Newark's "Silver Stars" Celebrate 40 Years of R&B and Soul

Nov 10, 2017

Newark's own "Silver Stars" chat with News Director Doug Doyle at WBGO
Credit Doug Doyle for WBGO

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Newark’s longest-running vocal group known as the Silver Stars. The soul and R & B group's story is one of tribulation, redemption, perseverance, triumph and insatiable quest to make great music.

The Silver Stars will be opening for the Hall of Fame group The Whispers on November 18th at Newark Symphony Hall on Broad Street in Newark at 8:45pm.

The soul and R& B group currently consists of three members…two of them are originals, Al-Khalique Muhammad and his younger brother Hakim Muhammad started as singing as young kids in the hallways of the Scudder Homes Housing Projects during the time of the summer riot-rebellion in 1967.  In 2014, Abdullah Muhammad, who came to Newark when he was 16 years old, joined the group.

The "Silver Stars" first started singing together in 1977
Credit Silver Stars for WBGO News

Hakim Muhammad describes the music of the Silver Stars.

"Love, passion, triumph, tribulation, reality. The music for us when we're performing emanates from our soul because of our experience."

Both Hakim Muhammad and Abdullah Muhammad spent time in prison when they were young.  Now they know devote much of their time to helping youngsters make the right choice in life.  Hakim says his daughter works with him at his organization, an ambulatory care facility for mental health and substance use disorder and prisoner re-entry.  

"In terms of what we're trying to pass on to the youth, is what we've learned by the mistakes we've made. Through it all, drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, mental illness, you know almost losing our life as a result of high-risk behaviors.  One thing that always held us fine is our ability to sing.  Clearly, music is basically what kept us balanced and sane and what kept us going through the trials and tribulations of our lives."

Abdullah says his experiences have shaped his life and music, too.

"I came from Rocky Mountain, North Carolina and I went to West Side High School, along my travels I got in a bit of trouble,  did time in prison, Rahway, Trenton...back in 1972 to 1986.  I knew I always had talent but I never tried to utilize it or make something of myself with the talent God has blessed me with.  Allah blessed me with two talents, "how to fight" and "how to sing", and I chose singing."

Al-Khalique Muhammad works in the Newark Public Schools system and he says kids needs proper guidance.

"These are young kids, but they need the guidance we weren't able to get when we were growing up. It's about doing something for yourself to make yourself a better human being and having love and respect for one another."

The Silver Stars have been on stage with many popular groups including The Manhattans, Blue Magic, and The Delfonics and Dionne Warwick.

"The Whispers" concert is set for Saturday, November 18th at Newark Symphony Hall
Credit The Silver Stars for WBGO News

Al-Khalique says he and his brother Hakim can certainly relate to the star brothers in The Whispers, Wallace "Scotty" and Walter Scott. 

"They're just beautiful brothers from the old school and they represent all we represent and it's really an honor to perform with them."

Click above to hear the entire interview with the Silver Stars.