“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
At the mention of these two familiar songs one name immediately comes to mind: David Ruffin.
Ruffin’s distinctive vocals resonate on the hit tunes recorded during his time as one of the lead singers of the Motown group The Temptations. The quintet had much success producing numerous hit singles and albums on both the R&B and pop music charts.
Born in Whynot, Ruffin claimed Meridian as home, having lived in the Queen City several years. Later this month, the street where the R&B and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee lived from 1979-83 in a house he purchased on Parkside Street in Detroit, Michigan, will be renamed David Ruffin Avenue.
The idea for the renaming was initiated by LaMont Robinson, founder and CEO of the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame, who is also Ruffin’s son-in-law.
“I, along with the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame, presented the idea to the city of Detroit. I have been a major fan of The Temptations and Mr. Ruffin since childhood,” Robinson said.
“We wanted to honor this legend with a street named after him, in a city that he loved so much. It brings me great pleasure and joy to see how happy and proud his family members are of this recognition. This is a major honor that will live on and on,” Robinson said.
Robinson founded the National Rhythm & Blues of Fame out of his love for rhythm of blues, especially The Temptations.
“My parents were big fans of The Temptations and I use to go see The Temptations with them when I was a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio,” he said. “They were my childhood heroes.”
The Temptations and Ruffin were among the NRBF’s first inductees in 2013 and Robinson met Ruffin’s oldest daughter Cheryl through his gathering of information about the singer for the induction ceremony.
“I guess you could say it was God’s plan that we would meet and eventually marry,” Robinson said.
The street dedication will be among events surrounding the Eighth Annual National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Weekend in Detroit June 21-23. The weekend will kick off on June 21 with the State of Black Music Conference Meeting, followed by the David Ruffin Avenue Ceremony and David Ruffin Avenue Ceremony Party.
The following day, the Eighth Annual National R & B Hall of Fame All-White Party & Tribute to Motown’s 60th Anniversary will be held. The final day of the three-day celebration will include The Eighth Annual National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, followed by an After VIP Party.
“I wish he (Ruffin) could see all of this,” Ruffin’s daughter Cheryl Ruffin-Robinson said. “He would be so proud.”
Robinson said he hopes the upcoming street renaming in David Ruffin’s honor is the first of several, including one in Meridian.
“We’ve been talking to city officials in Meridian and organizers of the National Council of Meridianites Convention and Picnic about naming a street after Mr. Ruffin in Meridian,” he said. “We plan to meet with them at this year’s picnic in Meridian to further discuss making it happen.”
Ruffin-Robinson said she is looking forward to returning to her father’s Mississippi home.
“I have some great memories of Meridian,” said Ruffin-Robinson, who said she has visited The Queen City on several occasions, including the Meridianites Picnic. “I’m looking forward to seeing family and seeing everyone at the picnic.”