Atty. Larry Rogers Sr. and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, chairs of Black United Fund of Illinois’ Liv ing Legends/Passing the Torch Awards Gala, pres ent R&B superstar Jef frey Osborne (On the Wings of Love, We’re Going All th

Atty. Larry Rogers Sr. and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, chairs of Black United Fund of Illinois’ Living Legends/Passing the Torch Awards Gala, present R&B superstar Jeffrey Osborne (On the Wings of Love, We’re Going All the Way, The Woo Woo Song) as the soulful entertainer on Oct. 4 at Harold Washington Cultural Center. Honorees: Ernest L. Jenkins, founder/CEO, Westside Association for Community Action, passing the torch to his daughters, Gloria Jenkins-Harvey, executive director, and Lola Jenkins, vice president; Mary Finger, retired international vice president and director of civil rights and community relations, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, to Mamie Pratt, union rep and executive board vice president, Local 881; and Jerline Lambert, founder and CEO Lambert Realty, to Kenneth E. Lambert, vice president. Special awardee: historian Timuel D. Black, professor emeritus, City Colleges of Chicago. Among other gala spearheads: Henry English, BUFI president/CEO, and Bob Starks, chair. Sponsors: Power, Rogers & Smith, U.S. Cellular, Jewel-Osco, Nielsen Media Research, WellCare/Harmony Health, Chicago Defender, WVON, Citizen Newspaper Group, N’Digo and South Street Journal.  BUFI, the local affiliate of the nation’s only Black philanthropic fund operated by African Americans, was founded 23 years ago as a nonprofit. For tickets/info, call (773) 324-0494 or visit

In Print!–That’s Desiree Rogers, “The Renaissance Woman,” dressed to the nines in her own $1,250 Thakoon vintage-inspired rose floral print sheath dress from Ikram as she graces the cover of September’s Today’s Chicago Woman. The Wellesley College and Harvard U. grad has been director of the Illinois State Lottery and president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas (both at the same time!). She’s currently president of Allstate Financial’s Social Networking Program. Desiree says the key to her successes is surrounding herself with quality people. And TCW’s “The Last Word” features Anita Ponder, a partner in the Government and Regulatory Affairs Group at Drinker, Biddle & Reath. She heads the law firm’s government contracts team, representing major corporations, mid-sized companies and small businesses in almost every major industry. In 10 years, she sees herself “still practicing law. I love what I do,” she says, “and I do it well.”

Whazup! Whazup!–Jackson Park Hospital & Medical Center breaks ground on Sept. 22, 10 a.m., for a new Medical Office Building, so says Margo Brooks-Pugh, a JPH vice president. Join Rev. Patrick L. Daymond and Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church, 600 E. 35th St., for “Family & Friends Day ‘08: Each One Bring One” on Sunday at the 11 a.m. worship service followed by a Reception & Ministry Fair. The Monarch Awards Foundation hosts “Chapeaux & Fedoras: A Jazzy Afternoon” on Sunday, 3 p.m., aboard The Odyssey, cruising from Navy Pier and featuring chic hats, stimulating conversation, haute cuisine, dancing, smooth jazz and a grand raffle. Since ‘88, the tax exempt group has awarded over $600,000 in scholarships and nonprofit assistance, Adrienne Upchurch, president, and Nadine DeJohnette, benefit chair, tell us. Call (773) 548-0410 or e-mail

Newsy Names–Congrats to tennis terror Serena Williams on winning her third U.S. Open Women’s Singles Championship title (that came with a $1.5 million check)! She’s now No. 1 in the world once again after a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory over Jelena Jankovic. At courtside cheering Serena on to victory (along with kin and coaches) was her “best beau,” Common, the Grammy winning rapper/actor.  Guess that’s why he was a “no show” at last weekend’s Chicago Soul Music Fest at Union Park!

