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Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. (born June 20, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and actor. Beginning in 1968, he was a member of the musical group Commodores signed to Motown Records. Richie made his solo debut in 1982 with the album Lionel Richie and the number-one hit "Truly". He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.
Tuskegee, Alabama, the son of Alberta R. (Foster) and Lionel Brockman Richie, Sr. He grew up on the campus of Tuskegee Institute. He is of black and Cherokee Indian ancestry.
Richie graduated from Joliet Township High School, East Campus. A star tennis player in Joliet, he accepted a tennis scholarship to attend Tuskegee Institute, and dropped out of Tuskegee Institute after his sophomore year. Richie seriously considered studying divinity to becoming a priest with the Episcopal Church, but ultimately decided he was not "priest material" and decided to continue his musical career. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honor fraternity for marching band members, and an active life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
In recent years, Richie has become a phenomenon in various Arab states, and has performed in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Libya. John Berman for ABC News reported in 2006 that "Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name. 'I love Lionel Richie,' they say. They can sing an entire Lionel Richie song." Berman wrote that Richie said he was told that Iraqi civilians were playing "All Night Long" the night U.S. tanks invaded Baghdad. Richie was against the war, but says he could see a day when he would come and perform in Baghdad.