Black Business Association – The Business Behind The Music – Tuesday June 19, 2018 – California African American Museum- Los Angeles, CA.

This was an evening of wonderful accomplishments and amazing food! The table décor was beautiful with pink plates and pink roses.

About the Event:

Board of Directors, Gwen Moore – Chairman – GeM Communications, Denise Peoples – Secretary – Peoples Choice Staffing, Inc.,Nathan Freeman – Treasurer – Figueroa Media Group, Inc.

Board Members, Ted Davis – ISComp. Systems. Inc., Lamar Lyons – Rideau Lyons & Co. Inc.,Ezekiel Patten, Jr. – President, Patten Energy Enterprises, Inc.,Rosalind Pennington – President/CEO, BST Consulting Services, LLC.

Legal Counsel, Angela J. Reddock-Wright, Esq. – Founding & Managing Attorney, Reddock Law Group.

President & Chief Executive Officer
Earl “Skip” Cooper, II.

Sponsors & Supporters, Gold Sponsors, Capitol Music Group, Motown.

Silver Sponsors, AEG, SoCalGas.

Bronze Sponsor, Moss Foundation.

Supporters, AFM Local 47, The Ray Charles Foundation, Dillard University, Lionel Richie/Red Light Management, New Frontier Democratic Club, Dickerson Insurance Services, Verdugo Workforce Development Board, Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation.

Corporate Partners, AEG, AT&T, City National Bank, Comerica Bank, Frontier Communications, Northrop Grumman, SoCal Gas, Southern California Edison, Verizon, Wells Fargo Bank.

Dinner Program, Mistress of Ceremonies
Kim Anthony-Morrow – National Director, Urban Philanthropy Institute.

Introduction of Dais Guest, Gwen Moore – Chairperson, Black Business Association, Earl “Skip” Cooper II – President & CEO, Black Business Association.

Invocation, Dinner served, Award Presentation, Entertainment
Ellis Hall – “The Ambassador of Soul”/Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Zipporah Robinson – Vocalist.

Closing Remarks, Gwen Moore – Chairperson, Black Business Association.

Dessert/Networking Reception, Featuring Desserts by BBA Members.

Mistress of Ceremonies – Kim Anthony-Morrow – National Director, Urban Philanthropy Institute Kim Anthony-Morrow brings more than 25 years of experience in the small business and community development sectors to her role as National Director of the Urban Philanthropy Institute, (UPI) a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to positively impacting economically disadvantaged communities. Through its award-winning flagship program, Launch and Lead: Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Development Program, UPI currently provides training and support for more than 120 emerging nonprofits and social ventures in 31 states, with a focus on building sustainable organizations that create critically-needed jobs while providing transformative solutions for under-resourced communities.

Ms. Morrow also serves as producer and host of “Urban Philanthropy Live,” Urban Philanthropy Magazine’s weekly interview-formatted podcast that highlights individuals and organizations that are making a positive difference in urban communities.

A passionate social venture advocate and gifted fundraiser, she has sourced more than $20 million in funding for worthy causes and social innovation projects. She is also a highly sought-after keynote speaker, conference panelist and workshop facilitator on the topics of social innovation, nonprofit management and community-building.

Preceding her tenure at the Urban Philanthropy Institute, she served for more than a decade as the Director of Small Business Development for the Black Business Association.

Ms. Morrow is the author of From Gifted to Greatness: Manifesting Your Greatness Through Giving and provides nonprofit management consulting services to individuals and organizations worldwide.


Ellis Hall – “The Ambassador of Soul”, Singer, Songwriter, Musician & Former Lead Vocalist/Keyboardist at Tower of Power

Ellis Hall, “The Ambassador of Soul” known for singing, songwriting, and as a musician playing every instrument with a strong 5 octave vocal range and was the lead vocalist and keyboardist for the soul-funk band Tower of Power.

He performs with most elite symphony orchestras worldwide including: His first being the Hollywood Bowl under the direction of his mentor Ray Charles. Since then he has performed with prestigious 81 piece orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch conducting to playing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Seattle Symphony ORchestra, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra and more.

Ellis is currently performing two orchestra concept shows “Ray, Motown and Beyond” features such hits a Motown’s Heard It Through the Grapevine and Tower of Power’s Some Days Were Meant for Rain. With the second half of the show paying tribute to Ray Charles featuring hit songs like, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Unchain My Heart, Hit the Road Jack, and Georgia on My Mind.

