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Dayton wants hall of fame for funk music

– A group of Dayton residents is hoping to create a hall of fame for funk music in the southwestern Ohio city by collecting $10 donations from 10 million people.

The Dayton Funk Dynasty Group held a news conference Friday to discuss details of the planned Funk Hall of Fame and Museum and urge fans of funk to contribute, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Organizers hope the museum will be open within two years and that it will be the center of an entertainment district.

“We are bringing back the funk,” the group’s CEO, David Webb, said. “We are bringing Dayton back on the map.”

The news conference was held on what would have been funk pioneer James Browns’ 80th birthday, and an account has been established at Chase Bank to handle any donations.

Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzill, who helped present the group’s plan to city planners, said donations should not only come from funk fans, but also from rap artists who have profited for years from funk.

“This can happen. It is going to be a global effort,” Leitzill said. “There are funk fans all over the world.”

Dayton native Brenda Curtis, a founder of the Dayton Funk Dynasty Group, said a local funk museum has been her dream for 25 years and that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland is among the institutions the group is using as a model.

“We took some of the most successful models that have to do with music and are bringing them all to Dayton and funking them up,” Curtis said.

Some of funk’s most popular artists are from Dayton and other parts of Ohio.

Dayton’s funk bands such as the Ohio Players, Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame, Zapp, Faze-O, Heatwave, Sun, Slave and Lakeside have been applauded nationally, but there is no permanent physical monument to their work.

Thomas Shelby of Lakeside donated a performance outfit for the museum and believes it is time that funk’s legacy is recognized.

“No other place in the world had more funk bands than Dayton, Ohio,” he said.

Webb said the overall goal is to preserve the history of funk music and that once the project is finished, Dayton “would truly be the funkiest place on Earth.”