Gladys Knight sings for C.U.L’s Golden Fellowship Banquet

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By Theresa Fambro Hooks

Gladys Knight
Rev. Willie Barrow
Andrea Zopp
Otto Bradford
Barbara Bates
Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck
Nikki Giovanni
Tresa Dunbar Garrett
Carrie Filer Davis
Donne Trotter
Cliff Rome
Dr. Ken Warren
Dr. Mikell Pinkney

The legendary “Empress of Soul,” none other than Gladys Knight herself will lend her soulful pipes to the Chicago Urban League’s 51st Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner on to be staged Nov. 10 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel. At this year’s gala, themed We Are One: Connected, Committed for Chicago, it’s expected that a sellout crowd of 1,700-plus of Chicago’s business, civic, social and political leadership will witness as the Rev. Willie T. Barrow receives the coveted Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award. The late Mr. Berry, who led the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969, was a key leader in the civil rights movement. The Berry Award is given annually to leaders who make a mark through hard work, perseverance and creativity.

Known for her successful 50-year career, both as the lead singer of Gladys Knight & The Pips and as a solo artist, Gladys’ unassailable artistry has led to numerous hit recordings, Grammy Awards and has included triumphs on stage, screen and television. Previous local award winners: Linda Johnson Rice, chair, Johnson Publishing Co.; Hank R. Schwab, Holocaust survivor and civil rights activist; Cicely Tyson, stellar award-winning actress; the Rev. Addie L. Wyatt, equal rights trailblazer; and James R. Compton, who guided CUL from 1972 to 2006.

The 51st Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, one of the city’s largest and most well-attended benefits, is co-chaired by four of the Windy City’s most civically engaged couples: Ellen M. Costello and Michael Judge; Joseph and Claire Gregoire; Sam and Dona Scott; and Charles and Lisa Tribbett. Committee co-chairs are Ralph Hughes and Joe Moore. The program will be hosted by Chicago comic Damon Williams, whose talent has been featured on television and radio including appearances on BET, Comedy Central, HBO and The Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Legacy sponsors for the annual dinner: Ernst & Young, PNC Bank and Loop Capital Markets; Advocacy sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, ITW, Grosvenor Capital Management, McDonald’s and Target. Andrea L. Zopp is CUL’s current president/CEO.

Chicago Reception – Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, M.D. M.P.H., newly appointed director of the Ill. Dept. of Public Health, was the special guest of honor at a Welcome Reception last week at the Parkway Ballroom given by the Chicago Area Project and state Sen. Mattie Hunter.

Sponsors: Elzie Higginbottom (East Lake Management Corp.), Chef Cliff Rome, Rush University Medical Center’s Urban Health Initiative and Healthcare Consortium of Illinois. Other program participants included Gov. Quinn and David Whitaker, executive director of the Chicago Area Project.

In A Motown Mood – A whopping $1,000 cash raffle prize will be awarded to one lucky guest who attends Saturday evening’s 2012 benefit, “AKArama Goes Motown,” sponsored by Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in the East Tower’s Grand Ballroom.

Spearheads are Tresa Dunbar Garrett, AKArama Foundation president; Frances Moore-Bond, chair; Ethel J. Collier, vice president; Yolanda Bailey, secretary; and Erika V. Everett, co-chair. And among the many on the planning committee are Frances G. Carroll, Mae R. Carr, Denise Gresham Knox,, Jacqueline Coy Gist, Ola Jean McGehee, Joyce Ewell, Elaine Chisholm, Valee Salone, Lisa Floyd, Norma Butler May, Cheryl Marshall, Patricia Marshall Holloway and Michelle Webb.

The annual benefit kick-starts with cocktails at 6 p.m. and includes dinner, raffles, a silent auction of one-of-a-kind memorabilia and exclusive Motown Music by the Ultimate Concept Band. Monies raised from this event will benefit the AKArama Foundation-Scholarship Programs, Community Outreach Programs which include but are not limited to Technology, Senior Programs, Women’s Health Initiative and Economic Development Programs for residents of the Woodlawn and Englewood communities. For $100 tickets or donation info, contact (773) 363-6220.

Condolences – to the family of a good buddy, Otto Bradford, retired south suburban high school principal, former treasurer of the City of Markham and an Alpha, who passed last week. Our sympathy goes out to his daughter, Wanda Bradford; son, Dietrich; and his special friend, Anna Francis (“Fran”) Gibbs. Visitation is Thursday, 4-8 p.m., Holt Funeral Home, 175 W. 159th St., in Harvey; funeral, Friday, 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 13939 S. Claire Blvd., in Robbins.

Newsy Names – Happy b’day to a favorite octogenarian, awe-inspiring educator and inspirational motivator, Dr. Carrie Filer Davis, who loves assisting young folk and providing scholarships via her National Women of Achievement, Inc. organization. She just returned from a NWOA Leadership Conference in Houston, and soon will be cruisin’ the Caribbean with her kin to celebrate her natal day “Dr. Carrie style.” She inspires us all! …

Friends of state Sen. Donne E. Trotter toss a Unity Fundraiser for him this Thursday, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at Norm’s Bistro, 1001 E. 43rd St. RSVP: (773) 933-0333 …

The 48th Chicago International Film Festival will present the Founder’s Award to acclaimed filmmaker and Chicagoan Robert Zemeckis and his latest movie “Flight” on Closing Night, Thursday, at 7 p.m., at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. The Founder’s Award is given to that one film across all categories that capture the spirit of the Chicago International Film Festival for its unique and innovative approach to the art of the moving image.

“Flight” stars Oscar winner Denzel Washington … Chef Cliff Rome of Rome Joy’s Catering, Chef Kris Murray of Washburn Katering and Chef Allison of Ruth & Phil’s Gourmet Ice Cream host Octoberfest Bronzeville Beef & Brats Bash this Friday, 6-9 p.m., and Saturday, noon-3 p.m., at H-Dogs, 4656 S. King Dr., with sample gourmet brats and boutique beers. Help yourself … Nikki Giovanni, renowned poet, writer, activist, commentator and educator, comes this way Nov. 7, 6 p.m. to speak at Governors State University on “The Courage for Quality: Love, Work Society,” followed by a Q & A and book signing.

Barbara Bates Foundation (she’s the top notch fashion designer) in conjunction with the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation to benefit the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Sinai Health System host a Fall 2012 Fundraiser/Fashion Show of beautiful and courageous breast cancer survivor models on Sunday. Reception @ 4 p.m.; fashion show, 5-8 p.m., at Prentice Women’s Hospital (level 3), 250 E. Superior. To purchase $250 tickets, visit http://www.barbarabates.org. Hooray for Barbara! She is, herself, a breast cancer survivor.

Panel Talk — Eta Creative Arts Foundation presents a panel discussion exploring plays from the Black theatre canon that are reflective of an African American blues aesthetic. Shades of Blues: A Conversation on the Classic Works of August Wilson and Lonne Elder III from a Blues (Music) Perspective takes place Nov. 3, 4-6 p.m., at The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St, @ Drexel Blvd., room 801.

Discussants are Dr. Ken Warren, University of Chicago, and Dr. Mikell Pinkney, University of Florida; moderator is Lincoln Beauchamp, Jr., aka Chicago Beau. Free and open to the public, it is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture and the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago and eta Creative Arts Foundation. For information, call (773) 752-3955 or visit http://www.etacreativearts.org.

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