HistoryMakers’ Evening with Valerie Simpson pays tribute to Nick Ashford

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“An Evening with Valerie Simpson” honoring her beloved late husband, Nick Ashford, interviewed by Gwen Ifill, and presented as a benefit for The HistoryMakers is Nov. 9, in Thorne Hall of Northwestern University’s School of Law. Ashford

“An Evening with Valerie Simpson” honoring her beloved late husband, Nick Ashford, interviewed by Gwen Ifill, and presented as a benefit for The HistoryMakers is Nov. 9, in Thorne Hall of Northwestern University’s School of Law. Ashford (he died in August of cancer) and Simpson, who spent over 40 years as a husband-wife songwriting team and recording artists and 30-plus years as a married duo — a life of tremendous accomplishment and acclaim. Even if they never became the superstars that their songs helped Diana Ross and Chaka Khan become, they were known for far more than the mid-chart hits they did manage as recording artists.

Their all-time hits: Let’s Go Get Stoned, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand). As a team they wrote many other hits including Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman. As performers, their best-known duets are Solid and Found A Cure. They were inducted into the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

The evening is a PBS-TV taping by Ifill, award-winning moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. She’s also the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics & Race in the Age of Obama. Among members of the host committee: Julieanna L. Richardson, The HistoryMakers’ founder and executive director; Toni Cook Bush, board chair; Kelly McNamara Corley, Mark D. Goodman, Al B. Reid, Paul Roston, Chris Simmons, Genelle Trader, Deborah Brown, Allison and Susan Davis, Dawn Halbert, Rufus and Jaye Williams, Graham Grady, Denise Gardner, Brenda Gaines, Beverly A. Coley, Felicia Middlebrooks, Brenda Russell, Risa Davis, Barbara Lumpkin, Sharon Morrow and several more. Call (312) 674-1900 for more info and/or tickets. Respond by Nov. 4; seating is limited.

Incidentally, the photo of Ashford and Simpson accompanying this column was taken by “Teesee.” It ran with several others in the June ’09 edition of the Chicago Defender’s “Seen on the Scene” page when they performed at Chicago UNCF’s “Black & White Ball.”

Our Newsmakers – Frank Clark, board chair/CEO of ComEd, receives the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Defender at its 2011 Newsmakers & Scholarship Gala on Nov. 19 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Honorees are selected for “having stood the test of time, rising to new heights, who daily set the pace and are Newsworthy.” Other honorees: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls; Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat; Curtis Granderson Jr., New York Yankees; Johnny Knox, Chicago Bears; Gov. Patrick Quinn; Ald. Carrie Austin (34th); Jim Reynolds Jr., Loop Capital Management; Maestro Paul Freeman (ret.), Chicago Sinfonietta; Cheryl Pearson McNeil, Nielsen Research; Dr. Eric Whitaker, University of Chicago; Robin Robinson, FOX32 News; and Atty. Larry Rogers Sr., Power, Rogers & Smith.

Celebrating A Year! – Le Fleur deLis, the Bronzeville eatery at 301 E. 43rd St. with a Louisiana-themed atmosphere and Creole cuisine — from original gumbo to crawfish etoufee, many of which are family recipes re-created by Allen J. Rouchelle, the owner — is celebrating its first anniversary, hosting a Survivors’ Breakfast honoring cancer survivors with a signature buffet, live jazz, raffle prizes and a special program on Saturday, 8 a.m. chaired by Daveta “Dee” Collins and Kelly Cox. Survivors accompanied by two or more family members or friends eat free. Churches and non-profits are encouraged to celebrate their survivors and will be refunded a donation of 10 percent of their dining bill. Seating: 8, 10 and 11 a.m. Also there’ll be a fun fete, Let the Good Times Roll, 4-9 p.m.

Newsy Names – Congrats once more and again – (actually for the 12th consecutive year!) – to a fave friend, Roosevelt Moncure, who has achieved “Hyatt Master Status” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel where he’s catering and marketing manager, selected for the prestigious honor by the Hyatt’s general manager, and resident manager … Robin Beamon, Fran Bell, DaVida Rice, Claudette Roper and Jakita Trotter tossed a party at Blanc Gallery for Joanne Dowdell, first Black woman from New Hampshire to run for Congress. Dowdell is not a politician, says Beamon, but a successful business woman committed to advocate for smart policies in Washington and to help President Obama win his next term. The candidate spent the last decade as a top exec in the socially responsible investment industry … Ch. 5’s LeeAnn Trotter emcees ABJ Community Services’ Rising Sun Awards on Saturday at DuSable Museum. ABJ’s CEO Dr. Vivian Jones will cite “Everyday Heroes,” including firefighters, police officers and corporate execs, who give back to the community in very special ways. Tickets: $100. Call (773) 667-2100 …

B’day cheer to Gertrude H. Tucker, long time Chicago Defender subscriber who turns 91 on Friday; to vivacious octogenarian Dr. Carrie Filer Davis, Emil Jones Jr., Rev. L. Bernard Jakes, Bertha Cromwell, Myiti Sengstacke Rice, Tom Finch, Ollie McLemore, Carol Redding, Suellen Hurt, Steve Hopson, Barbara (B.A.) Allen, Donald Dew, Heather Ireland Robinson, Jeanne Jackson, Sheryll Bray, Rev. Cynthia Hale, Elynor Williams, Richard Sewell, Tom McElroy, Harvey Walden, Stanley Moore, Renee Prejean-Motanky, Jan Boutte, Bob Davis … Get well to retired McDonald exec Mel Hopson, on the mend from hip replacement surgery … Drs. Donald and Shelley (Poole) Amu host a “meet & greet” fundraiser for Allen P. Walker, candidate for Circuit Court Judge, on Saturday in their suburban Flossmoor home … And friends of Tommy Brewer who are backing his election as Judge of the Circuit Court, give a reception for him on Thursday at Greek Islands Restaurant …

Amb. Carol Moseley Braun, former U.S. Senator from Illinois, is among presenters at National Black Public Relations Society’s 2011 Conference & Career Fair, Oct. 27–30, at InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel, keynoting Friday’s Business Awards Luncheon. Wynona Redmond is national prez. Conference theme: The Network @ Work: Managing Transitions, Techniques and Technology for Career & Business Success. NBPRS will honor PR excellence: Bob Dale, founder, RJ Dale Advertising; Ken Smikle, president-founder, Target Market News; Julian Green, vice president, communications-community affairs, Chicago Cubs. Meredith Moore, McDonald’s director of external relations and brand outreach, keynotes Saturday’s Network Luncheon …

Prof. Robert Starks shares words of wisdom when he guest speaks at Friday’s NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner at Harambe House, chaired by Siobhan Sanders. The local chapter is led by Rose Joshua, president; other officers include Patrick John, Angela Scott and Larry Kennon. Call (773) 803-2729 for tickets … Sympathy to a duo of fave friends, Barbara Sims Bell and Shirley Miller Black, on the passing of their cuz, Althea (Allie) Williams, 62, a paralegal who retired to become a full-time DePaul U. student. A memorial is Sunday, 3 p.m., at Room 43. She’s survived by sisters, Adrienne Hill and Rita Williams … Condolences to Prince Spencer (one of the original dancing Four Step Bros.) recently of Las Vegas on the passing of his wife, Jerri. They lived in Lake Meadows and Pill Hill and she was active with The Associates of the Elliott Donnelley Young Center and The Urbanites; he was an investor in Chatham Foods before they moved to Las Vegas when he became Redd Foxx’s manager and she managed the MGM Grand Buffet. Jerri was remembered at a memorial.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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