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Redding tribute to step outside Middle Georgia for first time

For the first time, tonight’s Otis Redding tribute, called “An Evening of Respect,” will be held outside of Macon.

It makes for a bit of an adjustment for the late soul singer’s daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews, as the event sets to kick off at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

“We’ve done it the first three times in Macon, but it’s gotten bigger and bigger,” she said. “A lot of people from Atlanta and the surrounding counties were coming in for it. We were in a comfort zone when we had it here, but Atlanta is a whole new audience for us.”

Perhaps a little ironically, the Big ‘O’ Youth Dream Foundation will honor the city of Macon, Bibb County and the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau as part of tonight’s festivities for their years of partnership with the foundation.

“There’s never been a mayor or county commissioner who has ever had anything negative to say about my father,” Redding-Andrews said. “This is where his legacy remains so important. He’s an attraction to Macon. ... Everyone knows this is the birthplace of Otis Redding.”

The event is a fundraiser for the Big ‘O’ Foundation, which continues Redding’s legacy of giving back to the community, Redding-Andrews said. The previous three tributes have raised about $500,000 for the foundation, with the money helping to fund scholarships and music programs for young people.

The foundation will honor singer Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Boys & Girls Club of America for their contributions to the community.

“(Ludacris) is just a phenomenal individual,” Redding-Andrews said. “He reminds me of my dad in his younger days — if you are successful, give back to the community. (Ludacris’) foundation helps a lot of people. ... The Pettys are great Otis Redding fans. (The event) brings together whole genres from different elements.”

After the presentations, Redding’s sons Otis III and Dexter will perform with a lineup of special guests, including Avant, Estelle, Eddie Floyd, Anthony Hamilton, Kenny Lattimore, Chante Moore, Karina Paisan, Musiq Soulchild and William Bell. Also performing are the Shep Crawford Band and Youth Orchestra.

For more information about the event, visit www.otisredding.com.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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