Soul legend Sharon Jones now has an amphitheater named after her in North Augusta, South Carolina
Among all the uncertainty of election day, some undivided good news comes out of North Augusta, South Carolina, where its city council unanimously voted to rename its new outdoor amphitheater after Augusta native and renowned soul singer Sharon Jones.
Prior to moving to New York, Jones spent her early years in Augusta where she began singing in the church choir. While she explored 1970’s funk music upon her family’s relocation to Brooklyn, she fell back into gospel music and didn’t get a solo start until the 1990s. Her first full-length album came in 2002 with her group Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, kickstarting her journey as a soul-funk great fairly late into her musical career. Jones sadly passed awayin 2016 of pancreatic cancer, and her health battle was depicted in the 2015 film Miss Sharon Jones!, which features a soundtrack by her and the Dap-Kings.
Although New York was where Jones spent much of her life, her family remained in Augusta, and she frequently returned. In addition to being a commemoration of her life — according to journalist Don Rhodes, the local trailblazer behind the idea of renaming the amphitheater — it’s also North Augusta’s first public spaced named after a black citizen. Rhodes told The Rolling Stone, “In North Augusta, there’s no public park or building named after a black citizen, and I said it was the right thing to do. And who else should be it named for? There’s nobody else from North Augusta who had that kind of worldwide fame.”
North Augusta’s honorary celebration of Jones comes just weeks after the release of a posthumous project by Jones and the Dap-Kings, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In. The 11-track album features unreleased covers, including artists like Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson, expanding on the band’s collection of iconic compositions with renditions of other classics.