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File #: RS2022-1728    Name:
Type: Resolution Status: Passed
File created: 8/8/2022 In control: Metropolitan Council
On agenda: 8/16/2022 Final action: 8/16/2022
Title: A resolution honoring the life of singer and actress Shonka Dukureh.
Sponsors: Zulfat Suara, Sharon Hurt, Courtney Johnston, Jeff Syracuse, Jennifer Gamble, Erin Evans, Emily Benedict, Brandon Taylor, Ginny Welsch, Bob Nash, Joy Styles, Freddie OConnell, Robert Swope, Gloria Hausser, Angie Henderson, Kyonzte Toombs
A resolution honoring the life of singer and actress Shonka Dukureh.

WHEREAS, Shonka Dukureh, a singer and actress who portrayed Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in the recently released film "Elvis", was found deceased at her Nashville home that she shared with her children on July 21, 2022; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Dukureh was a well-known vocal powerhouse, actress, author, and playwright. Her role as Thornton, an R&B singer who was the first artist to record the song "Hound Dog," later made famous by Elvis Presley, was her first major film appearance; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Dukureh had a well-rounded and grounded journey as a performing artist. Her ability to make you "feel" in a manner that was emotionally transformative was the core of the beauty and unique essence of her creative gifts. She was a skilled singer and actor and always managed to "stop the show," even in smaller roles. Over the years, she successfully starred in many touring musicals and plays across the country, and toured internationally with noted recording artists; and

WHEREAS, originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Ms. Dukureh made Nashville her home. She held a Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Fisk University and a Master's degree in Education from Trevecca Nazarene University. Her initial career aspiration was to become a teacher, and for a while she taught second grade at Metro's Buena Vista Elementary School and devoted time to working with inner city youth through after-school and summer programs. However, she soon learned that her vocal talents and her innate sense for the dramatic were more suited for a career as a performing artist; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Dukureh often talked walking in her faith and the importance of her faith in her life. She was grateful for all that she had accomplished and for the love and teachings that her family had instilled in her. She often acknowledged that in life good things coming your way aren't guaranteed, and when you encounter them, tha...

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