Friday, February 27, 2009

African American Philanthropy in the News

Check out today's article in the Chicago Philanthropy Examiner! Yours truly is featured for part one of the series examining African Americans in philanthropy. Read here. The article is written by Karyn Brianne of the Fabulous Giver . Thanks Karyn!

Also, check out the post 'Celebrating Giving during Black History Month' on the Case Foundation blog here.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Generation 'S'

“I call us Generation S for Service because we are a generation ready to serve. Together we are ready to change the world.”

Recording artist Usher spoke those words at a hearing on improving America's commitment to service and volunteerism at the House Education and Labor Committee hearing room on February 25, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

With Usher is 19-year-old James Harris, an aspiring rapper who participated in Usher’s New Look Foundation's camp in 2007. He credits the foundation for encouraging him to attend college, where he is majoring in business administration and entrepreneurship at Johnson County Community College in Kansas.

Harris shared during the hearing, “At camp, they taught us that there is more to business than being an entertainer and in order to be a strong artist, you need to know the business side of the industry. A rapper with an accounting degree can manage his own books and has a second career to fall back on. We call it being a double threat.”

Harris also encouraged the committee to target youth at an early age by requiring junior high and high schools to incorporate service into their curriculums.

“You may have just written a part of the No Child Left Behind law,” chuckled committee member Rob Andres Andrews, D-N.J., who said the committee is working to rewrite the five-year-old education reform law, which is up for renewal.

Read more and view Harris' testimony here at Usher’s New Look Foundation website.

Photos: Morigi/Wireimage

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Hill Harper Mentoring Scholarship

This is absolutely great – a scholarship program for youth who are serving as mentors!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Teams with UNCF Establishing New Mentoring Service Scholarship Awards

Scholarship Named for Actor, Author and Big Brother, Hill Harper

Via Business Wire press release: “A new Big Brothers Big Sisters of America scholarship administered by UNCF—the United Negro College Fund—aims to encourage students to commit to service through mentoring. The Hill Harper Mentoring Scholarship is named for actor, best selling author, mentoring advocate and longtime Big Brother, Hill Harper, a Harvard Law School classmate of President Barack Obama.

“I am honored to have a scholarship that represents so much that I believe in named for me. This comes at a time when President Obama is urging Americans to serve and First Lady Michelle Obama is asking us to consider making that service mentoring at-risk children,” Harper said. “Children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are among America’s most vulnerable – kids who live in poverty or single-parent homes or households where a parent is incarcerated. Research finds having a Big Brother or Big Sister increases a child’s chances of succeeding in school and staying away from negative influences.”

Scholarship funding will come from 10% of the sales of Freemind Ventures’ The Black List Vol. 1, which premiered on HBO in August 2008 to a wave of excitement and critical acclaim. The Black List Vol. 1, featuring profiles of African American leaders from P. Diddy to Colin Powell and Serena Williams, enhances the understanding of each subject to really become a transformative piece. The Black List Vol. 2 will feature T.D. Jakes, Tyler Perry, Suzanne DePasse and others premiering on HBO February 26, 2009.”

Here’s a few photos from last night’s "The Black List, Vol 2" screening at the Apollo Theater in New York:


Art curator Thelma Golden, filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, film subject Majora Carter and film subject and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick attend the HBO Documentary Screening of "The Black List, Vol 2" at The Apollo Theater on February 24, 2009 in New York City



Film subject and physician Valerie Montgomery Rice and filmmaker Elvis Mitchell; Actress and film subject Maya Rudolph

Back to the press release: “The Hill Harper Mentoring Scholarship criteria will be based on unmet financial need and will be awarded exclusively to college bound seniors who are “Bigs” or “Littles” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ program. The Black List series is currently available on DVD exclusively at Target and Target.com, as well as promoted through viral marketing communications.”

