Magic Johnson to host Sinai Community Institute's Gala 2011

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson hosts Sinai Community Institute’s Gala 2011 on Saturday honoring (among others) Regina Taylor, Goodman Theater’s director, playwright and actress, with the Spirit of Sinai Award; Chicago Football C

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson hosts Sinai Community Institute’s Gala 2011 on Saturday honoring (among others) Regina Taylor, Goodman Theater’s director, playwright and actress, with the Spirit of Sinai Award; Chicago Football Classic founders and “best buds,” Larry Huggins of Riteway-Huggins Construction Services, and Everett and Tim Rand of Midway Wholesalers & Concessionaires, with the Sinai Volunteer & Community Service Awards. Also at the 18th annual black-tie event: a private reception with Johnson, dinner and dancing to music by The Flow. The Gala at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, emceed by Ch. 7’s Hosea Sanders, is co-chaired by Merri Dee, Illinois AARP president and David J. Vitale, Urban Partnership Bank’s executive chair. Atty. Cheryl Blackwell Bryson is event chair and Debra Wesley is SCI’s president and Sinai Health Systems’ executive vice president. A generous gift from Johnson last year enabled SCI to more than double the number of work stations in its computer lab, supporting 3,000 visits for SCI clients developing job skills and youth completing homework. As a health system-based community outreach organization serving over 30,000 clients a year through 25 social service programs, SCI focuses on women and children, work force development, youth, seniors and families, serving some of Chicago’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. Log on

Family Affair – On Friday, Cookie (Mrs. Earvin “Magic”) Johnson keynotes a “by-invitation-only” Walgreens-sponsored “First Ladies Luncheon” with some 150 pastors’ wives who come together yearly to learn how to assist their congregations in living healthier lives. Past focus has been on HIV/AIDS. This year’s agenda includes diabetes and heart health. Lunch chair: Jamel (Mrs. James) Meeks, of Salem Baptist Church; Val Warner, Ch. 7’s Windy City Live, emcees the event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Gala Special – Friends of Roland W. Burris, first African American elected to statewide office in Illinois (U.S. senator, attorney general, Illinois comptroller) host a gala reception in his honor on Friday, 6 p.m., at the Parkway Ballroom in support of the Burris Legal Fund. Sponsorship levels: $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500. Supporter levels, $1,000, $500, $250, $150. RSVP: (773) 772-4414. Among hosts: Mozel Barnes, John Bradshaw, Richard Boykin, Cecil Butler, Joe Caldwell, Frank Clark, John Clark, Les Coney, Walter Grady, Calvin and Linda Hall, Leonard Harris, Elzie Higginbottom Jim Hill, Larry Huggins, Don Jackson, Emil Jones Jr., Marty King, Fred Lebed, Lyle Logan, Howard Medley, Paul Montes, James Montgomery, Joe Moore, Stephanie Neeley, Tony Randle, Jim Reynolds, Larry Rogers Sr., Charles Sawyer, Ernest Sawyer, John Sawyer, Roderick Sawyer and Tim Wright.

Hats Off – OwensMorris Communications, on launching an expanded practice to include segmented lifestyle and lifestage marketing. With the change comes a new name, Merge Consumer Marketing, headed by Faith Morris, CEO and chief strategist. She’s added Kevin Williams, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, whose career spans developing marketing campaigns to engage consumers globally for Coca-Cola’s PowerAde brand to marketing automotive brands such as BMW and tourism destinations such as Bermuda. The Chicago-based full-service segmented marketing agency is a mix of brand marketers with packaged goods, retail, entertainment, energy, automotive, health and beauty, pharmaceutical, hospitality, travel and tourism experience. Clients: TV One, ExxonMobil, Visit Orlando, Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, Luster Products and National Black MBA Association. Visit or contact Maureen Jenkins,, (312) 933-2971.

Emmy-winning – Jazz vocalist, Joan Collaso’s new CD, Ooo Whee (My Favorite Things), is a compilation of songs selected from the catalogs of Nancy Wilson, Shirley Horn and Billie Holiday. Her recent “sold-out” concert-productions of A Tribute to Nancy Wilson & Shirley Horne at DuSable Museum also honoring The Lady and Her Music, Lena Horn, featured Colasso in an elaborate showcase that included dancers along with some of our town’s more notable jazz artists and prompted her CD recording. Included are Return to Paradise, Lover Man, You’ve Changed and Here’s to Life, among other timeless tunes. She’s received rave reviews from her numerous performances at The North Sea Jazz Fest (in The Netherlands) and can be heard in commercials and jingles.

Closer to home, catch her at Lake Meadows Art Fair, 35th and King Drive, Saturday, 3 p.m.; The Terrace of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., July 12, 5:30 p.m.; Palmer Park, 201 E. 111th St., July 15, 6 p.m.; Seward Park, 378 W. Elm St., 6:30 p.m.; West Chatham Park, 8223 S. Princeton, 6 p.m.; Chicago Jazz Fest, Grant Park, Sept. 4, 3 p.m.; and African Festival of the Arts, Washington Park, Labor Day weekend. Visit

Renaissance Award – Linda Johnson Rice, chair of Johnson Publishing Co., (Ebony and Jet magazines and Fashion Fair Cosmetics), and her daughter, Alexis (she just graduated from Wellesley College), are vacationing in Shanghai, China. The two, along with Desiree Glapion Rogers, former White House social secretary and now JPC’s CEO, were among guests at “A Night with Jamie Foxx,” a benefit gala at the Ritz-Carlton benefiting the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Newsy Names – Funeral service for Loistene Rountree, a Dept. of Housing retiree, a dear long time pal and Chicago Drifter sister, is Saturday at Cage Memorial Chapel (9:30 a.m., wake, 11 a.m., service). Sympathy to Billy, her husband and Deborah Rountree Waheed (“Ziggy”), daughter … Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Neilson Co. vice president, co-hosts a weekly half-hour show on WVON-AM/1690 radio as a segment of the Matt McGill Show. It’s designed to empower consumers with insights and data about how they spend their time. On “Consumer Corner,” Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m., Cheryl stresses that it’s important for people to know it’s what they watch – and not how much – that matters … Get well to a fav cuz, Larry Mohn, in Northwestern Hospital’s room 1237 … Happy b’day to Larry Rogers, Sharon McGhee, Leila Noelliste, Mary Watts, Freida Curry, Ron Blackman, Kirk Townsend, Charli Clayborn, Gwen Anderson, Carole Jacobs and Bob Jenkins Sr. … “Men of Soul,” Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson, Freddie Jackson and Howard Hewitt, sing for their supper on Sunday at Arie Crown Theatre, followed by an invitational-only after party, “Sylvia’s Set,” hosted by Sylvia Flanagan, CEO of S.P. Flanagan Entertainment, for her pal, Freddie Jackson, in her spacious Hyde Park lakefront high-rise … Last call for Sunday’s Real Men Cook, the annual non-profit Fathers’ Day food-sampling extravaganza at Chicago State Univ., says founder Yvette Mayo-Gillard. Start time: 3 p.m. … Dr. Carolyn Goosby, pastor, Christ Centered Church Ministries, 9701 S. 49th Ave. (Oak La
wn), hosts a free Pre-Fathers’ Day Concert, “A Procession of Praise Party for Christ & Jesus Jam,” with music, singing, dancing, worship, high praise, door prizes. Bring a love offering …

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender


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