On Friday, January 20, hip-hop legends Louis “Eric B” Barrier and Fredrick “Kool DJ Red Alert” Crute were among a group of honorees to receive the 2023 Public Leadership in the Arts Awards at The U.S. Conference of Mayors 91st Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.

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Eric. B, best known as part of the legendary duo Eric. B and Rakim, and Kool DJ Red Alert, the pioneer of hip hop, were awarded the Legendary Artist Awards. The award honors an individual or group who has used their position to consistently advocate and support the arts and culture and/or arts education in the United States.


Others included Dan McKee, Governor of Rhode Island, who was awarded the National Award for State Arts Leadership. David Holt, Mayor of Oklahoma City, received the National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of 100,000 or more. Jon Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was awarded the National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of fewer than 100,000.

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“The leadership of Governor McKee, Mayor Holt, and Mayor Mitchell should be an inspiration to all those serving in public office. They believe that the arts connect people and drive civic engagement, and their unparalleled commitment to supporting arts programs exemplifies how investment in the arts translates into community growth, economic prosperity, and increased cultural funding,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We are also proud to recognize Eric B and Kool DJ Red Alert, who have contributed enormously to America’s artistic and cultural legacy, and whose achievements have no doubt helped change the future of the arts in America for the better.”

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is pleased to recognize the exemplary work of Mayor Holt, Mayor Mitchell, Governor McKee as they use the arts and culture to not only promote their city/state, but to grow their economies,” remarked Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Mayors understand the inherent value of the arts to bring people together, promote cultural understanding, and make cities safer places to live, work and play.”