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Headquartered in Philadelphia and with nearly 400 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves more than a quarter million children. Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children beat the odds. The organization depends on donations to help recruit volunteers and reach more children. Funding is used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven to increase children’s odds of succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. Learn how you can change how children grow up in America by going to www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org.

On the web:
UNCF: http://www.uncf.org/
The Black List: http://www.blacklistproject.com/

Photos: Wireimage

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

At Home with The Carsons

Baltimore Magazine has a great feature on Dr. Benjamin Carson, the internationally renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, and his wife Candy, who were both profiled in the made for television movie this month, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story on TNT. (I hope my readers had a chance to see it - it's an amazing story!)

The article takes you into their home in Baltimore, sharing their story of when they first moved in and how Dr. Carson likes to unwind, as well as sharing his thoughts on the making of the movie, the media’s impact on African Americans and parenting.

Snippets from the article by Jane Marion:

"I don't shy away from the fact that financially we've done well, and it's not just from medicine," he says. In addition to taking on close to 400 medical cases a year, Carson sits on the board of several for-profit corporations including The Kellogg Company and Costco Wholesale Corporation, and gives motivational speeches across the country. "I get lots of money to go around and make speeches," says Carson. "And I've got real estate in different places. One of the points I like to make with young people is that you can do that without being an athlete or an entertainer."

Carson feels the media reinforces the image of sports and entertainment as the only roads to riches for African-Americans. "Look at The Cosby Show," he says. "You have a physician married to a lawyer, and they live in this okay place, but I never appreciated that the show that came on right after Cosby was Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, in which these rappers get into their limos after they get out of their mansions and onto their private jets. You juxtapose that to what a doctor and lawyer are making, and it sends out the message that you can go out and get all this education but you're not going to go anywhere with it."

For the purposes of depicting his own odyssey—from humble roots in a cramped house in Detroit's Deacon Street ("that was our dream house and it was not even as big as my garage is now") to his current home, Carson felt it was important to show what money can buy when you achieve academic success.

"I don't necessarily want kids to do something for money," he explains, "but I want them to understand that when you develop yourself intellectually, you become valuable to society in many ways. You don't have to take a vow of poverty."

On parenting their children: "The one thing I've noticed over the years is that the children of a lot of people we know who are quite affluent have not done well," says Carson. "Being determined that our children would not grow up that way and that they would understand the value of hard work and the value of money, we've been very careful not to spoil them. Growing up in hardship was a tremendous advantage to me. It puts fire in your belly and gives you the will to keep going when people tell you you should quit."

The article also highlights that Mrs. Carson is famous for her vegetarian meals and after church Sunday brunches. (Mrs. Carson, can I get an invite?! I'm not far from Baltimore!)

Read full article here.

Photo: Baltimoremagazine.net/Credit: CORY DONOVAN

Monday, February 23, 2009

Harlem's Legendary Apollo Theater Celebrates 75 Years with Free Events

Singer Change, Music legend Dionne Warwick, Apollo legend Chuck Jackson, President and CEO of Apollo Theater Foundation Jonelle Procope and dancer/actor Savion Glover at the Apollo Theater's 75th anniversary season kick-off and press conference on January 27, 2009 in New York City.

In celebration of the Apollo Theater's 75th anniversary, free events are being held for the entire family! Courtesy of Chase Bank, the theater will be open to the public on Saturday, February 28th and Sunday, March 1st. Upcoming events:

In celebration of African American History Month, New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, in conjunction with the Apollo Theater Foundation and Screen Actors Guild, will present “Careers in Entertainment: African American Perspectives” at the world famous Apollo Theater. The panel will be made up of prominent members of the African American entertainment community, including those currently featured on “Made in NY” television shows, as they discuss the successes they have enjoyed in the past, where they are presently in their careers, and what they think is in store for their future and the future of African-Americans in film, television and theatre.

The panel is on February 26 at 6pm. It is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. RSVP to rsvp@film.nyc.gov by Tuesday, February 24th. An RSVP does not guarantee a seat. Doors open at 5:30pm.

