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Charlie Wilson to receive Walk of Fame star in Hollywood

A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will be unveiled Monday honoring Grammy-nominated artist Charlie Wilson, a co-founder and lead singer of the Gap Band, successful solo artist and outspoken activist urging Black men to be tested for prostate cancer.

Jimmy Jam Harris is scheduled to emcee the ceremony in front of the Eastown apartments at 6201 Hollywood Blvd. Among those set to attend and speak at the event are Wilson’s manager and president/CEO of P Music Group Michael Paran, Grammy winner Babyface and frequent Wilson collaborator Snoop Dogg.

The ceremony will be held on Wilson’s 71st birthday, on the very street where Wilson used to sleep while homeless due to drug and alcohol addiction in the 1990s.

The ceremony will be streamed on the Walk of Fame’s website.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wilson and his brothers would often sing in church, where their father was a minister and their mother accompanied them on piano. The brothers — Charlie, Robert and Ronnie — later joined forces to create the Gap Band, releasing their debut album in 1974.

The band was best known for hits including “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” “Oops Upside Your Head” and “Yearning for Your Love.” The band churned out 15 albums before finally disbanding in 2010, but by then Charlie Wilson had already launched a solo career, starting with his first album, “Bridging the Gap” in 2000.

Despite his success with the Gap Band, Wilson fell victim to cocaine and alcohol, with his addiction leaving him homeless and living on the streets of Hollywood in the mid-1990s. While in rehab, however, he met Mahin Tat, a social worker at the drug rehabilitation program where he was being treated. The pair married in 1995, and he has been sober ever since.

Wilson has been a fixture throughout his career on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart. He worked with some of the biggest names in the genre in 2010 when he collaborated with Kanye West on his album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” His work with West led him to collaborate with artists including Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Rihanna and Common.

Wilson received a BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. He has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards during his career and has also received a Soul Train Icon Award and an NAACP Music Makes a Difference Award.

Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, but thanks to early detection and treatment, he has been cancer free for 16 years. His experiences prompted him to partner with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and he has worked to encourage Black men to get tested to increase the chances of early detection. He has also regularly taken part in Stand Up 2 Cancer fundraising telethons.

The star is the 2,770th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the initial 1,558 stars.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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