Ellis’ other show, “Soul Unlimited” (conducted by Jeff Tyzik) is where he “Ellis-izes” songs from David Bowie’s Let’s Dance to Something by George Harrison, Beatles along with Motown and Soul hits.

Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised partly in Claxton, GA. Ellis has been blind since he was 18 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from his mission in life. In fact, it has been the driving force behind the creation of a 3,800 songs catalog full of Soul, Gospel, Blues, and Pop compositions. Among these works if the official song for his hometown of Claxton, Georgia. He has worked alongside other greats such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Toby Keith, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Bobby Womack, George Duke, Sheila E., Kenny G and many more. In addition, he was one of the lead vocalists of the California Raisins.

Ellis has also successfully had his hand at Hollywood, recording and performing songs for live action and animated films such as “The Lion King 2,” “Shrek 2,” “Chicken Run,” “Invincible” and “Bruce Almighty”. The Ambassador has even taken acting roles in “Big Momma’s House” (Martin Lawrence) and the crime drama “Catch Me If You Can” (Leonardo DiCaprio). Along with all these amazing films that he was a part of, Mr. Hall was nominated for an Ovation Theater Award for his first stage role in “The Gospel At Colonus” where he not only sang and acted but also walked the stage and stair props with nearly no assistance.

Zipporah Robinson – Vocalist, Zipporah Robinson is an 8th grade Honor Roll student in Oakland, CA with a natural gift in song. She is very active in her church and she blesses the hearts of many each month during youth, funeral and/or holiday services, as well as prayer breakfasts and other events. She is one of the youth participating in Tony’s School of Music directed by D’Wayne Wiggins, grammy award winning producer of Tony! Toni! Tone!. Zipporah is happy to share her talent with a positive attitude and beautiful spirit. She has aspirations of attending Oakland School of the Arts in Oakland, CA in the fall in order to develop her gift even further. She also loves going to the movies, shopping and attending fun activities with her friends.

Siedah Garrett – Grammy-winning & Academy Award-nominated singer/songwriter, Siedah Garrett is a GRAMMY-winning and twice Academy Award nominated singer/songwriter whose contributions to popular culture are unparalleled. A native of Los Angeles, Garrett began her career as a background vocalist when she was just 15 years old. Her experience in the music business has been varied, to say the last. She’s done it all – from being a singer in a variety of local bands in her early days, to catapulting to the member of Michael Jackson’s, Siedah is most famous for co-writing The King of Pop’s megahit “Man in the Mirror” from his chart-topping 1987 album, “Bad”, and as his duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, that album’s first single. She also toured with Jackson as featured vocalist on his Dangerous World Tour.

In addition to Jackson, artists who have recorded on Siedah’s songs include mentor Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Earth Wind & Fire, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson,, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Toto, Sheena Easton, Natalie Cole, Barry White, Pointer Sisters, Donna Summer, Dionne Warwick, Patti Austin, Roberta Flack, Al Jarreau, and many others. As a recording artist, her first big hit was the now classic duet with ex-Temptation Dennis Edwards, “Don’t Look Any Further”. She has also toured internationally with Madonna, Sergio Mendes, Wang Chujng, and recently performed alongside pop sensation Aloe Blacc. Film and television productions to use Siedah’s music include Lego Batman, Rio, Rio 2, Dreamgirls, The Voice, and Netflix’s Fuller House, and the hugely successful Playstation video game Nioh.

In 2017, Siedah released her critically acclaimed single “G.H.E.T.T.O.” (Greatness Happens Even Though There’s Oppression) which featured GRAMMY and Academy Award-winning rapper/actor/activist, Common. The single, which is a motivational anthem about not being defined by where you come from, premiered in Essence magazine online. Most recently, Siedah has partnered with Academy Award nominated composer John Debney to create music for a forthcoming musical theater production entitled, “Silent Night”, and is now collaborating with multi-GRAMMY winning composer/producer Harvey Mason, Jr. on the musical theater production of Will Smith’s blockbuster film, “The Pursuit of Happyness”.

