On Thursday at Harlem’s revered Apollo Theater in New York, more than a dozen music legends, rising stars and offspring of an R&B icon performed in one of the most hallowed spaces in music history to honor an anthemic song and the man who sang it: Otis Redding. Nearly 50 years ago, Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was released four months after his death in an airplane crash into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. “An Evening of Respect: Celebrating Otis Redding” was held not only to honor the lasting endurance of his only top 10 Hit on the Billboard Hot 100, but also to affirm his legacy through raising funds for the Otis Redding Foundation in Macon, Georgia.
Produced by JAM Inc., Jonathan Shank for Red Light Management, the evening was simultaneously a raucous celebration as well as a somber reflection at the early loss of a widely beloved troubadour. The Otis Redding Foundation is an educational nonprofit that uses music to inspire and motivate youth intending to explore it as a career, or simply bring focus and purpose into their lives. “Respect” concerts honoring the organization’s namesake and generating funds began eight years ago primarily in Macon, Georgia — Redding’s hometown — and the foundation was started in 2007. One of his four children, Karla Redding-Andrews, is the executive director.