” Turner had started an R&B group called Basic Black, which hit the national scene in 1990 when Motown Records released their music. Soon they were a sensation among die-hard New Jack Swing fans, with such songs as “Nothing But A Party,” "Whatever It Takes," "She's Mine," and “Special Kind of Fool.”
“You were just excited that you had people that you grew up with, and you once knew as common people, blow up and sign with a major label.,” said Shealy, who remembers skating to their music in the ’90s. “It was just an honor to say, ‘Hey, I know them.’”
On Tuesday, the three Basic Black musicians will return to Columbus to receive a key to the city, which will be presented by Councilor Jerry “Pops” Barnes. The event, organized by Shealy and another Boxwood native, Debra Harris-Libson, will be held 7 p.m. at the Columbus Marriott. The event is free and open to the public.
Shealy said Basic Black had a reunion concert in July at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, and she felt it was time to recognize the three men for their accomplishments.
“They are from Columbus and they need to be recognized because they did so much hard work in the business and they have worked with a lot of great people,” she said. “It’s good to honor your hometown people. My grandmother always taught me to give people their flowers while they live. That’s why we’re doing this to show some appreciation, just to let them know we love them in the neighborhood and in Columbus.”
Turner and Bradshaw are graduates of Columbus High School, and Scott is a graduate of Hardaway High School. The group’s big break came in 1988 while opening for the famous R& B group Guy, during a concert in Columbus. Following the performance, Gene Griffin - Guy’s manager - invited Basic Black to travel to New York to play behind the group, Today, which was on tour with the famous singer-songwriter, musician, keyboardist, and record producer Teddy Riley and Guy. The group was later picked up by Motown.
After the band dismantled, members of the group pursued various musical projects. Scott moved to Virginia Beach to join forces with Riley. He produced hits for MC Lyte, Backstreet, Guy, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J and Michael Jackson.
Bradshaw has been nominated for a Grammy award, not only as a musician, but as a songwriter, according to his bio. He wrote songs for Whitney Houston. One of his most cherished achievements occurred when he, along with Turner and Missy Elliott, received Grammy nods for co-writing Houston’s four-time platinum album, “My Love is Your Love.”
Turner became a staff producer for Dallas Austin Recording Projects. In addition to Whitney Houston, Turner also produced songs for Snoop Dog, Jermaine Dupri/ So So Def and others.
“So many people leave Columbus, make it big and won’t even look back,” Shealy said. “But they look back and they represent Columbus very, very well. I’m really proud of them for doing that.”