A memorial for Marshall Garner Jr., popular man-about-town, is Friday at Apostolic Church of God. Visitation, 10:30 a.m.; service, 11 a.m.

Get well wishes to a couple of retirees, Nemi Johnson and Sylvia Ragland, both of whom are on the fast mend from surgery. Nemi’s at Montgomery Place; Sylvia’s in Christ Hospital.

Happy b’day to the Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ; Otis Wilson, former Chicago Bear (remember the 1986 Superbowl Champs?); Natalie Puryear, Black United Fund of Illinois’ vice president/com munications; Verna Watts Shannon, insurance guru who celebrated with several gal pals in Vegas; Cedric Hardin, security manager at the Borg-Warner Building, 200 S. Michigan Ave., where our Defender offices are located; and to Tamron Hall of MSNBC.

For Jazz Junkies–Renowned jazz pianist Alvin Waddles ends the “On Stage With …” summer cabaret series at the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday. Take advantage of this rare, unique, up-close-and-personal opportunity to sit on stage, sip a cocktail or two and tap your toes as Waddles and his jazz quartet play tribute to the legacy of Fats Waller, performing a revue that includes infectious favorites, such as Ain’t Misbehavin’, Two Sleepy People and Your Feet’s Too Big. The theatre will be transformed into an intimate 1940s-style cabaret with tables, cocktail service and light appetizers while the audience is treated to an unforgettable performance and a magnificent view of the Louis Sullivan designed interior from a vantage point typically reserved for performers only! Hurry and call (312) 922-2110 ext. 300.

Listen Up!–Girlfriends, the long running but recently canceled television show starring four young Black women, has inspired a soundtrack/tribute album featuring nine Grammy nominated R&B stars: Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Estelle, Chrisette Michele, Angie Stone, Amy Winehouse, India.Arie and Mary J. Blige. The longest running and highest rated show featuring young African American women garnered accolades galore and developed a fanatical fan base of loyal viewers. The ser es’ re-occurring themes, consisting of sisterhood, friendship and empowerment, were also mirrored in the compilation of music chosen for The Girlfriends’ soundtrack, which includes recordings by Badu and Michele, performed live on the show.

Five years in the making, the album is a must-have for fans of Girlfriends or someone seeking inspiration by a group of amazing women vocalists. Even though no new episodes will be filmed, the show will live on in syndication/re-runs worldwide. The CD, just released by Urbaniti Entertainment, is available in all major stores and online.

Say What?–Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, The Nielsen Co. vice president; Toni Judkins, of TV-One; and Ken Smikle, Target Market News’ CEO; “tell who really determines what goes and stays on air” at Ratings, Race & Ramifications, Sept. 19 during the second annual TV-Op Television Festival at Columbia College Film Row Cinema Theater. A Nielsen-hosted reception precedes the panel discussion. To sign on, call (312) 267-4564, e-mail For more, visit and

Book Look–A book-signing reception and program on Sunday, 4 p.m.– 7 p.m., at DuSable Museum celebrates the publication of a historical book on life in West Woodlawn from 1900-1950. A Tight Little Island, written by some 100 folks who lived it, describes life in a Black middle-class community that remained strong in the face of restrictive covenants, open segregation, racial hostility and white flight. West Woodlawn’s boundaries: 63rd St., Cottage Grove, 69th St., and King Drive (back then, it was South Park). Contributors wrote their own stories and supplied their own photographs and memorabilia. This nearly forgotten community of Black immigrants, primarily from the South, became a productive, tightly knit community around the turn of the century up until 1950. Among the many notable residents: Thomas A. Dorsey, “father of gospel music;” J. Ernest Wilkins, who earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago at age 19 and developed mathematical models for calculating gamma radiation absorption; and Claude “Buddy” Young, professional football athlete and coach and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. (“Teesee” also grew up in West Woodlawn.) The Rev. Dr. Robert L. Polk is executive editor. For more info, contact Ron Sampson at (773) 667-4638 or send an e-mail to

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