A ceremony to rename a street in Paterson, NJ, recently took place for the R&B group Blackstreet. Presidential Boulevard is now Blackstreet Boulevard.
The Grammy Award-winning group, which features Chauncey “Black” Hannibal, Levi Little, Mark Middleton, and Eric Williams, was honored for their contributions to music. The group has had memorable hit records like “No Diggity,” “Before I Let You Go,” and “Joy.”
“Blackstreet is literally on the map📍Words can not express the amount of joy we have at this moment. Having a street dedicated to us in our honor from the city we grew up in is beyond anything we would have imagined when we were kids. Truly, a special thanks goes to Dr. Lisa Mimms, Benjie Wimberly, Mike Jackson, Robert Artist, and the rest of the men and women of the Paterson City Council. And a major thank you to the city of Paterson, New Jersey, for nurturing us and continually showing us love and support.”
BLACK ENTERPRISE had a brief conversation with Hannibal to speak about the recognition.
“I just thank God for where we are right now, man, and it looks like a beacon of hope right now in Patterson with this, with this Blackstreet Blvd. It has the two Grammys on the side, and it lights up at night.”
The group is happy for the acknowledgment, and Black hopes that when kids see the street, it inspires them to want to be successful. He wants them to know that they can also realize their dream and not fall into the pitfalls of society, especially in a neighborhood that isn’t perfect.
(Image: Katrina Castillo-BLKat Entertainment LLC)
“This is definitely something that I’m hoping that’s going to give the younger generation right there where I’m from. That hey, you can make it out of there and do more for the community.” The emotional turmoil of receiving this honor caught up to Hannibal when he witnessed the street name unveiling.
“They’ve got the whole street blocked off, a bunch of people out there, and they just take you up, man. And I’m already crying. There it was. Like the most beautiful thing I’ve ever saw in my life, you know?
“I’m truly grateful. And this will bring about a change in Patterson. And I’m going to do everything I need to do to make that happen as well. Being that you know, I own, I own the brand, and I’ve been just rocking it, making sure the brand stays current.”
The Paterson native always wanted to give others advice they could utilize when entering any field. He stresses ownership of your art if you are going into a creative field.
“I own my catalog as well as the Blackstreet catalog and everything, and that’s what really is the game changer for us because I own the trademark and my catalog. So I’ve been able to do nice licenses and stuff like Instacart, you know, Ninja Turtles and things like that.”
Hannibal said he makes more money now because of the ownership of the music than when the group was at its peak.
The group will release a new single soon, and an upcoming solo project for “Black” may be in the works.
Blackstreet continues to perform, and the group hopes to headline a tour when the time is right. For now, Hannibal saids the group is still thriving, doing its thing, and we can expect more from Blackstreet.
Source: Black Enterprise