Outside of her work as a singer and songwriter, Garrett is also an active philanthropist – using her time, talents and creativity to make a positive difference in her community and throughout the world. Siedah is a frequent guest speaker at colleges, universities and industry conferences, offering her advice and sharing her experiences. She has become a go-to lyricist for special events and social causes, such as co-writing two theme songs for the Special Olympics World Games, the music theme for the World Expo in Shanghai, the American Idol Gives Back campaign, Fergie’s “L.O.V.E. (Let One Voice Emerge)” song to encourage voter participation, her Autism Awareness theme song “It’s Time to Listen,” and her new benefit single, “Carry On”, for the Race to Erase MS charity. Siedah also has taken a particular interest in causes related to HIV/AIDS, earning her the Good Samaritan Award from the Minority AIDS Foundation. An Avid knitter, Siedah is currently working on an initiative – Beanies for Babies – personally knitting 100 caps for children living with HIV/AIDS and cancer.

Valerie Ervin – President, Ray Charles Foundation, as guardian of the Ray Charles legacy, Valerie Ervin is committed to carrying forward the vision and philanthropic mission set forth by Ray Charles.

Prior to being named President of “The Ray Charles Foundation”, Valerie Ervin established her tenure with the organization by working closely alongside Ray Charles and his long-time manager/business partner Joe Adams, as Executive Assistant and Vice President of Operations. Ms. Ervin’s approach to business and the daily management of The Ray Charles Foundation remains consistent with the principles, tenets and integrity with which Ray Charles and Joe Adamas conducted business for more than five decades.

In addition to leading the foundation in its grant-making initiatives, Valeri also oversees the negotiation of music licensing contacts and manages all the commercial, business, marketing and financial interests from revenues generated by the Ray Charles Foundation.

She has been Executive Producer on multiple music and media projects including the “In PErformance at the White House” PBS special honoring Ray Charles, hosted by President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama. In every project, Ms. Ervin endeavors to add value to the Ray Charles brand including the Academy Award Winning biopic, “Ray”.Ms. Ervin has positioned the Foundation as a significant player in the world of American Philanthropy.

Valerie Ervin has received dozens of awards, plaques of recognition and appreciation from the City and County of Los Angeles. Numerous business organizations, entertainers, record companies, secondary and higher learning educational institutions including a Honorary Doctorate degree from Dillard University and other foundations, have all recognized Ms. Ervin for her unrelenting efforts in spearheading the agenda of the Ray Charles Foundation.

Under her leadership, the Ray Charles Foundation has donated millions of dollars in grants, making Valerie Ervin one of the most influential legacy estate guardians.

John Acosta – President, American Federation of Musicians Local 47, John Acosta currently serves as President of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 representing over 7,000 professional musicians in the southern California area. John also serves as an international Executive Board member of the AFM, Vice President on the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Board, President on the Music Fund of Los Angeles Board of Directors, Director on the Actors Fund Western Council and Director on the Verdugo-Workforce Investment Board.

John hails from the Bronx, New York. His father Juan Acosta was a percussionist from Cuba who worked a sa touring musician with Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. In California, John began his recording career working as a composer, guitarist, producer and engineer for artists on Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Geffen, BMG, Elektra and Capitol Records. John’s work as a musician lead to his work with Local 47, advocating for musicians rights.

The Honorable Dr. Mike Davis currently serves as the President Pro Tem of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioners. Dr. Davis was also the first African American to serve as Chair of the California State Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Internet Media Committee in the California State Legislature. He has served as a public administrator at all four levels of government. In the County of Los Angeles, he coordinated the Living Legends Program for Supervisor Yvonne Burke, working with musical celebrities such as Nancy Wilson, Issac Hayes. Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Etta James and Natalie Cole. In the State Assembly, he coordinated the California Living Legends Program and worked with artists such as Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, Kenny Babyface Edmonds, Stephanie Mills, The Ojays, Jeffrey Osborne, and Stevie Wonder. Today Dr. Davis serves as the Chair of the city of Los Angeles African American Heritage Month committee where he works with Our Authors Study Club and has featured the stories of African American musicians such as Charlie Wilson, John Legend, Lionel Richie, and Johnny Mathis.

“Telling the stories of African American musical legends has been a past time of mines because I know this public history is one which inspires and motivates our citizens to achieve great thing in their own personal lives,” Dr. Davis reveals “If any of these musicians, whose work brings joy to our communities, share their triumphs and challenges, it becomes the foundation from which people will take positive action for themselves and others.” Dr. Davis concludes.

Dr. Davis received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Southern California. He is also a member of Los Angeles Musicians Union, Local 47.

The backdrop was also remarkable, The California African American Museum, rich with history and great exhibits.

California African American Museum
600 State Drive, Exposition Park,
Los Angeles, CA 90037.

*Note some content was taken off of their website.


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