#JIMWeek Reflection Series: Icon Awards


Thursday was an important day for Jackson Indie Music Week. Duling Hall was home to the Jackson Indie Icon Awards and the R&B Showcase, two events...

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Thursday was an important day for Jackson Indie Music Week. Duling Hall was home to the Jackson Indie Icon Awards and the R&B Showcase, two events that had the biggest draws and had a large amount of significance to the current growth of independent arts culture in the city. Sadly I did not make it out to the events due to a prior engagement that evening. So here are some facts about the honorees at the inauguaral year of the Icon Awards.

The Jackson Indie Icon Awards honored Hip Hop historian Charlie Braxton, Duling Hall owner Arden Barnett and legendary producer/engineer Freddie Young. These people were pioneers as supporters of the independent artists of Jackson in some of the most influential ways possible.

Charlie Braxton

Charlie Braxton is one of the most respected historians in Hip Hop culture. He was an esteemed writer for many early Hip Hop focused publications such as Vibe, The Source 4080 and Murder Dog. He was a critical figure in helping Southern Hip Hop artists become part of the national conversation on the ever evolving genre of music. The Clarion Ledger recently did an in-depth feature article, written by Jacob Threadgill, on Braxton that can be found on their website.  He talks about being a part of landmark moments in hip hop culture and interacting with some of our generation’s legends when they were the innovators breaking into the industry. It’s amazing to see someone with such a strong dedication to the culture.  Helping to put an often overlooked region into the national spotlight for producing groundbreaking Hip Hop music is legendary and I’m glad he was honored. Since learning about Mr. Braxton and his work; I personally have been inspired to work harder on my craft and become more innovative with the kinds of content I’m creating.

Freddie Young, Charlie Braxton, Meredith Elder and Arden Barnett at Duling Hall last Thursday



Freddie Young

Freddie Young is one of the most prolific producers in Jackson amongst the Hip Hop crowd. There have been several hit songs recorded within the studio housed in a building adjacent to his home in West Jackson. He was once a member of the Jackson based Funk band Sho-Nuff. They were mainstays at Battlefield Park and could often be found hosting improptu concerts along with other bands in the Jackson area. One of their songs, “Funkasize You” was re-released and included in the Grand Theft Auto 5 Soundtrack.



My experience with Freddie Young is slightly more personal. One Saturday afternoon my good friend Deangelo Dent hit me up and said he was heading to the studio to lay down a few tracks. I asked him if it would be cool if I tagged along with him and sat in on the session. During the drive he told me that he was going to work with Freddie Young, at the time I hadn’t heard of Mr. Young, and he was very excited about it.

When we arrived to his studio the energy was amazing, it was like walking into a vacuum of creativity. He gave opinions, critiques and ideas to help improve the tracks while imparting wisdom about music in general. That was an extremely influential weekend for me and I have Freddie Young to thank for encouraging a younger me to follow dreams and reach goals.


Arden Barnett

Arden Barnett is one of the premiere pioneers in live music here in Jackson. Barnett is a legendary promoter and has worked with some of the top names in entertainment.

Barnett has built an interesting legacy in the industry. In 2012 Barnett was integral in bringing The Flaming Lips to Jackson. It would be one of eight shows the band was performing in 24 hours that broke the previous record of 7 shows in 24 Hours set by Jay-Z.

The show went from Memphis to New Orleans with stops in Clarkdale, Oxford, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Biloxi and Baton Rouge in between. DJ Young Venom and Neon Indian opened for the band at Duling Hall.

Barnett was also responsible for bring Hunter S. Thompson to The University of Alabama – Birmingham to give a lecture. However, Thompson was 24 hours late. People refused to leave the auditorium with seeing the prolific gonzo writer speak. Barnett saved the day by showing “Where The Buffalo Roam”, which starred Bill Murray portaying Hunter S. Thompson,  on a constant loop until the speaker finally arrived. That’s just a couple of tales from his career. Check out the whole story on JFP.com

Mississippi has such a rich music history and continues to create new moments every day. I’m glad #JIMWeek recognized some of the local legends that have helped to keep Mississippi in the conversation for our talent and artistry rather than the state’s backwards politics.

These are are the ones that paved the way, now it is up to all of us with an idea to follow the road to our goals. A dream is simply a destination to be reached, the path that gets you there is just a list of goals to be checked off.