Higgenbottom chairs BUFI’s 11th annual ‘Living Legends Awards’

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The “very well connected” Elzie L. Higginbottom, president and CEO of East Lake Management, has signed on to chair the 11th annual Black United Fund of Illinois’ Living Legends/Passing the Torch Awards, a celebration of role models who r

The “very well connected” Elzie L. Higginbottom, president and CEO of East Lake Management, has signed on to chair the 11th annual Black United Fund of Illinois’ Living Legends/Passing the Torch Awards, a celebration of role models who represent leadership by example, serve as mentors, motivate tomorrow’s leaders and encourage generational continuity.

The Oct. 9th BUFI benefit at the Parkway Ballroom will salute outstanding women pioneers –yet to be announced! – who invest time, energy and skills to groom a new generation that will ensure a better future for all of us, says Higginbottom. Past recipients include pioneers in civil rights, education, business, politics, media and community development. The event will begin with a reception by Rome’s Joy Catering, a silent auction and female-focused entertainment.

The memorial Natalie Rose Puryear Young Community Leader Scholarships, named for BUFI’s former vice president of communications who died in January 2009, are funded by her family and administered by BUFI. They recognize academic excellence and community service to local high school seniors. For $125 tickets, call (773) 324-0494 or email http://www.info@bufi.com.

Soul Train Turns 40 – The first-ever Soul Train Photo Exhibit has opened at Expo 72 (72 E. Randolph), which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Chicago-based, longest-running, nationally syndicated program in television history. The weekly after-work dance party, Friday Night Groove (4 p.m.-6 p.m. thru Sept. 2), kicked off with Chicago DJ and house music pioneer Steve “Silk” Hurley. A guest DJ will be featured each week. Attendees will feel as if they’ve stepped onto the Soul Train set, dancing to Soul Train beats under disco balls amid a photo retrospective.

“Soul Train is part of Chicago’s rich cultural heritage,” said Michelle T. Boone, commissioner of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, at Friday’s opening The ground-breaking show, which was created, produced and hosted by South Side native Don Cornelius, inspired a new generation of music, style and dance and probably did more than anything else to integrate R&B into mainstream pop culture.

The free exhibit that closes Sept. 5 features a never-before-seen collection of over 55 rare images of the biggest names in music taken right on the Soul Train stage, including Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Chuck Berry and others. Visit http://www.ExploreChicago.com.

Film Focus – The Interrupters, a new epic tale of courage and hope from Chicago’s Kartemquin Films by director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and award winning author-turned-producer Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) whose original article inspired the film, premieres this Wednesday at 7:15 p.m., at ICE Theater Chatham 14, 210 W. 87th St.

The film, which officially opens here at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Aug. 12 for a two-week run and at the ICE Theaters Chatham and Lawndale on Aug. 26, has become an audience favorite and won several awards since its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival. Already acclaimed by international critics as one of the best documentaries of recent years and a potential Oscar nominee, the film opens nationwide in New York on Friday.

Synopsis: The Interrupters follows a year in the life of the city as it grapples with the plague of urban violence. At the heart of the story are Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra, each of whom has credibility on the street because of their own personal histories. With gumption, wisdom and wit, they work to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed.

These “Violence Interrupters” (their job title) work for CeaseFire, a local organization whose guiding principle is that the spread of violence mimics the spread of infectious diseases, and so responds with similar treatment: go after the most infected and stop the infection at its source. The Interrupters captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in our cities with the high-profile fatal beating death of Derrion Albert, a high school student whose death was caught on videotape.

Happy B’day – to Roderick Hawkins, Lillie Sanders, Dr. James Buckner, Gina Davis, Nina Tabb, Jackie Moore, Robert Shaw, Mary Fields Taylor, Ryan Baker, Jeremiah Wright-Haynes, Stephen Mitchell, Kenny Johnson, Lauri Sanders, Ivory Haygood, D.C. Madd Hatter, Marcia Cookie Jacobs, Marcellus Stamps, Davante Stone, Marki Lemons-Ryhal, Tumia Romero, Larry Wilson, Yvonne Lane, Leontyne Brown and Elaine Davis.

Fly Girl – Dr. Mae Jemison, first African American woman to travel in space (1992 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor), addresses Girls Take Flight, a mini-conference Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at DuSable Museum in support of the museum’s newest exhibit, Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight. The exhibit charts the ground-breaking, history-making and patriotic paths of a very valiant and extraordinary group of aviators, including Bessie Coleman securing a pilot’s license through The Tuskegee Airmen and the integration of our armed forces, to Guy Bluford in space.

Dr. Jemison will highlight some of the experiences during her space mission and seek to inspire girls toward academic and career success in science and technology. The event begins with a film screening of Endeavor, a biography of Dr. Jemison. Other participants: history-making teen pilots, Kimberly and Kelly Anyadike. Inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen, 15-year-old Kimberly flew a single-engine Cessna from her hometown, Compton, Calif., to Newport News, Va., becoming the youngest Black female pilot to fly cross country, a 13-day journey. At age 16 Kelly set a world record in 2008 by being the youngest Black female to solo in four different fixed-wing aircrafts on the same day.

The exhibit covers significant fixtures, events and themes associated with African Americans in aviation and aerospace history. Organized by the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Services, it’s designed for young women, ages 8-18. Admission is $10; call (773) 947-0600, ext. 290 for group rates.

MAXX Awards – Don Jackson, president-founder of Central City Productions, and Barry Mayo, president of Radio One, each receive a coveted 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from Target Market News on Monday during its 12th annual MAXX Summit and Awards Program at the Wyndham Hotel. It’s the industry’s largest yearly gathering that recognizes the contributions, innovations and exceptional performances of African American professionals in marketing, advertising, media, public relations and consumer research.

Honorees were selected from candidates recommended by TMN’s editors, writers and contributors. Each was considered on the basis of the longevity of their careers, their advocacy of African American marketing and media, and the professional accomplishments that distinguish them within the industry, said Ken Smikle, TMN president. Other recipients: Bob McNeil, Images USA; Michelle Ebanks, Essence Communications Inc.; Jennifer Jones, AT&T; Matthew Barnhill Jr., Black Entertainment Television/BET; and Terrie Williams, Terrie Williams Public Relations.

“Most of these professionals have received little recognition for their hard work, but all of us have in some way benefited from their efforts and examples, Smikle said. “We’re pleased to honor their success and contributions and encourage the entire industry to join us in acknowledging them.”

To Good Health – Health screenings and awareness info, raw food demos, exercise, youth activities, line dancing, souvenir and goodie bags and more (all free!) are on tap for Saturday’s Emma Foster Health & Wellness Family Fair, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church, 600 E. 35th St. Extra parking: West Point Church, 36th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, and Catholic Archdiocese, 35th Street and Lake Park Avenue. Call (312) 225-5300.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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