Expected panelists are NANCY GILES – Contributor (CBS News Sunday Morning) and Actress (Joshua, “Law & Order”), AMANI MARTIN – Director of Production (HBO Sports) and Director/Producer (“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”), DARYL MITCHELL – Actor (“Ed,” Galaxy Quest) and EAMONN WALKER – Actor (“Kings,” “Oz”). Panelists are subject to availability.

Friday, March 13 at 6:30 PM - Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert: Community Sing with Gospel for Teens

The Gospel for Teens Choir will join host Vy Higginsen at the Apollo Theater’s Soundstage for a free Community Sing Neighborhood Concert where audience members are invited to come together and sing along with the choir. Higginsen, the writer/producer/director of the musical Mama, I Want to Sing, founded the Mama Foundation for the Arts and its Gospel for Teens Program, which teaches aspiring teenagers about the importance of gospel music as an art form.

Free. Reservation required. 212-531-5363

Saturday, March 14 at 10 AM - Amateur Night Open Auditions

The audition is open to singers, dancers, comedians and musicians of all ages and musical styles. For this audition set, they especially encourage non-singing/rapping acts such as dancers, musicians, magicians, comedians, roller-skaters, animal trainers, etc. Each contestant will have up to 90 seconds to audition. Singers can bring a track or sing a cappella. We will NOT have a band in house. Musicians should bring their own instruments. Dancers should bring a cassette or CD for their performance. All auditions should be in good taste. (212) 531-5370 for more information.

Free. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Only the first 200 acts will be seen.

All shows listed are at The Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027. Please visit http://www.apollotheater.org/ for additional information.

The 75th Anniversary Season is made possible by The Edward and Leslye Phillips Family Foundation.

Photo: Wireimage
Source: Walker International Communication Group

AMBI Skincare Announces the 2nd Annual Scholarship in Science & Medicine to Support Minority Women

Snippets via press release: "AMBI(R) Skincare is now accepting applications for the second annual AMBI(R) Scholarship in Science & Medicine. This national scholarship program was designed to recognize, reward and support African-American and Hispanic women who have a genuine ambition to pursue careers in these respective fields. These women are non-traditional students who may have taken a break from their academic careers but now desire to attend school while balancing a family, work, and other personal goals. To provide financial assistance, AMBI(R) Skincare has contributed a total of $50,000 to be awarded to 5 women; each will receive $10,000 towards tuition for continuing their education.

The AMBI(R) Scholarship in Science & Medicine
Launched in 2008, the AMBI(R) Scholarship in Science & Medicine aims to raise awareness around the contribution of minority women to these fields in which they are underrepresented, while offering financial support to continue their education. The scholarship program was inspired by its first recipient, Karen Morris-Priester, who was honored for her outstanding academic accomplishments on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May 2007. As the first grandmother to graduate Yale Medical School, the 44-year old Pennsylvania native's story exemplified the desire, drive and commitment that embody the AMBI(R) brand attributes.

According to the American Medical Association, there were 15,139 African-American and 15,009 Hispanic female physicians as compared to 130,781 Caucasian female physicians in 2006. That's why the brand has stepped up to help bridge the gap and support minority women looking to further their careers in science and medicine. AMBI(R) Skincare has been used and trusted by women with richer skin tones for over 40 years to provide skincare solutions for flawless, even toned skin.

For full application, as well as information about the program eligibility, requirements and the essay application, log onto www.ambiflawlessskin.com. Submissions will be accepted online beginning February 23, 2009 through April 17, 2009 and applicants must apply directly. No product purchase is necessary to be considered. The AMBI(R) Scholarship in Science & Medicine is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, a division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., maker of AMBI(R) brand products.

"AMBI(R) is committed to researching and developing innovative technologies to create efficacious products for women," says Denna Singleton, Product Director for AMBI(R) Skincare. "With science being the key to the brand's success, AMBI(R) extends its support to minority women who aspire to advance their careers in the sciences."

