The National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters held their annual dinner and awards banquet this past Friday in Washington, D.C., and many of broadcasting’s brightest and best were there to congratulate and celebrate with this year’s honorees.
Sherri Shepherd, looking quite lavish in a pretty lavender dress, served as the hostess for the evening, and kept attendees laughing with her frequent references to her admiration (ahem) of Maxwell.
He was honored with the Entertainer of the Year Award that night. Radio personality Donnie Simpson presented him with the award. About the sexy crooner, Donnie said, “I been sitting there with him for two hours; I’m starting to question my masculinity!” He went on, saying, “The dude is hot!”
Maxwell, known for his somewhat shy and very humble demeanor, accepted the award, and the praise, by paying homage to the icons on stage with him and saying, “I accept this award on behalf of all you here.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who received the Mickey Leland Public Service Award, of course had to live up to his legendary way with words, speaking of the best and worst of times that many Blacks are finding themselves in this day and age.
“If you refuse to step up to these times and protect what we have gained, then you are the ungrateful recipients of a legacy that was laid before you that you did not pay a price for," Al said before talking about the responsibility of Black radio. “You must give a voice to this generation and you must show that we didn’t come this far in some accident.”
Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who have presented twice before but never won, received the Pioneer in Music award. The songwriting and producing pair, who played a part in the careers of musical legends such as Teddy Pendergrass and Patti LaBelle, were thrilled with the recognition.
“It means a lot because we always thought that Black music was a vital part of our success,” Leon said.
Kenny agreed, saying, “We’re glad and honored that they’re honoring us, because they made Gamble and Huff.”
Bishop Hezekiah Walker, well known in both Gospel and mainstream circles, won the Pioneer in Gospel Music Award. Hezekiah is known not only for his soulful choir that creates Grammy-winning albums, but also for his constant efforts in impoverished communities. He was humbled by the experience. “I want to say to NABOB, thank you, and to Black radio, I want to say to you, without you my voice would not be heard.”
Maxwell returns after a seven-year exploration of life Speaking of musical icons, guests were entertained throughout the night by a musical tribute to Teddy Pendergrass by Joe, Johnny Gill (who sang to Teddy’s widow, Joan Pendergrass, at one point in his performance) and Peabo Bryson. Hezekiah also took us to church with a performance later on in the evening after accepting his award.
– Ariana Gordon