“This is the only event like this in the world in black music,” Jermaine Dupri said, standing behind a Lucite podium in the VIP lounge of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “I feel this will be the most important award ceremony in our business.”

Dupri was preparing to induct Otis Redding into the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame, a ceremony that began late Thursday morning on the blistering sidewalk near the stadium – close to the intersection of Northside and Martin Luther King Jr. drives – and continued inside the venue with a formal presentation.

The walk of fame is a collaboration between the Georgia Entertainment Caucus and the Black American Music Association. Plans call for at least an annual – if not twice-yearly – ceremony to honor Black entertainment greatness with plaques installed along the sidewalk.

The inaugural class also included James Brown, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Shirley Caesar, Missy Elliott, OutKast, Beyonce, Sean Combs, Kirk Franklin and Usher.

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