Source: PRN/Ambi press release

Sunday, February 22, 2009

NEWBOs: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass


Lee Hawkins, a Wall Street Journal/CNBC reporter, has coined a new term: NEWBOs. America’s New Black Overclass. It describes black celebrity entrepreneurs who accumulated wealth from sports, entertainment and media, at a young age.

What are their stories? Successes? Challenges? And most importantly, what is their responsibility to the community?

Hawkins profiles these NEWBOs in an upcoming television show, airing February 26th, 9pm ET on CNBC. From CNBC.com: Based on Lee Hawkins' forthcoming book of the same title, NEWBOs: The Rise of America's New Black Overclass, [the show] examines the growing responsibilities of black celebrities in the Obama age. The project features personal stories and interviews with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. It's an inside look into how each successful NEWBO surmounted challenges to achieve the American Dream.

Among those profiled is major league baseball star Torii Hunter, who grew up in poverty and now has a $90 million five-year contract with the Anaheim Angels. His commitment to giving back is through the Torii Hunter Project, which aims to increase the opportunities for America’s youth to enjoy the game of baseball in inner cities and beyond. Torii has contributed over $1 million of his own money to the project.

Also profiled is gospel artist Kirk Franklin, who through his Franklin Family Foundation, has given hundreds of scholarships to Texas high school graduates attending Texas colleges and universities, and Cash Money Records founders Ronald “Slim” and Bryan “Baby” Williams. The brothers formed the Johnny and Gladys Williams Foundation that donates food, offers scholarships and provides housing for the less fortunate in their hometown of New Orleans.

Others profiled on the show include NFL star Terrell “T.O.” Owens, billionaire Bob Johnson, and NBA star Lebron James.

View preview here and view the website here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship

Last year, I featured a post on the renowned artist and painter Jacob Lawrence, his wife Gwendolyn Knight, and the foundation that was established in their name, the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation.

Here’s a snippet from the post: Artist and painter Jacob Lawrence is among the most celebrated and best known African American artists of the twentieth century. Throughout his career, most of his artwork depicted the history and struggle of African Americans. Born in 1917, his mother enrolled him in an after school art program in Harlem, where he studied alongside leading African American artists. He married fellow artist Gwendolyn Knight in 1941. (Read the full post here).

In addition to Harlem, another city that lays claim to Jacob Lawrence is Seattle. In the 1970’s, the Lawrence’s settled in the city, where Jacob became an art professor at the University of Washington. He painted until his death in 2002 at the age of 82.

The foundation has supported many initiatives, among them the Savannah College of Art and Design's Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Annual Lecture Series on African-American Art. And just this week, it was announced that the first Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellow has been selected.

Via Seattlepi.com: “Contemporary artist Titus Kaphar is the inaugural Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellow at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Director Mimi Gates has announced. Kaphar will be featured in the first solo exhibition in SAM's Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Gallery April 3 through September 6, 2009.

The Seattle Art Museum's Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship is awarded bi-annually to an early career black (not necessarily African-American) artist – an individual who has been producing mature work for less than 10 years. The selected artist is honored with a one-person exhibition in SAM's Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Gallery and receives a $10,000 award to further his or her artistic practice.

The Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship was created to provide inspiration for young artists and scholarship in the field of art history, especially as it pertains to the artistic and cultural life of black artists, both of which were important to Knight and Lawrence. Funding for the fellowship is provided by the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Endowment.

In selecting artists to receive the fellowship, emphasis is placed on individuals whose original work reflects the Lawrences' concern for artistic excellence, education, mentorship and scholarship within the cultural contexts and value systems that informed their work and the work of other artists of color.”

Read full article here to learn more about the Fellowship and the artist.

On the web: http://www.jacobandgwenlawrence.org/

Photos: Foundation website/Seattlepi.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photos of the Day

It's been a while since I've featured a 'Photos of the Day' post and some of these pix are kind of old. But better late than never, right? Let's get started with our new White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers (center) at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York, February 16, 2009. Seated next to Desiree on the left is Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine.

