Beaumont R&B legend Barbara Lynn — aka “the Empress of Gulf Coast Soul” — has received a NEA National Heritage Fellowship.

Lynn, who was born in 1942, is a trailblazer. She had a breakout hit in 1962 with “You’ll Lose a Good Thing,” which went to number one on the R&B charts and number eight on the pop charts. An African American young woman fronting a band, as an instrumentalist and not only a singer (Lynn is left-handed guitarist) and as the author of her songs all made Lynn a pioneer. Lynn has had ten singles in the Top 100.

Fellowship recipients will receive a $25,000 award and be honored in Washington, DC at an Sept. 26 awards ceremony and a free concert on Sept. 28. The concert will be streamed live at

Lynn was nominated for the award by Austin aarts presenter and advocate, Sarah Rucker.

The 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellows are:

  • Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (Milwaukie, OR)—Palestinian embroiderer
  • Eddie Bond (Fries, VA)—Appalachian old-time fiddler
  • Kelly Church (Allegan, MI)—Anishinabe (Gun Lake Band) black ash basketmaker
  • Marion Coleman (Castro Valley, CA)—African-American quilter
  • Manuel Cuevas (Nashville, TN)—rodeo tailor
  • Ofelia Esparza (Los Angeles, CA)—Chicana altarista (Day of the Dead altar maker)
  • Barbara Lynn (Beaumont, TX)—R&B musician
  • Don & Cindy Roy (Gorham, ME)—Franco-American musicians
  • Ethel Raim (New York, NY)—traditional music and dance advocate