NABOB Honors Top Entertainers

Mary Wells | 3/25/2009, 12:16 a.m.

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the NABOB Foundation hosted their 25th Annual Communications Awards Dinner on Thur. March 19, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in DC. The event was hosted by comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey and honored African-American legends and leaders in entertainment and broadcasting.

The NABOB 2009 honorees included Grammy nominated R&B singer/songwriter Keyshia Cole; Emmy Award winning actress Cicely Tyson; Famed Gospel singer Andre Crouch; multi-award winning songstress Chaka Khan, Queen of Comedy Mo€Nique, R&B singer Jerry Butler and U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, also the legendary female group LaBelle were honored and also provided the entertainment.

Queen of Comedy Mo€Nique€s award was presented in absentia because of the death of her grandmother.

Legendary Singer Jerry Butler receives his award from (center, right) Kenny Gamble and Hazekiah, also on hand were MC Steve Harvey (2nd from right), Chaka Khan and Pierre Sutton, CEO, Inner City Broadcasting (far left). Photo by Victor Holt
Music Hall of Fame legend Kenny Gamble and gospel pioneer Hezekiah Walker were among the presenters.

Tidbits of the life and history of the entertainers were learned about the awardees as a documentary was shown for them or from comments they made after receiving their award, included the fact that Jerry Butler is a county commissioner and past president of the Planning Commission where he lives in Chicago. Rolling Stone Magazine said that Butler€s song €Your Precious Love€ was one of the five greatest songs of all time. Butler introduced his wife in the audience and said they had celebrated 50 years of marriage.

Cicely Tyson, who started out as a model in Harlem, said that she had made a promise that she would only portray strong black women. Harvey quipped later that after her saw the scene of Tyson walking to drink out of the water fountain that was labeled for €whites only€ in the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, he said, €I just started acting crazy and doing anything I wanted to do after seeing that powerful scene.€

Andre Crouch said that when he first wrote the gospel song, €The Blood of Jesus Will Never Lose It€s Power,€ he was not satisfied with it and balled it up and threw it in the waste-basket. His twin sister, Sandra, got it out of the basket and told him it was a good song. It has been included in the gospel hymn books now as an all-time gospel staple.

Songstress Chaka Khan said she knew she was born to sing. €I know God made me to sing.€ But she didn€t have the desire to start traveling to sing until after her father €left her mother€ and took up photography and traveled all over taking photos. €I wanted to travel like my father did, so I started traveling with shows to sing.€ Stevie Wonder wrote the song €Tell Me Something Good€ for Khan.

Keisha Cole thanked the entertainers that came before her and she plans to make others proud who come after her as she realizes the responsibility.

The Honorable Eric Holder, 82nd Attorney General of the United States, is the first African American Attorney General to serve the country. Born in New York, he was the first African American to serve as District Attorney for DC. Kweisi Mfume, former President of the National NAACP, presented Holder with the NABOB Mickey Leland Award for Service.

€I never realized they had events like these to honor entertainers at dinners as nice as this,€ said Latoya Livingston of News Corporation. She provides pro bono services for the News Corporation and was thankful that the director of the company, David Honig, provided tickets for her and her two friends to attend the NABOB Awards Program. Mr. Honig made it possible for me, Marcella Gadson and Joy James to come to the dinner and we have enjoyed the show so very much,€ she said.
Dr. Tonya Brown said this was her second year attending the NABOB dinner and she plans to come back next year. €I like to see the people associated with the radio and TV broadcasting industry. It€s good to see people like us interested in the way the industry is growing and changing and responding to us,€ she said.

NABOB was organized in 1976 as a response to the under representation of Black Americans in the communications industry and as the voice of the Black broadcast industry. It has been instrumental in shaping national government and industry policies to improve the opportunities for success for some 240 Black and other minority commercial radio station owners and 20 commercial TV stations across the country.