In addition to philanthropy, art and fashion are my passions. So I love New York fashion week! Before I started working in philanthropy, I was a fashion stylist. My sister and I styled photo shoots and music videos, but working on a video shoot into the wee hours of the morning was not my cup of tea.

I was in NY this past weekend, unfortunately not for fashion week, but to attend the National Black Fine Art Show in Manhattan. The show featured 36 galleries and dealers from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Carribean, presenting 19th - 21st century Black artwork. There was one artist, Zora Taylor, who I was particularly enthralled with. (I hope to feature her soon). Visit the art show website here. Read a review of the show here.


Also at NY Fashion Week, model and philanthropist Liya Kebede and Bethann Hardison attend This Day/Arise Magazine's African Fashion Collective 2009 at The Promenade in Bryant Park, February 13, 2009; at right, fashion designer Tracy Reese

The Two Kings, Lebron James (not pictured) and Sean 'Jay-Z' Carter, along with his wife Beyonce attend the Sprite Green instrument donation event at the Boys and Girls Club in Mesa, AZ, February 14, 2009 during NBA All Star Weekend.
The Two Kings share a laugh at the event.

That evening, The Two Kings held their annual Two Kings dinner and afterparty:
Jay-Z with Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express

Lebron James, Jay-Z, music executive Steve Stoute and NBA player Rich Paul

Good Morning America television anchor Robin Roberts reads to children during Black History Storytime at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Triangle on February 17, 2009 in New York City.

Producer and philanthropist Sheila Johnson at the 40th annual NAACP Awards in LA, February 12, 2009; and at right, Sheila with her husband, Arlington (VA) County Circuit Court Chief Judge William T. Newman arrive at the reopening celebration at Ford's Theatre on February 11, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Morris Reid, music producer Bryan Michael Cox, Jaci Reid and actor Lance Gross attend New Era & 944 Magazine Pre-Grammy Party at Studio 944 on February 7, 2009 in Westwood, California.

Alonzo Mourning and wife Tracy get their bowl on at their Zo's King Pin Classic, benefiting Honeyshine Mentoring program at Lucky Strike Lanes on January 22, 2009 in Miami Beach, Florida. Alonzo Mourning officially announced his retirement from the NBA earlier that day.



Writer/composer Stew, director Spike Lee and actress De'Andre Aziza attend the premiere of "Passing Strange" during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival at Library Center Theatre on January 16, 2009 in Park City, Utah.

Actress Mo'Nique, director Lee Daniels, actresses Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe and Paula Patton from the critically acclaimed film 'Push', at the FilterForGood by Brita event during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2009 in Park City, Utah. The film, based on a novel by Sapphire, has won two awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and will receive promotional assistance from Oprah's Harpo Productions and Tyler Perry's 34th Street Films. Read more about the film here.
**UPDATED (2/24): According to AOL Black Voices, the film has been renamed 'PRECIOUS, Based On the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire.' It was formerly known as 'Push: Based on a Novel by Sapphire.'

Photos: Wireimage


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Insiders: Ollie and Kathleen Johnson

The black hair care industry is a billion dollar business. A leader in the market is Dr. Miracle's, one of the fastest growing hair care companies in the industry. Having only been launched four years ago, Dr. Miracle’s is leaping over industry giants in the growing ethnic markets by answering the beauty needs of the African-American community.

As African American women are the target consumers for the brand, the founders were surprised to learn that regardless of their education, income, and social status, African-American women are at risk of delivering babies too soon, and often too small or sickly to survive.

“With women of color being our target consumers, the idea that they are plagued with the alarming growth rate and all-too-frequent occurrence of infant mortality, we feel that Dr. Miracle’s should play an integral role in remedying the situation,” said Brian K. Marks, president of Dr. Miracle’s.

