Grammy Legend James Mtume Honored In Philly With Street Bearing His Name

The departed hit maker receiving tribute from his hometown on May 12th, 2023

One year after his passing in January 2022, noted two-time Grammy winner James Mtume (known for hits such as “Juicy Fruit” and producing for Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Stephanie Mills) will be honored in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA with a street bearing his name.

The event will take place on Friday, May 12th, 2023, from 11 am to 2 pm ET. The 1500 block of Wharton Street in South Philadelphia will carry the namesake of Mtume, who was born and raised in South Philly.

Faulu Mtume, the son of the music legend, humbly accepts this honor on behalf of his father’s estate. “It’s beyond words just how great this is, the City of Brotherly Love showing a mighty love for my father, a Philly native,” says Faulu Mtume. “Wharton Street is where his journey into music, social activism and politics had begun. The roots for all three are there.”

Born and raised in Philadelphia, James Mtume earned musical fame, starting in jazz with greats such as Miles Davis during the early 1970’s as well as with father, saxophonist Jimmy Heath. Years later, Mtume teamed up with fellow songwriter/producer Reggie Lucas, producing hits for Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (“The Closer I Get To You”, “Back Together Again”), Phyllis Hyman (“You Know How To Love Me) and Stephanie Mills (the Grammy winning “Never Knew Love Like This Before”). By the 1980’s, with the band carrying his namesake, Mtume scored with the number one R&B hit, “Juicy Fruit”, in 1983. He went on to work on movie and television soundtrack work (the film “Native Son” as well as the “New York Undercover” TV series) as well as co-host the New York City-based talk radio series, Open Line.

James Mtume passed in January 2022 after battling cancer. He was 75.