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Krista Wilhelmsen
African American Arts Institute

Last modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bassist James Strong Jr. to receive IU Bloomington's Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award

April 10, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's African American Arts Institute is honoring James A. Strong Jr. with the Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award.

James Strong

James A. Strong Jr.

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Strong is an alumnus of IU Bloomington and the IU Soul Revue. He has become a critically acclaimed bassist, musical director and producer, playing for artists such as Toni Braxton, En Vogue, Tupac, MC Smooth, New Edition and LL Cool J.

Strong will be honored at the African American Arts Institute's annual Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award Banquet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, in the Grand Hall, Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

Since his time as a band member in the IU Soul Revue, Strong has recorded, produced and performed for top record companies such as RCA, Warner Bros, Sony, Virgin, Atlantic, Universal, J Records, Jive and Capitol. Strong has played to sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden, as well as for LL Cool J's Grammy Award-winning performance at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.

"Attending IU and being a part of the IU Soul Revue was a priceless experience," Strong said. "The creative environment under the mentorship of Dr. James E. Mumford inspired me and gave me tools and the confidence I needed to pursue a career in music."

When asked to define success, he said, "I ask myself these few questions: Did I wake up this morning happy? Did I wake up this morning pain free? Did I wake up this morning with the ability to better myself and to help someone else? If my answers are yes, then there is nothing standing in my way from being successful."

Strong will graduate from IU East in May with a degree in business. "Its never too late to finish what you've started," he said.

Herman C. Hudson, the award's late namesake, founded the Afro-American Arts Institute in 1974. Hudson believed the institute should strive for the highest levels of excellence in performance. As part of its mission, the African American Arts Institute and its ensembles expose IU students to a wide range of musical styles, while giving them tools to be successful in the world of professional performance and beyond.

The annual Hudson Alumni Award was created in 2005 to recognize former student ensemble and staff members who, after leaving IU, have made outstanding contributions in the arts. Recipients of this award serve as models of high achievement for present and future AAAI participants.

Previous winners have included opera singers Angela Brown and Janet Williams; famed keyboardist Isaiah Sanders; Broadway performer Justin Johnston; the late dancer Gabriel Paige; professor/scholar Dr. Cheryl Keyes; international touring artist Crystal Taliefero-Pratt; and platinum singer/songwriter Kevon Edmonds.

The African American Arts Institute is committed to promoting and preserving African American culture through performance, education, creative activity, research and outreach. Visit the African American Arts Institute website for a calendar of events, or call 812-855-5427 for more information. Charles E. Sykes is executive director of the institute, a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.