Dr. Miracle's was co founded by Ollie Johnson (in photo on right), who has created award-winning, innovative ethnic advertising and marketing campaigns for more than two decades. Ollie's wife Kathleen, is an integral part of the family business, serving as the company's brand educator.

While expanding the Dr. Miracle’s brand, Ollie Johnson also participated in numerous community service efforts. In 2005, he earned the ‘Partner in Industry Award’ for his work with The Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service, a non profit agency providing vocational training, placement, and support for persons with disabilities. Also thanks to Johnson, Dr. Miracle’s partnered with Sweat Equity Enterprises (SEE) to create groundbreaking learning opportunities for teens in the design industry. Now, the company is bringing attention to the infant mortality rate in the African American community.

UNITING TO REDUCE INFANT DEATHS & SAVE BABIES’ LIVES
Dr. Miracle's is the sole sponsor of the The Birthing Project USA, the only national maternal and child volunteer health program dedicated to decreasing the infant mortality rate among African Americans.

The partnership has implemented a national campaign designed to recruit volunteers to participate in its signature SisterFriends program - where volunteers provide one-on-one support to women during their pregnancy and for one year after the birth of their child.

Dr. Miracle’s co-founders Ollie Johnson, Brian K. Marks, and Rich Lombardi chose to sponsor the Birthing Project USA campaign because of the high rate of poor birth outcomes for African-American women.

As the exclusive corporate sponsor of the non-profit, which is built on volunteers and provides social support to African-American women, Dr. Miracle’s is embarking on a range of activities, from funding and aiding in the establishment of new Birthing Project chapters, to underwriting and creating educational sessions, volunteer drives, and online marketing initiatives. Co-founder Brian K. Marks shares, “We at Dr. Miracle’s are proud to support Birthing Project USA, its vital work, and a meaningful partnership full of little miracles.”

For more information and to get involved with the “Little Miracle’s” national campaign, visit http://www.birthingprojectusa.com/ and http://www.drmiracles.com/.

Source and photo: Dr. Miracle's
{Thanks Shanon}

Tyler Perry Donates $110K For Atlanta's Homeless Teens


Via Press Release: Tyler Perry Donates $110K to Covenant House Keeping Atlanta Teens off the Street

Covenant House Georgia announced today that writer/director/producer Tyler Perry has donated $110,000 and a brand new 15-passenger van to the Atlanta-based homeless shelter. The funds will contribute to operating costs and the complete renovation of its Crisis Shelter for homeless adolescents in Atlanta.

"God bless Mr. Perry for this incredible gift to our kids," said Kevin Ryan, President of Covenant House. "The van will be used to rescue young people from the hopelessness of the street. His generous donation will provide immediate help to kids in crisis as well as the long-term support that will transform their lives."

Tyler Perry is no stranger to homelessness. The successful director, playwright, best-selling author and actor experienced periods of homelessness and hunger before finding success. He now focuses his philanthropic efforts to charities benefiting those who are homeless and hungry including Feeding America, the Atlanta Food Bank and Perry Place -- a 20-home community Tyler built for survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Covenant House Georgia (CHGA), opened in August 2000 in downtown Atlanta and is the newest addition to Covenant House -- the largest privately funded childcare agency in the United States providing shelter and services to homeless and runaway youth. CHGA has a Crisis Shelter, Rights of Passage Transitional Living program and Community Service Center offering GED classes, life-skills training, case management and job assistance.

Last year, Covenant House Georgia served over 2,000 kids providing access to immediate shelter, food, clothing, counseling, educational and vocational services. Since coming to Atlanta, Covenant House Georgia has changed the lives of close to 10,000 youth.

Source: PRN/Press release


Friday, February 13, 2009

The 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Marketing executive Aaron Walton, President and CEO of the NAACP Benjamin Jealous and Jacquie Lee attend CIROC Vodka, Official Spirit Sponsor Of The 2009 NAACP Image Awards - After Party at the Beverly Hilton on February 12, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California

The NAACP kicked off its 100 year anniversary and year long centennial celebration last evening with the 40th annual NAACP Image Awards. The annual award show is the nation’s premiere event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, motion picture, television, recording, and literature, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.


Professor Lia Epperson and her husband Benjamin Jealous; singer/actress Beyonce (winner, Best Female Artist) with Ming Lee and Aoki Simmons, daughters of NAACP Image Award honoree Russell Simmons


Actress Taraji P. Henson, NAACP Image Award winner of Best Supporting actress in a motion picture for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Judge Craig S. Strong, actresses Sanaa Lathan and Wendy Raquel Robinson

NAACP Image Award winners Jennifer Hudson (Best New Artist, Best Album) and Sean 'Diddy'Combs (Best Actor in a television movie, miniseries or dramatic special for "A Raisin in the Sun")

Gospel artists Mary Mary (Winners for best gospel artist) and actress Jada Pinkett Smith (center)

On February 11th, the Image Awards pre-show gala was held at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles:

One of my favorite television court judges, Judge Greg Mathis (on right) with NAACP Image Award Nominee and TV producer Oliver Hatchett, Jr., for the Judge Mathis show.


Kevin Liles and Russell Simmons; Alex Avant and Katie Rost


Julian Bond, NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman with Benjamin Jealous

Julian Bond shares, “The NAACP has successfully fought discrimination for 100 years and we are proud of our achievements to date. Our founders could not have dreamed that our centennial would coincide with the inauguration of the first African American president. We know we played a role in this triumph; sadly, we know our work is not done.”

Jealous shared about the work the NAACP is embarking on: “Our journey remains unfinished. African Americans suffer disproportionately from the economic recession, we are seeing a rise in hate crimes and police killings, there is still not a level playing field in economic and educational opportunities for every community. The audacious dream of America, a land where opportunity exists for all and where every person is given a chance to reach their full potential, still remains elusive.” [Source]

Visit the NAACP website at http://www.naacp.org/ for a listing of upcoming events and activities celebrating their 100th anniversary.

Photos: Wireimage

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day is upon us, and what better way to celebrate it by highlighting couples who are successful entrepreneurs, and make it a priority to give back to their communities! The couple at left is Quintin and Diane Primo.

Via Uptownlife.net: Quintin E. Primo III, is Chairman and CEO of Capri Capital Partners. The Harvard Business School grad cofounded his Chicago-based commercial real estate investment management firm in 1992; it now boasts $4.4 billion in assets and major investments throughout the United States. Diane Primo is a chairperson of fund-raising and programming for the Primo Center for Women and Children, a nonprofit homeless center. (She’s also a Harvard grad).

Their favorite causes: The Primo Center and The African-American Legacy Initiative of the Chicago Community Trust, designed to involve more African-Americans in philanthropy. In addition, Quintin founded the Real Estate Executive Council, a nonprofit that focuses on increasing minority participation in commercial real estate. Read more about this couple here.

Tamara and Tim Kimble: Tim is an assistant public defender for the state of Georgia, a former real estate attorney who helped A-list clients navigate Atlanta's real estate boom.

Tamara is VP of strategic marketing and external affairs at The Dawson Company, one of the nation's largest and most successful black-owned real estate development firms. The Harvard Business School grad also oversees The Dawson Family Foundation, which provides scholarships and support to local schools. Read more here.

Visit Uptown Life at http://www.uptownlife.net/


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tom Joyner Presents 'How to Prepare For College'

Via Amberbooks.com: Quality Press, a division of Amber Communications Group, Inc. (ACGI), the nation's largest African American book publisher of self-help books and music biographies, has recently signed an agreement with the Tom Joyner Foundation to produce and manufacture the organization's upcoming title: Tom Joyner Presents How To Prepare For College. Joyner is photographed with his wife Donna Richardson Joyner at the Trumpet Awards in Atlanta last month.

The book will be available to individuals, high schools, libraries, non-profits, organizations, businesses and your local community bookstore, beginning February 16, 2009, in honor of Black History Month. Order through http://www.amberbooks.com/ and http://www.ipgbook.com./

Written by Thomas LaVeist and Wil LaVeist, the book has a foreword by Tom Joyner that states, "What I like about this book is that it shows you the steps you need to take to get into college and it applies to everyone. Everything from raising a college-bound student to life after college is covered. Whether you’re a child in elementary school or an adult in the workforce, considering enrolling in a college or university, this book has something you can use."

Tom Joyner is a nationally syndicated radio and television personality, philanthropist and entrepreneur whose morning show is heard in more than 115 markets by nearly eight million listeners each week. Known as the “hardest working man in radio,” Joyner is a 1999 Radio Hall of Fame inductee, an NAACP President’s Award winner and was bestowed with the prestigious Marconi Award for Network/ Syndicated Personality of the Year. His website www.BlackAmericaWeb.com has more than 1.5 million registered users and features news with special reports by award winning journalists and exclusive political coverage as well as interactive elements with on demand audio.

Tom Joyner founded the Tom Joyner Foundation to provide financial assistance to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Since 1998, the Tom Joyner Foundation has raised more than 55 million dollars to help students attending HBCUs stay in school. The Foundation also hosts an annual cruise named the Fantastic Voyage which raises money for the foundation.

For further information, sales and bulk sales of the book, contact: Amber Communications Group, Inc. at amberbk@aol.com, visit http://www.amberbooks.com/ or call 1-866-566-3144.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Johnnetta Cole Named New Director of Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art

Last year, a reader sent me information about the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute, an organization founded by Johnnetta Cole, who is the president emerita of both Bennett and Spelman Colleges - the only two HBCUs serving women in the country. Now, Cole has a new position, as the Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. Snippets via Artdaily.org:

“Johnnetta Cole has been named director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, effective March 2. Cole is the board chair of the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute, founded at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. The mission of the nonprofit institute is to create, communicate and continuously support the case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace through education, training, research and publications.

“It will be a privilege and a joy to work with the board, the staff and all stakeholders of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art,” said Cole. “Serving as the director of this museum will bring together my passion for African Art, respect for an anthropological knowledge of the people and cultures of the African continent and my involvement in the world of education.”

Cole was president of Spelman College in Atlanta (1987-1997) where her appointment generated a $20 million gift from Bill and Camille Cosby. In addition, she completed a $113 million capital campaign. Under her leadership, Spelman College was named the number-one ranked liberal arts college in the South.” Read full article here.

Source and photo: Artdaily.org

Monday, February 9, 2009

The 9th Annual Heroes In The Struggle Gala


The 9th Annual Heroes In The Struggle Gala was held on February 4, 2009 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, in commemoration of National Black AIDS Awareness Month. Hosted by the Black AIDS Institute, this year's theme was Black Men Honoring Black Women in the Struggle. The gala honored pioneering women who have demonstrated incredible commitments to ending the AIDS pandemic in Black communities. In the photo above: Entrepreneur and HIV/AIDS activist Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, actress Vanessa Williams, actress Tracie Thoms, host for the evening Hill Harper, and Phil Wilson, Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute.


Magic Johnson and actress and HIV/AIDS activist Sheryl Lee Ralph; model Tomiko Fraser. Visit Tomiko's website here to learn more about her Goddess Gatherings for women.

Actresses Jurnee Smollett, Vanessa Williams and Terri J. Vaughn


Actress LaTonya Richardson with honoree Cookie Johnson, wife of Magic Johnson; singer Shanice



 
The Heroes in the Struggle traveling photo exhibit honors Black people who have made outstanding contributions in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and raises desperately needed funds to fight HIV/AIDS in Black communities.

For more information about Heroes in the Struggle or the Black AIDS Institute, log onto http://www.blackaids.org/
Photos: Wireimage